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Park City

Homestake project takes shape; safety and neighborhood questions still linger

Homestake Concept
J Fisher Companies
A concept drawing of the Homestake affordable housing project in Park City.

The Park City Council got its first look at what the Homestake affordable housing project could look like at its meeting Thursday.

120 units complete with community open space, underground parking, and a bit of commercial were presented to the Park City Council as concept plans for the Homestake affordable housing project on Thursday.

The project is a unique public-private model where the city owns the land and works with a private developer to deliver the project.

The city selected a developer, J Fisher Companies, late last year and voted early this year to hire a consultant to manage the project.

The council was split 3-2 in favor of hiring the consultant and proceeding. Councilors Becca Gerber, Ryan Dickey, and Max Doilney were in favor, with Tana Toly and Jeremy Rubell casting no votes.

Toly’s reservations primarily stem from Homestake’s location. A Rocky Mountain Power substation abuts the property and Toly has expressed health and safety concerns over building housing there.

Peter Tomai is the outside consultant for the project and presented information pertaining to EMFs, or electromagnetic fields, that emanate from power lines.

He said energy emitted from electrical lines is minimal - according to his material, it’s much less than a cell phone or microwave.

“The radiation, if any, that comes from power lines is at this ultra-low frequency and there are currently no regulations in the United States or Europe around low-frequency radiation," Tomai said. "Bottom line is all research shows that there is no relation between these low-frequency, non-ionizing frequencies and health concerns.” 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, scientific studies have not shown a clear link between EMF exposure and diseases like cancer.

According to a 2018 study by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, the European Union does have EMF exposure recommendations, but they aren’t legally enforceable. Several EU countries, including France, Italy, and Germany have adopted some form of regulations on their own, however.

Toly told Tomai that she still wants to see more before she’s comfortable with the plans.

“You guys know this is my big thing, the EMF and being so close to a substation," Toly said. "With that, I do want us to dig a lot deeper than we have been. I appreciate you guys doing some, but, to me, this felt pretty basic. I did a Google search, and that’s not what we’re talking about here. I would be happy to sit down with you, Peter, and go over all this information that I’ve been researching for more than a year.”

Rubell’s concerns with the project centered around how it would fit into the surrounding area.

Rubell told KPCW many of his lingering questions were answered on Thursday, but he still wants more clarity on how Homestake integrates with the larger neighborhood before he would approve commercial space at the site.

“The conversation on Homestake the whole time has been ‘we’re going to move forward with that affordable housing project because we all recognize that as a need, and we’ll do it concurrently while we plan that neighborhood.’" He said. "Really, it’s the Dans to Jans corridor there, but specifically that Bonanza corner, too. Until we do that, I’m not sure how we know that Hometake is the right place for additional commercial versus one of those other parcels in the same area.”

Since Thursday’s discussion was only a work session, no votes were taken on the project.

City staff told the council they hope to have the project in front of the Park City Planning Commission sometime in July.