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Park City Council Weighs Cost Of Affordable Housing Units

The Woodside Park Phase I housing project is nearly finished. On Thursday, the Park City Council will consider the pricing for the units, as well as the process for getting applicants into the homes. 

The eight Woodside Park Phase I housing units are scheduled for completion in early July. The proposed prices range from $205,000, for a one-bedroom unit, to more than $500,000 for a three-bedroom. The pricing is based on the area median income, or AMI, for Summit County. To be considered affordable, units are priced to accommodate households making 80% or less of the AMI. Attainable units are for household incomes 81% up to 150% of the AMI. Park City Assistant City Manager Matt Dias says the unit prices try to address a variety of needs.

“We’ve tried to sort of diversify the pricing to meet some folks under the AMI, some folks over the AMI and some folks at the AMI,” Dias said.

The Council will also consider setting aside one of the units for a future city manager or other executive employee. Dias says many resort communities are struggling with recruitment because of expensive housing prices and have secured units for high-level municipal employees. Dias says the Council has two options before them.

“One is do they want to sell this property as deed-restricted affordable housing and probably have some right of first refusal, so in the event that it was resold or someone left, we could then acquire it again," Dias said. "Or, temporarily, they could defer the decision and rent the property for the next several years until we needed a new chief of police or we needed a new city attorney.”

Housing staff is also asking Council to advise on the lottery process for affordable housing units. Staff recommends a random process—basically, pulling a number out of a hat—to maintain a level of transparency and fairness for applicants. Another option for the Council to consider is a weighted process, where applicants could get more numbers in the hat based on different factors, such as the type of employment they hold. The last option is a points system, where applicants receive more points by checking boxes in different categories. For example, someone who has worked within the Park City School District boundaries for 10 years would earn more points than someone who has worked there for five years.

Dias says there’s a lot for the Council to weigh in on, but under the staff’s recommendation for a random lottery, there would be some across-the-board qualifications for applicants.

“There will be a minimum level of criteria about having to work in this community for so long, not having another asset like a home, or a second home or a rental property," Dias said. "The diagnostic that our folks do to qualify and vet the applicants is very, very rigorous. In addition, we’re also suggesting that we have a third party verify our information.”

The Woodside Park Phase I project will add eight units towards the City’s goal of providing 800 affordable or attainable housing units by 2026. Woodside Park Phase II will add 52.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.