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Neighbors Express Concerns About Soil, Traffic, Density Around Park City Affordable Housing Project

Park City Municipal hosted an open house Monday for a possible affordable housing project on 100 Marsac Avenue. Vocal residents who attended the meeting responded to the proposal for the site in mostly the same way. 

Park City community members attended the event to learn more about a proposed housing project in Old Town. Many had concerns about the slope of the 2.1 acre site, and traffic in the area, because the project would be across the street from the Hillside Avenue intersection.   Another concern was the quality of the soil, as the land is a former mining site.  Some attendees at the open house said the city already had the area planned for affordable housing and staff was just going through the motions of public engagement.

One resident, whose home neighbors the proposed site, says one amenity that keeps Old Town residents in town is open space, and the city could lose long-time residents due to development.

“We don’t always have to trade out green space for affordable housing," the resident said. "There's a lot of places we can do affordable housing that aren’t taking away green space and not increasing the density and the traffic and all the other issues people are raising.”

Bill Humbert has rented in Park City for 10 years. Humbert says he’s not sure where the right place is for affordable housing, but the city has to decide where its priorities lie, as affordable housing has to go somewhere.

“There has to be right spaces, though, and at some point it's going to be in somebody's neighborhood, by the definition of don’t put it in open space," Humbert said. "Then, what happens? Then, that group of people come and go, 'not in my backyard.'”

Hillside Avenue resident Peter Marth pushed back, saying Park City residents care about affordable housing, but the most important thing they’ve fought to protect for decades is open space.

"This site is challenged from a number of reasons," Marth said. "It's challenged so notoriously for so many negative reasons that it can't be considered as a place to put anything. We love affordable housing, we support affordable housing, but it needs to be centrally located and not in a toxic location."

Park City Affordable Housing Manager Jason Glidden says the city is in the early stages of analyzing the site for affordable housing. The city council in May authorized a design agreement with Sparano + Mooney Architecture to evaluate the possibility of housing there. The zoning of the parcel allows for single family homes or duplexes through a conditional use permit, but the type of housing that could go there has yet to be determined.

The city acquired the property in 2017, with the intention of developing it as affordable housing, though a staff report shows the site could, alternatively, remain as open space under Park City Municipal control.

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.