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Park City Council Candidates Address Community Issues As Election Day Looms

pcc_candidate_forum.jpg

Candidates for Park City Council shared their views on growth, sustainability, workforce housing and more at a forum hosted by Park City Rotary and KPCW this week.

The general election for Park City Council is fast-approaching, with ballots hitting registered voters’ mailboxes on Oct. 15. Six candidates are vying for three open seats on the Park City Council: incumbent Councilmembers Nann Worel and Becca Gerber; Max Doilney; Ed Parigian; Deanna Rhodes; and Daniel Lewis.

As candidates with business experience, Parigian and Doilney addressed the impact of tourism and growth on Park City. Parigian says the town has been overmarketed.

“Years ago, they decided to become a world-class resort—that was fine then," Parigian said. "Now that we are, I think there's some issues that go with that. The amount of money that's spent by the [Park City Chamber of Commerce] marketing this town is astronomical—$8 million a year, and they do nothing to mitigate it.”

Doilney says Park City is in the middle of one of the fastest growing regions in the country. He says the people are not going to stop coming, but he thinks the town needs to address parking, which enables more traffic. Doilney says parking is also an expensive component of building affordable housing.

“I think we need to look at our master plan and our municipal code, and we need to really address some of those issues firmly, with some sacrifice from town, to address how fast we’re growing and the number of people who are going to be continuing to come here,” Doilney said.

Gerber and Rhodes are two candidates who have touted their ability to represent Park City’s working class on the city council. On seasonal workforce housing, Rhodes says the ski resorts clearly need to be a part of the conversation.

“The way we do that is we show them best practices," Rhodes said. "We tell them what the need is and where we need to go, and then we encourage them to mutually set goals together, and then we need to report on that publicly and often”

Gerber says the city’s focus has been on year-round housing, not seasonal housing. Along with the resorts, she says other businesses need to be part of the solution, with the city’s help.

“We don't need to solve all of the seasonal workforce issues in our town—our businesses need to step up and do that," Gerber said. "But we can act as a hub or a centralizing force to help them come up with a plan.”

The candidates agreed on many of the topics. Lewis says what separates him from the others are his extremist ideas.

“People call me crazy, but it's because of my education, my endurance, my hard work here in Park City," Lewis said. "What Park City has taught me is we wouldn't be anywhere without these extraordinary, extreme ideas that I really do love to cultivate and make into the norm.”

Worel says her experience managing budgets and working with the workforce as a nonprofit executive, as well as her work on another powerful decision-making body within Park City Municipal, sets her apart.

“I am the only candidate here that has planning commission experience," Worel said. "I spent five and a half years on the Park City Planning Commission, which gave me way too much knowledge about the land management code, as well as I helped to write the general plan that's in effect right now.”

The Park City Council general election is Nov. 5. Voters can check their registration status—and register to vote—through the Summit County Clerk’s website. The Park City Council candidate forum is available in its entirety at kpcw.org.

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