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Park City Planning Commission Will Discuss Housing Plan Update

The Park City Planning Commission meets Wednesday for a special meeting, to bring Park City’s affordable housing plan into compliance with state code. 

The Utah Legislature passed Senate Bill 34 during the 2019 general session. The bill requires local governments to incorporate an affordable housing plan into their general plans. Municipalities that fail to update the plans by Dec. 1 could lose access to state transportation and transit funding.

Park City Housing Development Manager Jason Glidden says the city already has a housing plan—the most recently updated one is from 2017—and it already hits all the marks in SB 34.

“Park City has been compliant for many years," Glidden said. "We've had a plan for many years, but what this did was it added a lot more definition to what they wanted included in the plan, and also added a little bit of teeth to the plan.”

SB 34 requires the housing plan to include an inventory of affordable housing supply; an estimate for the affordable housing need for the next five years; and at least three different strategies a municipality is taking to reach its affordable housing goals. In addition to working the housing plan into the general plan, SB 34 requires municipalities to submit a housing report to the state annually.

A strategy the city is considering to encourage more affordable housing development is changing the land management code, to make it easier to use the master planned affordable housing development provision in it. The city hired land-use consultants Cascadia Partners to analyze the cost to developers to use that section of the land management code, and Cascadia came back with suggestions. Park City senior planner Hannah Tyler says the city will consider which of those recommendations are feasible.

“We're just really trying to look at this from every angle, and some of those angles could be incentivizing it through the land management code through further reductions in parking or open space or setbacks," Tyler said. "I think the biggest thing is making sure that these developments, if they do receive an incentive, they still blend in with the neighborhood. I think that's something that the community would be worried about, and also I think the planning department and housing really care about is we don't want housing to stick out like a sore thumb. We want it to be compliant and integrated into the community in a nice way.”

Park City’s housing resolution has a goal of bringing 800 affordable or attainable units online, within city limits, by 2026. So far, about 500 have been identified to be developed over the next couple of years.

After the planning commission reviews the housing plan modifications, staff recommends the commission forward a positive recommendation to the city council to adopt the plan as an addendum to the general plan, scheduled for a vote on Nov. 7.

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.