Affordable Housing Code Changes Priority For Park City Planning Commission
Park City is working toward updating its land management code to better accommodate affordable housing development, and the Park City Planning Commission is keeping that item at the top of its to-do list.
As 2019 nears its end, Park City Planning Commissioner Mark Sletten says affordable housing—and how to build more of it—is an intense focus of the planning commission and Park City Planning Director Bruce Erickson.
“Bruce Erickson had sent out a list of I'm guessing about 25 or 30 items that we're going to be looking at over the course of the next year, and that was number one," Sletten said. "I think we all believe it's number one, that and transportation issues.”
Park City hired consulting firm Cascadia Partners to analyze the current land management code. They found current open space, parking, building height and setback requirements result in high-cost projects and regular requests for exceptions during the planning process. Additionally, density bonuses under the affordable housing master planned development option result in micro-units, as the only way to add density under the requirements is to shrink the units. Sletten says the planning commission unanimously approved changes to the land management code in 2018 regarding affordable housing, but the city council wanted more.
“City council put up their hands and said, 'wait a minute, here, we don't think that goes far enough for all of the issues,'" Sletten said. "What are the different tools that you can pull out of the box, so to speak, to create. It’s density, it’s height, it’s setbacks, it's all kinds of different things that either play well or not, depending on what your take is on it.”
Sletten says the city will need to be creative to encourage private developers to help Park City reach its affordable housing goals.
"We've got a mandate of 800 affordable units by 2026," Sletten said. "It’s a significant number, and it's going to need to be a private-public partnership relationship to make that happen."
Recently, the city council instructed staff to explore the feasibility of Cascadia’s recommendations.