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PCSD Purchases 55-Acres For Future Growth


Last week, the Park City School District closed on a 55-acre parcel of land in the Trailside/Highland neighborhood. It cost the district $6 million in cash under an arrangement where the property owners donated about $7 million in value.

The purchase is part of a strategy to landbank property now when the prices are lower to address future growth that may not occur until 2060. Park City Business Administrator Todd Hauber said the most recent demographic study suggests the area will grow significantly in the future. He said it's common for school districts to capture land earlier to hold for future use.

"At the same time, we've also been watching land values increased quite heavily. We felt that this was the time to exercise, an opportunity to get hold of a large piece of property before the prices got crazy and before the students all arrived. Those are all elements that fall into that concept of land banking.”

The school district owns a 10-acre parcel in Bear Hollow, off Highway 224, which is deed-restricted for either a school or open space. He said they could build on 8 acres there, but it's not big enough for an elementary school.

"The challenge with that particular piece of property is the size. If you wanted to build an elementary school on that you'd need about 12 acres. And so, as we've looked at that property it just hasn't fit the needs as we've seen them. Plus, we have an elementary school just across the road over a parleys Park, and this point that it looks like, preserving it as open spaces, is the best path for that particular parcel."

The school district also owns a 15-acre hillside parcel in Silver Creek.

"So, it's, it's not the best-located piece of property, and that one, like Bear Hollow, was also deeded over to the school district, and so that's one that's limited in its scope of use as well."

Hauber explained that the school district has no plans to do anything with the Trailside/Highland property.

"It really is a blank sheet. It has a current underlining zoning which is rural residential under the county zoning because it's outside of city limits, so we obviously have to go through a permitting process to put any school facility on it so it could be CTE, could be a middle school could be a secondary school could be any number of school type facilities. There are no deed restrictions on the property, there's been the conversations about affordable housing and the need for our teachers and staff to be able to live within the boundaries, and that's the value that the board has the underlying zoning would be one that would have to be addressed in order to go that route."

Hauber said the purchase of the land addresses a great opportunity to acquire a large, single piece of land that could accommodate any school facility. Traffic impacts, trail access, the type of school are all issues that he said would be addressed at some unknown future date.

"In the meantime, I don't see any changes in the land use, you know the trails are there--a couple of them have easements already. I don't think that there's any plans to change any of that so hopefully the neighbors will be able to use the property as they had in the past, just in the future, there may be a school site there. The use of the property will go under all kinds of public discussions and comments when that day comes. In the meantime, the property is there and can be used as it has been used for the past several years. There's no immediate intent to change that."

The parcel is adjacent to U.S. 40 near the trail access to the Round Valley open space, in the trailside neighborhood.



KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.
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