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Park City Council to Receive COVID-19 Update from Summit County, Debrief Parleys Canyon Fire

Mark Maziarz

The Park City Council returns to regular session on Thursday. COVID-19, water conservation, and a look back on the Parleys Canyon Fire are all on the agenda.


What started as an “off the cuff” discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic in Park City led to city councilors requesting to hold a special meeting on the topic earlier this month. That request was later shelved and Summit County Health Director Dr. Phil Bondurant will now give an update on the pandemic during the Park City Council’s regular meeting Thursday evening.


There has been some uncertainty with regard to what the city is able to do on its own to combat the virus after the Utah Legislature passed the “pandemic endgame” bill in March. The bill stripped much of the authority to declare health emergencies and other measures away from cities and towns and placed it at the county level. With the winter tourist season fast approaching, several councilors were wanting to explore their options.


Park City Manager Matt Dias said the city trusts the public health experts at the county health department and will let them lead on the issue.   


“Everyone is eyes wide open with where things are going to go with regard to COVID, particularly with the winter coming,” said Dias. “I think that our council just wanted some time with Dr. Bondurant to step back before the winter season is here, before the onslaught of the additional tourism and visitation ensues, to know what maybe we’re looking at and if there are any additional regulations that we may be able to implement that would be beneficial to our community and the tourists that are going to show up.”


Before Bondurant’s update, the council will conduct a work session to receive a debrief of last month’s Parleys Canyon Fire from Park City Fire District Deputy Fire Chief Pete Emory.


Dias said he hopes Emory’s presentation will inspire residents to be prepared in case a future fire were to threaten city limits.


“Pete Emory is going to give an inside look at the stress and the organization and the response, and there will be some stories in there that I think are heartfelt about people being evacuated, having to leave their pets, not knowing if they were ever going to see their house again,” Dias said. “This isn’t to scare people, I think it’s to give them a real-life example to hopefully accelerate their interest and fireproofing their housing, making sure they have an emergency bag, and making sure they’re more prepared for the next time around that something like this happens in our community.”


As Utah continues to experience record-setting drought, the council is also set to discuss several water conservation measures during the work session as well. 


“The city council and mayor have challenged us, and this aligns with our environmental pillar, to be far more aggressive when it comes to water conservation and drought resistant measures in our community,” said Dias. “We will be having a conversation about rate adjustments. We will be having conversations about our zoning, about our landscaping codes that we require for new development and commercial development, and a bunch of xeriscape initiatives for existing developments so we can participate in some ‘cash for grass’ programs that we’ve heard about elsewhere.”


For a link to the full agenda and information on how to participate, click here.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.