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Park City Council considering innovative way to encourage more primary residents Thursday

Lynn Ware Peek
If given approval, the deed restriction program aims at reducing the number of nightly rentals in Park City

The Park City council will hold its third weekly meeting in a row Thursday. The council will discuss issues ranging from affordable housing strategies to temporary winter ice rinks.

The last item on Thursday’s agenda concerns a new way to potentially increase the number of primary residents in Park City.

A state law passed earlier this year places significant restrictions on how municipalities can regulate the rental market. Park City has been exploring creative ways to limit the number of nightly rentals inside city limits since then.

The Live Park City Lite Deed Restriction Program first came up for discussion in July, and staff is back this week with a proposal for a pilot program.

The program would pay homeowners 15-20% of their homes’ value in exchange for placing permanent deed restrictions on properties, eliminating the use of those homes as short-term rentals. Under the new program, participating homes could only be rented for a minimum of six months at a time.

Park City Housing Program Manager Jason Glidden acknowledged that the program has a limited budget to start.

“We’re asking for $1 million for a pilot program to try this program out," he says. "The concerns are that money is going to be gone very quickly.”

Although $1 million might not sound like much in Park City’s sky-high real estate market, Glidden says the pilot program is specifically targeted at homes priced under the $1 million mark and could be used to help first-time home buyers or businesses looking to invest in housing for their employees. He says the potential to expand the program is there if it proves popular and effective.

“This program is more targeted towards homes that are closer to $750,000 or below," says Glidden. "Our hope is that hopefully between seven and 10 units can be brought in under this program through the pilot, then we’ll stop and take a look at the program, see how it’s working, evaluate it, and determine if we’re going to move forward with it.”

The council will also hold a work session on city code amendments that affect large-scale events like the Sundance Film Festival.

City Economic Development Manager Jonathan Weidenhamer says the code changes are not aimed at community events like Silly Market. Instead, the city is looking to reduce negative side effects from events like Sundance, which has resulted in some Main Street storefronts sitting vacant all year until festival week, when owners collect exorbitant rental income.

“It’s more about making sure Main Street is a vibrant and festive place, and it’s not filled in with real estate offices and things we don’t want to be part of the street," Weidenhamer says. "This is really about the conventional chain ordinance to make sure we don’t have a ton of national retailers in the street. It’s about vibrancy and vacancy to make sure we don’t have people that are only present during Sundance and don’t have a year-round business.”

Other items on the agenda include an update on public art projects, a look at temporary outdoor ice rinks over the winter, and a proclamation for Veterans Day.

Thursday’s meeting begins at 4:15. The full agenda and details on how to participate can be found 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.