Park City Council advances public-private partnership for Homestake affordable housing project
Park City moved forward with plans to develop the city-owned Homestake property through a unique partnership with the private sector last week.
Although the talks surrounding the proposed arts and culture district at the corner of Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive are stalled for the foreseeable future, the Park City Council still wanted to accomplish an affordable housing project.
The council then set its sights on the adjacent city-owned Homestake lot, located behind the Boneyard Saloon.
The city created a task force to explore whether a public-private partnership for the site would be a good idea earlier this year. The city then selected J. Fisher Development as the builder in August after a committee of city staff and private citizens considered proposals from eight other companies.
That project took a step forward last Thursday when the council approved a memorandum of understanding that laid out the basic ground rules for both the city and the developer.
The memorandum includes the developer agreeing to build at least 80% of the units as affordable housing, and offering them as rentals once they are built.
Responsibilities for the city include retaining ownership of the land, and working in good faith with the developer to accomplish the project. The city also agreed to pay J. Fisher $50,000 if the city ultimately decides to not move forward with the project.
During the public comment period, community member and administrator of the Facebook group Future Park City Angela Moschetta cited the stalled arts and culture district project and asked the council to pause this process. She said the council should invite the public to participate more before any formal agreements are made.
“I really worry that with this, it’s too nebulous, it’s too conceptual, and if we now get into a memorandum of understanding or agreement and move forward, that somebody is going to spend time and money putting together a proposal that the community might turn around and say, ‘well, hey, that’s not exactly what we were expecting,’” she said.
After Moschetta spoke, Councilor Becca Gerber said while she understood Moschetta’s concerns, the public process for the project is just beginning. She said the public will have many future opportunities to weigh in on what they want to see at Homestake.
“I am not in favor of hitting the pause on this right now, because this is only a memorandum of understanding that we are working on right now, and we will still have to go through the full public process with planning commission, with city council," Gerber said. "On the project as it is, there is still time for it to be amended and for it to be changed, but at some point in time, we just need to start moving forward.”
The memorandum contains terms that require both the developer and city to engage the public as the project progresses.
The council ultimately passed the memorandum unanimously. Councilor and Mayor-Elect Nann Worel was not not in attendance and had an excused absence from the meeting.
The full memorandum can be viewed here.