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Planning commissioner says housing project should be looked at from a ‘30,000-foot view’

Lynn Ware Peek
The city council will be taking an in-depth look at the city's housing goals in March.

The Park City Planning Commission received an update on city housing projects at its meeting this week.

In 2016, Park City set an ambitious goal of creating 800 affordable housing units in the city by 2026. As it stands now, only 132 units have been built, but nearly 700 more could be in the pipeline if all planned units get built.

Those numbers include city-built projects such as the Central Park Condos along with affordable housing requirements attached to private projects like Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley developments.

Another forthcoming city housing project is the Homestake project, which when complete will contain a still-to-be-determined number of affordable and market rate units.

The Park City Planning Commission received an update from the city’s housing department on the status of those projects and the city’s greater affordable housing goals on Wednesday.

The ball is already rolling on Homestake. The city selected a developer late last year and contracted with an outside firm in January to help navigate the development process.

Along with the Homestake lot, the planning commission is also expected to consider plans on adjacent properties. PCMR wants to transform its parking lot on Munchkin Road into a guest pickup and dropoff area, and a redevelopment effort for the Iron Horse business district is slated to be in front of the planning commission soon.

Commissioner John Kenworthy urged city staff and the city council to look at the neighborhood holistically before rushing ahead with the Homestake project.

“So you have all these connected properties, and I would strongly suggest that on the Homestake lot, with all of that in play all of a sudden, I would think that just taking the Homestake lot and putting a development on there without considering the comprehensive 30,000-foot view might not be the right direction to go in. I would pass that message on to city council,” Kenworthy said. 

Park City Housing Development Manager Jason Glidden told KPCW that he supports some form of master plan for the area, but worried that too much analysis could lead to the city falling farther behind on its housing goals.

“I think master planning is always a good idea," said Glidden. "You have to balance it with how much do you plan, plan, plan before you actually move forward, right? I think that we just have to be careful of how much we want to delay this project. It could delay the project several years. Housing is a critical priority right now and a crisis here and we want to make some headway on that.”

Despite having already invested significant time and money into Homestake, the Park City Council will take a deep dive on its housing goals in March and could change the project’s scope. Glidden said with the majority of the council new to the job, an in-depth analysis of housing is the natural next step in the process.

“I think you have a new council and a lot of new members there that want to just get educated," he said. "That was really the purpose of the retreat, was for us to do that, and now we’re gonna go back and have a deeper conversation with that new council.”

The city council’s work session on affordable housing will be on March 17th.

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.