Park City Council narrowly decides to continue work on Homestake housing project
A report published ahead of this week’s Park City Council meeting said the city ran the risk of becoming an “enclave for the super-rich” without intervention in the city’s housing policy.
According to city staff, nearly 8,800 people commute to Park City for work from outside Summit County each day. Only 14% of people who work in Park City actually live inside city limits.
Park City adopted an ambitious goal of 800 affordable housing units in the city by 2026, but current projections indicate that a much higher number will be needed in the coming years just to keep the number of workers inside Park City from shrinking.
At Thursday’s city council meeting, the Park City Council discussed what future housing goals could look like and gave staff direction on a few housing projects already in progress.
After reviewing the report from city staff, councilors all agreed that it is only getting harder to live in Park City, with long-term rentals scarce and expensive and the median single-family home price now over $2 million.
Councilor Becca Gerber said future housing policy should cast a wide net from professionals making solid salaries, but can’t afford a home, to lower-wage workers who struggle to find affordable rental units each year.
“I think we just understand right now that no one in any of those ranges is going to be able to buy in Park City right now," Gerber said. "Very few of them are going to be able to rent in Park City right now. We need a little bit of everyone, and I think that that speaks to community housing right there.”
City Affordable Housing Manager Jason Glidden told the council that he and the housing staff would take the council’s feedback and return with a few recommendations for new housing goals at a future meeting.
The council also reviewed progress on a few housing projects that are already in progress, including the Homestake lot just north of the Iron Horse business district.
The Homestake project is still in the planning phase and is touted as a sizable affordable housing development in the heart of downtown Park City.
The council was split 3-2 on the question of continuing work on the project with Councilors Gerber, Max Doilney, and Ryan Dickey in favor, and Jeremy Rubell and Tana Toly expressing some concerns with the project.
Toly is worried about the project's close proximity to a power station and Rubell said he wants to see more hard details like a traffic plan, building heights, and how the project will fit into the larger neighborhood before the city spends any more money. He cautioned his colleagues about moving forward too fast.
“I like the ideas that are being thrown out, but again, I don’t like spending money while we try to work through the continuous improvement of the project," said Rubell. "I think we’re going about it the wrong way. I think the results are sketchy. I think we don’t have the answers we need to say, ‘go ahead and keep moving.’ We do have other parcels that we could be aggressive with and put shovels in the ground on. I think it’s a poor choice and I think we’re going to regret it without answering the ‘what good looks like’ question up front.”
Rubell’s concerns were countered by Doilney, who said the project should move forward now. He told KPCW on Friday that he respects Rubell for wanting the best project possible, but said he thinks many of Rubell’s concerns will be addressed through the planning process.
“We gave direction to keep moving forward, but this is by no means a greenlit project, this is just ‘yes, keep working, keep answering these questions,’" he said. "It’s gonna have to come back before us after it goes through the planning process. A lot of those questions are going to get answered through the regular process.”
The city council picked a developer for Homestake in December and narrowly approved a contract with an outside organization for help with the project in January.