Homestake wins over council skeptics as project enters new phase
The Homestake affordable housing project in Park City took another step forward this week as the Park City Council approved a new contract with the developer.
After split votes the last two times the Homestake affordable housing project was in front of the Park City Council, there was some consensus on Thursday as the council voted unanimously to continue moving forward.
The vote was to include a lease option for the land, which may be needed to finance construction.
The project would supply 120 housing units to the heart of the downtown area. All would be rentals and about 100 of them would be offered at prices below market rate. The project is a unique public-private partnership between the city and developer where the city owns the two acres of land and is partnering with J Fisher Companies on design and construction.
Councilmembers’ previous concerns centered around how the project would integrate into the larger community and the project’s proximity to a nearby Rocky Mountain Power substation.
Councilor Tana Toly said her concerns about health hazards from power lines were put to rest after a report detailing minimal electromagnetic exposure at the site was included in a staff report.
“I feel a lot more confident than I did," Toly said. "A month ago, I would not have been a fan of this, but I am now. I do thank you, I know I’m just one councilor, but I do thank you for going above and beyond to look at my concerns and not take them as just ‘she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.’ So I really do appreciate that, thank you.”
Councilor Jeremy Rubell said he was very encouraged with the developer’s financial models. The 120 units would be offered at a range of prices, from as low as 40% of the area’s median income all the way to market rate.
The city has a stated goal of creating 800 affordable housing units by 2026. If this project is approved, a good chunk of that would be taken care of.
J Fisher Companies’ Rory Murphy told the council that it’s his goal to complete the project as fast as possible.
“The plan we’re going to propose has no variances to the code. None.," he said. "If you find one, let me know and we’ll get rid of it because we’re going to try to make this as simple as possible.”
Councilor Max Doilney said it’s his hope that Homestake will show what’s possible with affordable housing in Park City. He said it could open the door for other similar projects in the future.
“On this parcel particularly, I think that we need to get something done to prove that we can make a rental model work," said Doilney. "And then, when we hopefully have some other opportunities we can go bigger then.”
Before construction can begin, design plans need to be submitted to the Park City Planning Commission. Finer details like building heights, setbacks, parking, and building design will be worked out there.