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Park City staff will answer property owners’ questions about deed restrictions

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KPCW
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Park City neighborhoods that were once filled with workers are increasingly occupied by visitors renting for a weekend or week.

Park City government is hoping to chip away at the worker housing shortage with a new program that will pay homeowners not to rent their properties on a short-term basis. The city is holding open houses to see who’s interested.

Homeowners in Park City make a lot of money renting properties to nightly and short-term visitors. But the not-so-hidden cost of that is a lack of places for people to live for an entire season, or year-round.

Park City Municipal is working on a pilot program that would compensate homeowners financially for occupying their homes full-time or renting only to tenants staying at least six months.

Browne Sebright is housing program manager for Park City Municipal. He said the city hopes the new light deed program would fund restrictions on six to 10 properties. The idea is to target properties worth $1 million or less – townhomes and condos.

Monday from 2-4 p.m. and Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. at the Park City library, city staff will hold what they’re calling office hours to talk with any property owners who are wondering if they qualify or curious to learn more.

“We want to see how much demand there is in the community for this if there's only a little bit that's fine and maybe this will just remain a pilot program but if there are a lot of people interested we encourage them to apply and that will give us a sense of if this program should go beyond the pilot.”

The compensation would be aimed at 10%-20% of a property’s value. If that amount is under $200,000, the legal process for approval can move quickly. The restriction program is for homeowners as well as homebuyers. That means someone who wants to buy a home that fits the requirements could apply for the deed money and get it in as soon as two weeks, to help with down payments.

Light deed restriction programs are gaining traction in other areas. Vail, CO has had one in place for three years and according to Sebright, has has restricted 80 properties during that time.

“Another community that it's dominated by a resort economy where nightly rentals all are all over the place and are really affecting the workforce housing supply,” he said, “and so this is one tool that they've been able to use to secure long term residency throughout their neighborhoods.”

While Vail’s investment has been $6.5 million over that time frame, Park City’s pilot effort is more modest with an initial sum of $1 million available.

Sebright said the city hopes that local business owners will consider the program too, as a way to attract workers and reduce staff turnover by having some housing to offer.

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.