Park City Mayor reviews 2022, calls for civility and local land control in annual speech
Park City Mayor Nann Worel used her first ‘State of Park City’ speech to highlight the importance of local control, courtesy, and public engagement.
Over 150 people filled the Jim Santy Auditorium Monday night, with over 75 more watching online.
Worel, who was elected as Park City’s first female mayor in 2021, used the beginning of her speech to differentiate national and local politics.
“Nationally, there are so many loud voices, so many new challenges, and elements that seem to yank and pull us apart or pull us down,” Worel said. “They aim to create division, pit individuals and entities against each other, without facts or information.
"This seems to be amplified by our country’s overreliance on technology, loss of traditions, conventions, and simple respect for those that might not agree with us. We are fortunate in our community because I believe the vast majority of us believe we are stronger together.”
Worel used the majority of her address to highlight the city’s successes in 2022.
On housing, she pointed to the city’s first-ever public-private partnership that led to the Homestake development, and the privately funded mixed-use development Studio Crossing that will be constructed next to the Utah Film Studios. Between the two, over 250 new affordable rental units will be available.
“These two projects are really critical because Park City doesn’t have for rent affordable units,” Worel said.
She reiterated that the city remains committed to its goal of creating 800 affordable housing units by 2026.
The mayor also mentioned the memorandum of understanding signed in April that calls for plans to develop a new senior center, along with affordable housing, on the Woodside property where the current center sits.
Worel also spoke directly to locals about their concerns over traffic and growth.
“To our residents, I want you to know that we have heard you loud and clear. You want us to put the neighborhoods first, and we’re focusing on that.”
As an example she brought up the city council’s decision last fall to reduce speed limits on 330 streets around town, and the trails and open space department’s ranger program for managing trailheads.
The mayor also discussed the recent success of the Richardson Flat park and ride and the bus line that connects it to Old Town, which is seeing roughly 2,500 riders per week. Worel said the city sees similar “intercept” lots as the answer to reducing congestion and keeping cars on the outskirts of town.
She also called for the public to be more engaged in the city’s budget process. “Help us figure out how to spend your tax dollars,” Worel said.
The mayor discussed a big loss for the city in the 2023 legislative session — Senate Bill 271. The Utah Legislature killed the city ordinance that regulated co-owned vacation homes in primarily residential neighborhoods. Worel said under their current understanding of the bill, HOAs are still able to prevent them.
She also spoke to a provision making its way around the Legislature that would have allowed tech billionaire Matthew Prince to build a bigger home on his Treasure Hill property without city approval.
She credited the Utah League of Cities and Towns and local representatives for helping to defeat that bill.
“You need to truly realize this was a victory for all residents of Park City, because local land use authority is critical for us to be the city that we want to be.”
Worel recognized Senate Bill 84, which pushes forward the Dakota Pacific mixed-use project that will add over 700 housing units in Kimball Junction, without any say from the Summit County Council.
“We are all residents of Summit County and it’s another prime example of legislative overreach during this session,” she said.
Near the conclusion of her speech, the mayor called for civility.
“Unfortunately, over the past year, certain members of city staff, councilmembers, and planning commissioners have been personally attacked either online or in public meetings,” Worel said.
“As elected officials, of course we expect disagreement, because that is part of the public process. And we welcome constructive feedback, but as we all know, personal attacks are counterproductive, and they take focus away from the issues at hand.
“I implore you to please work with us this coming year, and please let’s leave out the personal attacks, especially on social media… Park City is indeed a small town of creative, caring, and passionate people. So let’s all learn how to play well in the sandbox together.”