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HOPA redevelopment approved, construction will take years to complete

A rendering of the HOPA project.
Elliott Workgroup
A rendering of the HOPA project.

The Park City Planning Commission gave Mountainlands Community Housing Trust unanimous approval to redevelop the Holiday Village and Parkside apartment complexes Wednesday night.

Planning commissioners praised Mountainlands’ plans - nicknamed HOPA - for its affordability and design. Outgoing commissioner John Kenworthy called it “beautiful,” while commissioner Henry Sigg labeled it a “feel good” project.

Under city code, half of the new development, which will total 317 apartments, must be for people earning 80% or less than Summit County’s area median income, or AMI. However, Mountainlands went beyond that, making all of the units affordable.

Mountainlands Executive Director David Levine said it plans to rent to people making between 45% and 55% of AMI. 50% of Summit County’s AMI for a single person annually is $52,000.

When completed, there will be seven new buildings at the property located between Kearns Boulevard and Monitor Drive.

Construction will be done in phases so existing residents, half of whom are elderly or disabled, can live there during the process.

If construction starts next summer, project architect Craig Elliott said it could be finished by 2028. The full buildout has a maximum occupancy of more than 1,000 people. However, Mountainlands estimated it’ll be closer to 500.

Monitor Drive neighbor and Holiday Ranch HOA member Dick Grannis asked the commission Wednesday to delay a vote on the project so nearby residents could give more input.

“As far as density, this proposed project has 58 units per acre,” Grannis said. “There’s a recent affordable housing project out by the Utah Film Studio that was approved and is under construction - 14 units per acre. Holiday Ranch itself has a single home for every 1 to 2 acres. And this project will have around 150 times more density than the homes across the street. That doesn’t seem compatible with our neighborhood.”

Gary Crandall, the developer of the Utah Film Studios' affordable housing project, lives across the street from the HOPA project site. He also asked the commission to delay a vote.

But Mountainlands Housing advocate Megan McKenna said waiting to vote could kill the project.

“A couple of months to this project could be the end of this project,” McKenna said. “Many people are not familiar with the complex financing that goes into affordable housing… you have one shot per year to apply and then you have to wait ‘til the next year. And so I just can’t say enough how time-sensitive this matter is.”

One of the project’s criticisms is the reduced parking. Mountainlands proposed a 266-space underground parking garage, nearly 20% less than what is required by city code.

The planning commission granted that exception because Mountainlands said it’s going to market the new units to people who use public transit, walk or bike instead of drive. It plans to maintain two separate waiting lists: one for people with cars and one for people without.

Prospective residents could join both lists. If they come to the top of the “no car” list, they would have the option to accept housing if they get rid of their car.

Each household at the property will receive no more than one parking space. HOPA will also be able to store more than 200 bikes, most of the stalls being sheltered.

Hailee Hernandez, a data coordinator at the Christian Center of Park City, told the commission during public comment the project will have a major impact on the community.

“In my findings in the last year, there were 40 individuals experiencing homelessness in Summit County," Hernandez said. "That includes families, children, elderly, people with mental illness, people with lifelong disabilities. This HOPA is not just a housing opportunity, this can save lives.”

The Mountainlands team said it will now work to secure financing to break ground in the summer of 2024.