The two-and-a-half-hour discussion around housing policy at last week’s Park City Council retreat featured in-depth conversations about rental units and exploring building housing outside of city boundaries. But questions remain about what the role of major employers in the city is when it comes to housing their workforce.
Councilmember Lynn Ware Peek brought up the obligation of the resorts in providing housing for their employees, and at the time, Mayor Andy Beerman said it wasn’t the right forum for a larger discussion on the issue.
“Well, I think we’ve got a commitment from the resorts that they’re willing to have some discussions on that after the season. Certainly, they were in the middle of World Cup, so it’s not really fair to talk about them without them at the table," Beerman said. "Frankly, I think the resorts, although there’s a lot more they could do as the town’s biggest employers, there are a lot of other big employers in the town, such as the city, and the schools, and a number of our large hotels that also need to step up our game. So, I think it’s a broader conversation that involves all of our employers in town.”
Speaking to the city’s responsibility when it comes to housing its own workforce, one of the questions put to the council by city staff was whether they were interested in exploring a policy for providing housing for city employees. Beerman says that, during the winter, Park City employs nearly 700 people, and that the city should lead out on the issue.
“I brought that up with Council and said, 'if we’re going to ask our largest businesses to step up their efforts on housing, we can’t get off the hook,'" Beerman said. "Even though we’re building housing for the community, that shouldn’t necessarily count towards our requirement to provide housing for our own employees.”
Beerman doesn’t have a solution in mind yet, but the council agreed to revisit possible policies as well as the financial impact of providing housing to the city’s workforce.