Park City Planning Director Says City Will Decide Whether To Fill Community Development Position

Oct 25, 2019

As KPCW has reported, Anne Laurent will leave her position as Park City Municipal Community Development Director at the beginning of November, to begin work as the public works director for her previous employer, Los Alamos County, New Mexico. One division Laurent oversees under community development is the Park City Planning Department.

Park City Planning Director Bruce Erickson says, in her four years with Park City Municipal, Community Development Director Anne Laurent empowered the building, planning and engineering divisions to hire the right people for the job. While the position is open, Erickson says he and others will take over some of the responsibilities of the community development director.

“Dave Thacker, the chief building official, and I are going to share some of the administrative duties," Erickson said. "The sort of community development duties, with respect to arts and culture, and some of the other redevelopment authority things are going to flow to Matt Dias, the city manager.”

The community development director is a high-level and high-paying staff position. Erickson says the city is having a conversation about whether it needs someone in that position.

“There are things that the community development director can do that folks like me and Dave and the regulatory side of the house really can't do, or get out in front of initiatives that the city council wants," Erickson said. "If you put a person like me in front of arts and culture, we're probably going to say this is a really bad idea, and so you need somebody with a little different perspective than me to do that kind of work, and that's what the community development director is really responsible to do.”

Laurent isn’t the only loss to the community development department this year. Historic Preservation Planner Anya Grahn left to become a senior planner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; senior planner Kirsten Whetstone departed the city to work on large land-use projects for Summit County; and senior planner Francisco Astorga moved on to become the planning director for Bountiful City.

Erickson says there’s not really anything to do to retain planning staff—it’s the way the planning field works.

“This is a profession that has a lifespan to it and a profession that kind of carries the baggage," Erickson said. "Every year you're in a position, you're carrying all the legacy of the decisions you made previously, and so you've got two objectives. You've got professional development that you need to worry about on a daily basis, and you need career development.”

Laurent’s last day with the city is Nov. 1.