Park City Planning Has To Shift Schedule, Still Keeping Priorities In Mind

Mar 27, 2020

Credit Tom Kelly

The Park City Planning Commission meeting for  March 25th was cancelled.   And Planning Department head Bruce Erickson is trying to figure out when in April they can resume a meeting schedule.

In his latest visit with KPCW, Erickson reviewed the planning priorities that have been postponed.

Erickson said that, in addition to cancelling the meeting of the 25th, the Planning Commission will probably not meet on April 15th.

He said this week, they were hoping to discuss a number of goals for 2020, including accessory dwellings, the height and density of affordable housing, parking and transportation.

They were also going to look at revisions to the planning code to deal with wildland fire—a topic, Erickson said, they’ve been working on for two years.       

“City Council’s gonna have to make some hard decisions on it.  It’s gonna be a forward-looking document, where if you have a development activity, we’re gonna probably help you do wildland fire.   If you already have a house, we’re probably not gonna make you do anything.   We’ll give you advice.”

Erickson said the city has held a lot of online “zoom” meetings in recent weeks.   But they’re still struggling with a couple of issues, before the Planning Commisison can hold “virtual” meetings.       

“One is how we get public input, because the phone-call-in-text-messaging thing that we set up for the Council sorta worked.  We had four of my planning staff auditing the meetings, just to make sure that we understood how public input was being taken.  The second thing is, members of the public don’t always read the packet.  And they just come to the meeting and get their impressions and listen to the planner and then give their comments.   I haven’t figured that one out yet either.”

He added it’s also difficult because seven staffers from the Planning Department are working at home.    Only one staffer and Erickson himself are present at the Marsac Building, though they can receive applications at the counter.

We asked him his take on the city’s economy.    Erickson said it’s tough to say if the real-estate market is facing a situation similar to the recession of the late 2000’s.      

“The real-estate market is highly volatile, and depending on asset values, right now the market is obviously dependent on the Baby Boomers and the second-home retirees.  The tourism market is dependent on whether there’s discretionary income in the marketplace.  I would expect that people are gonna keep taking vacations.   They just may not want to spend as much as they have in the past.  There’s a bunch of projects in the pipeline that I believe have been funded.  I don’t know that I would want to go the bank and ask for money right now, but this thing is gonna drop off—not off a cliff, but slow down.”

On some specific items, the Woodside Park Avenue Phase II affordable housing project is going through an appeal.   It’s being reviewed by the City Council and the staff.         

“To determine how we want to proceed forward whether we can redesign, whether a redesign reduces the market condition of that project and whether it still makes financial sense.  (Leslie) And if it doesn’t then we—stop?  (Erickson) Then we re-think.   The city owns the Homestake lot out in Bonanza Park, where there could be 80 to 100 units that could move forward with some incentive.   So I think we could continue to deliver housing.”

As for the Bonanza Arts and Culture District, they are designing the changes to Homestake Road and Woodbine Way.    Erickson said in the next two months, they will probably see applications from the Kimball Art Center and the Sundance Institute.

Concerning the plan to develop the parking lots at Park City Mountain Resort, Erickson said they’re still going through details to make sure they have received a complete application.      

“We are moving forward with city engineering on the traffic review and transportation review, and how we improve transit to the resort.  So the city engineer and our department are cooperating on that, as well as transportation planning.”

He said that this week, they had a long conversation with the applicants about the details they need to address.     

“The details we’re talking about are, how high the project is, what the heights they’re proposing are, and details with respect to, how much responsibility the project has for the current Development Agreement versus how much responsibility the ski side of the house, Vail, has, with respect to the Development Agreement, for transit, historic preservation, employee housing, improvements to the road, snow removal.”

Park City Planning Department Director Bruce Erickson.