Summit Councilor Says 'Deep Dive' is Needed Into County's Affordable Housing Deficit

Mar 15, 2021

A Park City affordable housing project lies on Park Avenue within the city.
Credit Lynn Ware Peek

Summit County Council member Roger Armstrong says he thinks the county needs to take a “deep dive” into the issue of affordable housing—and new residential housing in general.

 

Armstrong said it’s been a concern nagging at him over the past year.

 

Summit County Economic Development Director Jeffrey Jones has presented figures showing that the county is 2,000 units short. Armstrong calculated the population that the county would add if that affordable housing deficit is filled.

 

“Close to 3 people per unit—somewhere between 2.4 and 2.7 people per unit—that’s 6,000 people,” Armstrong said. “If we say they’re living close to transit centers, we’re not going to have a traffic problem, I’m not sure that’s true, because I might take a 15% ridership, which is good ridership in the transit system, means 85% of those new bodies in the community are going to be driving around this community in cars, impacting trails, impacting slopes.”

 

He said he’s also concerned when the Snyderville Basin’s stock of long-term rental housing is eaten away by conversions to nightly rentals through services like Airbnb and VRBO.

 

Armstrong said when the county approves new residential projects, that creates a need for workers, and demands more services from the county. Add to that the influx of new residents created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Armstrong said they need to think about the residential population they are creating.

 

“So I think, without assigning economic levels to population movements in the county, we’ve got to look at what we’re doing in terms of growth and adding new bodies and what we’re accomplishing doing that,” he said. “We haven’t that kind of extremely extensive discussion of impacts and benefits and what this could look like at the end of the next ten years. And I think it’s irresponsible for us to continue to go forward on an initiative that we haven’t really picked apart thoroughly.”