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Summit County may still pursue housing authority separate from Park City

The Snyderville Basin is seen here from Park City Mountain.
Connor Thomas
The Snyderville Basin is seen here from Park City Mountain.

Councilmembers want to see what a "housing authority lite" might cost.

Summit County Housing and Economic Development Director Jeff Jones presented a scaled-back idea for a housing authority Wednesday, June 26.

“The goal would be to first get it started and sort of grow that authority organically, and also bring some new tools that may benefit our community,” Jones said.

The tools would include a dashboard with housing data.

Jones also suggested programs to find local housing for county employees. And a housing authority could study utility prices and proximity to services to identify the best areas and ways to create affordable housing.

But Summit County Councilmember Chris Robinson observed the ideas stopped short of creating housing. He called it a “housing authority lite”—housing authorities can go so far as to actually develop property.

“I think maybe before when we were looking at the joint authority, that maybe we were thinking too big in the beginning, and we didn't grow it organically,” Jones said.

Last year, Park City and Summit County councilmembers and staff were engaged in a monthslong conversation about developing a joint housing authority. The effort stalled in January, after some councilmembers said they didn’t know if the estimated $1.5 million startup cost outweighed the potential benefits.

Jones raised the idea again on June 26 because he wanted to see if the council still had an appetite for pursuing an independent housing authority. Robinson wanted to see a budget before forming an opinion.

The clearest path to creating actual housing is to leverage county-owned land, Jones said, such as the Cline Dahle parcel next to Jeremy Ranch Elementary School.

“I see a critical path forward for us is through private-public partnerships,” Councilmember Canice Harte said. “Instead of sitting around waiting for a developer to come along and hoping they'll build us some affordable units or maybe nudging them along for a few extra units. If we really want to try to put a dent in this need, the housing authority to me is a great tool to do that, but we're going to want to do it in concert with private-public partnerships.”

County staff’s latest 2024 work plan shows the target date to issue a request for proposals for Cline Dahle is August of this year.

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