Most government agencies fit the bureaucratic stereotype: slow, stodgy and resistant to new ideas. But Park City Municipal is proving to be an outlier, in the best sense of the word. This week, for instance, the city approved a new type of housing that is aimed at affordability and sustainability. The city is also launching an experimental car-sharing program.
The agreement to sell two city-owned old homes on Park Avenue to GreenPark Cohousing LLC is an exciting step toward finding new solutions to a perennial problem integrating affordable housing into existing neighborhoods. Usually, in order to reduce costs, developers who want to create low-cost housing must increase density and the size of their projects. That, in turn, usually attracts more transient residents and inevitably leads to conflicts with neighboring property owners. contrast, GreenPark plans to develop a modest 10-unit project that will include restoring the two existing houses. The units will be occupied by a ready-made community of seven owners (with a couple of openings yet to be filled) who have all been participating in the planning efforts.
A new car-sharing plan is just getting underway in the hopes that some visitors and/or residents might be willing to do without their cars if they could just borrow one once in a while. With goals of reducing traffic and emissions, a Ford F-150 pickup and a Toyota Prius are now available at the China Bridge parking structure through the well-established national UHaul Care Share program.
Cohousing and car sharing are just the latest in a string of progressive efforts supported by Park City's elected officials. Anti-idling, recycling, and carbon-footprint inventories and reductions are all part of an agenda that is focused on the future.
Naysayers, of course, scoff at these initiatives and are eager to point out all the ways they might fail. But, fortunately, Park City residents aren't afraid to explore a few new ideas. Thanks to those who have defied the skeptics, the Park City is now seen as among the nation's trendsetters in environmental sustainability, walkability, public art and open space. And we are looking forward to adding cohousing and car sharing to that list.