An independent consultant hired by City Hall has issued a report broaching the possibility of someday converting the municipal golf course acreage in Thaynes Canyon into a housing development as well as acquiring the Park Meadows Country Club golf course for housing purposes.
An Alexandria, Va.-based firm known as czb is assisting City Hall in crafting long-range plans drafted the report. It was made public in anticipation of a Thursday meeting of the Park City Council. The report covers a range of issues centered on housing. The comments about the prospects of converting the two golf courses into housing locations were among the most dramatic in the report.
Any ideas about converting either of the golf courses into housing developments of some sort would almost certainly become among the most controversial projects City Hall has ever proposed.
If the municipal course was considered for housing, golfers might be livid with the idea, regardless of whether Park City leaders built a new course elsewhere. The golf course has long been praised as perhaps the top public course in the state. Should City Hall ever pursue an acquisition of the privately owned Park Meadows course, there would likely be an outcry about the cost.
In either scenario, widespread opposition would be expected in the surrounding neighborhoods.
In the report, the consultant addresses the possibilities in a section entitled "theoretical opportunity."
"To maintain Park City as a genuinely year-round community, it will be necessary to encourage the development of neighborhoods and homes designed to be appealing and affordable to middle income families with many other great choices outside of Park City. There are not a lot of options for achieving this, but there are some," the report says.
It says there is enough land at the municipal golf course for the potential of up to 450 homes, based on a design with an average of seven units on each acre. The report acknowledges the difficulty decisions would be about the municipal golf course.
The report says an idea to build housing where the municipal golf course now sits "would challenge the city to make hard choices regarding priorities."
"In making a choice about the future disposition of the public golf course then, Park City would really be making a choice about what is more important: affordability and having a year round community, or golf and view sheds," the report says.
Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council on Thursday are scheduled to spend more than an hour discussing housing at a meeting starting at 3:20 p.m. at the Marsac Building. The elected officials are not scheduled to make any formal decisions and a hearing is not planned. The mayor sometimes offers an opportunity for input from the public even if a hearing is not scheduled.
Williams had not read the report by Tuesday morning. He said the elected officials have not held discussions about developing housing at the municipal golf course or acquiring the course in Park Meadows for housing purposes. He said officials wanted the consultant to brainstorm ideas.
"When we gave him free rein, he took it," Williams said.
Rhoda Stauffer, City Hall's housing specialist, said the leader of the consulting firm, Charles Buki, plans to attend the meeting on Thursday. She said the ideas in the consultant report have not been put into a formal proposal.
"He's being provocative," she said. "He likes to do that."