Ryan Summerlin October 22, 2013
(1) Bonanza Park, long seen as utilitarian, could someday be remade into an upscale district of shops, restaurants and residences. Please discuss your vision for the redevelopment of Bonanza Park, particularly in the context of Park City’s existing commercial hubs like Main Street. What sort of role may City Hall play in reaching that vision?
The Bonanza Park area encompasses almost 100 acres and has about 20 major commercial property owners. This area occupies the geographic center of Park City and we all go through or around this area daily. The redevelopment of the Bonanza Park area is currently being considered
Planning has begun through a series of public meetings with land owners, local residents, business owners, and other interested community members The Planning Department developed a draft Bonanza Park Area Plan that will be reviewed by the Planning Commission with more opportunities for public input.
My vision is to create a mixed-use and mixed-income area for residents to live, work, and play. The City Council’s role in Bonanza Park is to develop an Area Plan that will guide growth that reflects community goals of small town feel, sense of community, and natural setting. Some of the principles that are being applied include improving internal circulation and connectivity, protecting and enhancing view corridors, and fostering economic development.
The Area Plan recognizes the need for the Bonanza Park District to avoid negative impacts on Main Street. Historic Main Street is our entertainment and cultural center. Neighborhoods must complement each other for city-wide balance and economic health.
(2) An agreement has yet to be reached in the long-running discussions about the Treasure development on a hillside overlooking Old Town. Please outline what you see as being the best solution for the Treasure land. If you envision some of the development rights at the Treasure site being transferred elsewhere, please identify the location.
The proposal for Treasure which was presented in 2009 was overwhelming in size and scale, with substantial impacts on Old Town and the entire community. The Treasure development process is complicated as the majority of the community does not like this project but the land owner has vested development rights. Balancing these conflicting interests is a major challenge.
The City Council has explored mitigating options such as redesign, buying the project, or transferring development rights. There was not sufficient public support to buy the project at the costs proposed by the developers. The option of transferring some of the development rights away from the site seems to be a more feasible approach. Any development will still need to meet design guidelines and mitigate impacts on the neighborhood.
The transfer of a portion of development from Treasure may fit into other resort locations such as the Deer Valley parking lots, which have been set up as a receiving zone by Planning Commission, or parcels near the base of Park City Mountain Resort which currently have low density. Other resort areas may also be considered as appropriate receiving zones.
(3) Main Street is enjoying a renewed round of City Hall investment, funded by a voter-approved increase in sales taxes, as the street tries to remain competitive with outlying business districts. How crucial is the public investment to the future of Main Street and why? If you support the continuing investment, please identify one project not already planned you want pursued. If not, please explain why.
Main Street is the heart of Park city. The historic downtown is important to residents and visitors alike. It epitomizes our small town. It is an important economic center of Park City. Main Street is also where the community comes together to celebrate events such as the 4th of July parade, World Cup opening, and Savor the Summit’s Grande Table. The city must provide a safe and welcoming experience on Main Street for our residents and visitors. Main Street needs to stay competitive with other commercial areas. For these reasons the city must invest in the future of Main Street.
The Main Street improvement plan is a multi-year plan that was developed with input from the Historic Park City Alliance, the Main Street merchants association. The first phase of this plan will replace sidewalks and enhance crosswalks and intersections. This will make for a safer and more welcoming walking experience. The second phase will provide additional gathering places, for example, plazas at the Brew Pub lot and lower Main. I would support exploring a gondola connecting Main Street to upper Deer Valley, which would bring new vibrancy to town.
(4) City Hall’s financial situation appears greatly improved from the lowest points of the recession, buoyed by strong sales taxes and an uptick in development since then. Please outline a fiscal strategy for the municipal government that you see as ensuring continued strength. In your answer, please discuss the prospects of a property-tax increase in the next four years.
Park City is financially healthy and remained so throughout the economic recession. The city has a AA+ bond rating, confirming our excellent financial position. The City Council has received solid advice from our very conservative and knowledgeable Budget and Financial Departments. I believe we should continue with conservative policies such as the following:
Park City has not had a property tax increase in over 25 years. I do not see a reason to increase them in the foreseeable future.
(5) Sometime during the next four years, City Hall and the wider Park City community could be asked to support another bid for a Winter Olympics. Would you want Park City to have a similar role in a future Olympics as it had in 2002? If not, would you like Park City to have a greater role or a lesser one? Please explain.
The 2002 Winter Olympics were a great time for the community to celebrate with the world. The Olympics showcased Park City as a world class resort town and has had a long-term positive impact on our resort economy. In addition to improved infrastructure and new facilities, Park City has gained recognition and increased tourism.
I would support exploration of another Olympic bid. We can make a strong bid based on our in-place facilities, our natural terrain, proximity to an international airport, and our previous positive experience. However, we must manage Olympic-related development to keep Park City Park City.
There are many questions that would need to be addressed before we commit to another Olympics. Is the community behind an Olympic bid? Do our resorts want the Olympics? Do our venues still meet Olympic standards? What will the financial obligation be? How will transportation be handled? How do we protect our small town feel? How do we accommodate the world without over-building?
If these and other issues can be addressed, bring it on and let’s have fun!
(6) Park City’s economy has performed well in the years since the depths of the recession, appearing to outpace much of the rest of the state and the country. Please offer a hypothesis explaining the success of the past four years. Identify one economic development policy or program you would pursue at the start of the next City Council term.
Park City’s economy has performed well since the recession. Lodging is up, sales tax increased every year since 2008, the number of sales and median price of homes in Park City continue to increase.
We have done well because we have three Top Ten resorts, close proximity to an international airport, and have partnered well with the Chamber to bring in events and spread the word about Park City. Our Gold Level (IMBA) trail system helps promote a strong summer business.
I believe we need to continue our support of the resort community, but at the same time increase and diversify our business economy. I propose we pursue a broadband infrastructure that will bring high speed internet to our entire community. High-speed Internet access is fast becoming an economic, educational, and social necessity. I believe we should consider broadband as a service the city should facilitate like electricity and water. Being broadband ready will allow our current businesses to do better and encourage other businesses to come here.
We need to work together with businesses, school district, hospitals, chamber, and internet providers to assess our needs, evaluate what we have, and decide how the city can best facilitate municipal broadband.
(7) Development in Old Town continues to confound decades after past leaders pledged to preserve Park City’s history. The size of houses in the neighborhood has been a contentious point as has been the municipal process allowing old structures to be torn down. Why has it been so difficult for City Hall to balance preservation with growth in Old Town? Are you pleased with the processes now in place? If so, please explain. If not, please describe a new one you would support.
Preserving and protecting the historic character of Old Town is essential to our authentic small town feel. Lately Old Town has become increasingly popular and the pressure for bigger houses has come with that. It is important for the city to encourage restoration of historic homes with appropriate size and scale.
The 2009 Historic District Guidelines are just now being tested after the slowdown in construction activity during the recession. Most of the building in the past four years has been done under the old guidelines
We now have several homes completed under the new guidelines. I believe a review of these projects should be brought to the Historic Preservation Board and the City Council. These projects should be analyzed to determine if our guidelines are getting the desired results or if they need to be modified.
The Historic District Design Review that each applicant undergoes is only a first step. I believe there should be a stronger monitoring program during the entire building process to ensure that builders complete the construction as agreed in the Historic Design Review. Preserving Old Town depends on preserving the historic nature of these houses.
(8) Park City leaders have long been proud that a middle class has thrived in the city even as it seems expensive real estate prices coupled with scattered job prospects would suggest otherwise. Please identify one program or policy that you would introduce meant to ensure the continued success of Park City’s middle class.
Park City needs to remain a sustainable year-round community of full time residents. Park City is more than just a resort town with second-home owners. We have and need middle class residents who want to live here. The requirements for a strong middle class include affordable housing and jobs with good incomes. We want to enable residents to live in town adding to our sense of community and to avoid sprawl, increased traffic, and pollution.
A recent study of Park City’s housing indicates that we are lacking houses for middle income residents. We have a successful model in the city’s Snow Creek housing development. Snow Creek provides two story homes with small yards. This model can be adapted to provide housing for middle income residents. The City contributed to the affordability with a reduced cost for the land. We should look for other areas in Park City such as lower Park Ave where we can build another affordable development like Snow Creek.
To create middle class jobs, the city should pursue a broadband infrastructure to bring high speed internet to our entire community. High speed Internet is becoming an economic, educational and social necessity. This will appeal to information-economy businesses.
(9) Please differentiate yourself from your opponents.
Park City has been my home for 21 years. Allen and I chose Park City as the ideal place to raise our children because of its outdoor environment and sense of community. Two of our three grown children live here and with the addition of our first grandchild we are now a 3-generation Park City family.
I am a current Council member and co-owner of a local business Right at Home, which gives me an informed perspective on the local economy and a genuine connection to residents and visitors.
My public service in Park City began at the Museum in 1998. I was board chair during the planning and development of the museum expansion. That was an enormous undertaking that has become a major benefit to the community and Main Street. In 2009, I ran for City Council because of a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to our town, and was elected.
The City Council achievements I am most proud of include securing over 1000 acres of additional open space, supporting Main Street improvements, and resolution of our complex water and EPA issues. We also extended the Sundance contract through 2026 while opening up a major ski weekend for Park City businesses.
My experience uniquely prepares me to meet the upcoming challenges. What I’ve learned though, is that the job of City Council is not promoting agendas. It is listening to the community, working through complex issues, and finding consensus and compromise. That is what I am good at.