‘Aspen complex’ concern heard at Park City gathering
City Hall outlines housing plans, other parts of municipal agenda
March 17, 2017
Some were interested in City Hall's aggressive plans to build work force or otherwise affordable housing while others were intrigued by roadwork blueprints.
The Park City government on Wednesday evening hosted an open house designed to provide information about a wide range of municipal projects and programs. The people in attendance took advantage of the opportunity to learn about the broad municipal work plan at a single event, moving from table to table as they perused the information. It did not appear any single table was the draw of the evening. Instead the people focused on projects or programs of interest to them and then moved to a different table.
But City Hall is pursuing several major projects that attracted questions from the attendees, including the municipal government's aggressive housing program. City Hall staffers and consultants manned the tables, answering questions and explaining the details of the various projects. The plans to build housing on a patchwork of City Hall-owned properties on or close to lower Park Avenue were among those outlined at the event.
David Jonson, who lives close to Kimball Junction and has lived in the Park City area for 18 years, studied the housing plans on Wednesday evening. He noted the plans involve property on the bus route and the units are designed for people who are otherwise priced out of the Park City housing market.
"A lot of people who work here can't afford to live here. If we're not careful, we're going to run into the Aspen complex," Jonson said, explaining that people cannot afford to live within the city limits of the Colorado mountain resort.
The housing along the lower Park Avenue corridor is a priority for City Hall. Some of the early work has started. Housing is one of the priorities for Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council. Leaders argue the housing program provides numerous benefits like ensuring socioeconomic diversity in Park City and cutting commuter traffic.
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"It looks like they are getting a lot of housing in a small area. We don't have a lot of open area left. We have to utilize what we have," Jonson said.
Rhoda Stauffer, the affordable housing project manager at City Hall, remained busy answering questions about the projects. She said attendees inquired about the municipal government's housing programs, such as caps on the appreciation of restricted units when they are resold and restrictions on resales themselves.
Upward of 75 people attended the event, held at the Park City Library. The mayor and three members of the Park City Council were in attendance. High-level City Hall staffers, including City Manager Diane Foster, were also at the gathering. The event covered topics like the planned redo of Prospector Avenue, work anticipated on Lowell Avenue and a water-treatment plant that will be built at Creekside.
Some of the people affixed stickers shaped like stars on poster boards asking a variety of questions about projects and programs. One of the poster boards broadly asked what would motivate someone regarding traffic and transportation. At one point during the evening, the most stickers were placed alongside the answer "improved neighborhood connections to transit." The answer "financial incentives for use of transit, carpooling, walking and biking" also was popular.
One of the people at the event, 34-year Old Town resident Andy Byrne, said he remains unhappy with the designs of improvements already completed in the Main Street core. He said he wants City Hall to concentrate on infrastructure like water lines and electrical wires. Instead, Byrne said, leaders have pursued projects that resulted in a loss of parking spaces.
"We don't need less parking spots in town . . . We should not be eating up any we have," he said, adding, "The city should be part of the solution, not the problem."
Another person who was at the library, Terese Walton, who works for a company with commercial property in Prospector, was interested in roadwork planned on Prospector Avenue. She said the work will be a challenge for businesses while it is underway, but the project will improve the road and sidewalk.
"The road is the gateway to all our businesses," she said.