Growth expected to continue unabated in Greater Park City | ParkRecord.com

Growth expected to continue unabated in Greater Park City

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Greater Park City, stretching from the Snyderville Basin, through the city limits and to Wasatch County, will continue to grow, a Park City crowd was told Tuesday night as City Hall leaders held an important event in the early stages of what is expected to be a wide-ranging discussion about the topic.

The gathering, held in the Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library and Education Center, drew a mixed crowd of 167 people. Mayor Jack Thomas and Park City Councilman Tim Henney represented City Hall as presenters while Robert Grow, the president and CEO of Envision Utah, provided a series of statistics and forecasts about growth.

Park City launched the discussions amid concerns about a post-recession construction boom, traffic complaints and housing issues. The event on Tuesday was held just before another set of talks, advertised as community conversations, is scheduled to begin.

City Hall hired Envision Utah to assist with the growth talks. It is a not-for-profit organization crafting plans for growth in the state. It has been involved in numerous other discussions at the local level elsewhere in the state.

Grow told the crowd on Tuesday the Wasatch Front is filling up as it grows. Easy highway access, though, makes it easier for someone to move to Wasatch Back locations like the Park City area, he said. Growth could involve vacation-home owners moving to Park City on a year-round basis as well as new development.

Grow said state officials project the population of Park City in 2020 will be 9,358, up from 7,547 in 2010. The 2060 projection for the population of Park City is 17,722, he said.

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"Is Park City going to grow? It’s almost shocking to think that you could do anything but grow with all that’s going on around you. But how you grow is really what this is about. How you grow, the choices you’re going to make, are going to be really important," he said.

The growth is also expected to continue in Summit County and Wasatch County. The Summit County population sat at 36,324 in 2010. The number is projected to reach 45,491 in 2020 and 107,671 by 2060, Grow said. The growth in Wasatch County will put the population there at 96,696 by 2060, according to the numbers. He noted there are already development rights attached to numerous pieces of land.

"Much of the growth will be in these surrounding areas, but they’re not going to leave you alone. They are going to want to take advantage of all the things you love about Park City," he said.

Henney was especially stark in his comments to the crowd. His tone regarding growth has appeared more urgent in recent months. He said there is confusion and anxiety about growth in Park City, explaining that "there will be potential impacts and possible benefits" to growth.

"How we deal with today’s development and growth has the potential to define the culture, fabric and character of Park City well into the future," Henney also said.

Henney, like Grow, presented numbers as he spoke of the anticipated growth in the region. He said there are approximately 3,400 units of development that are approved but not yet built inside Park City. He cited numbers from Summit County and Wasatch County that showed there are 14,000 unbuilt but entitled units of development in the Snyderville Basin and approximately 20,000 such entitlements in Wasatch County.

"Today, with our built environment, we are very close to meeting or exceeding our ability to carry additional development and growth. And we feel the effects in our traffic congestion, our event fatigue, our construction impacts, air quality and general noise level around town. And that’s just to name a few of the impacts," Henney said.

The mayor, meanwhile, talked about growth in Park City and in the surrounding area. He said vacation homes and condominiums are rising alongside more shops and restaurants. Growth ideals elsewhere, such as in Summit County, Wasatch County and the Wasatch Front, may be different than those in Park City, he said.

"We need to understand more about growth with regard to Park City because it threatens our core values. We need to be clear what the appetite for growth is around us," Thomas said.

He also noted that the population of permanent Park City residents is not growing at the same clip as elsewhere in the state.

"We’re losing residents in Old Town. We’ve lost people who work here and now commute. We’re losing seniors who are downsizing and moving out. And most of the children of our community, as they go away to school, never return to live here," Thomas said.

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