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?
City Hall’s role is to assure the alignment of community vision expressed in the General Plan with development outcomes. Development of Bonanza Park, as does all future development, represents an opportunity to further refine and hone who we are, and our sense of community through this alignment.
The revision of the General Plan is in the final stages of completion and lays the framework for what the community sees as the future direction of development in Park City and states it as a goal. Through the process of applying our Codes & Ordinances, review, alteration, authorization of proposals by the Planning Commission, and direction and approval from City Council this goal can and should be realized in Bonanza Park.
Bonanza Park represents an opportunity to achieve outcomes such as; a mixed commercial/residential use district, encourages alternative transportation, create housing stock for middle income households, and green space as a critical/central focal point.
While some competition is inevitable, new commercial space in Bonanza Park should focus on servicing the needs of the residential base in the district and attempt to support and compliment, not compete with, Main Street. A vibrant Main Street is critical to the future sustainability of our Community.
(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 best solution to the Treasure Mountain development is one in which the community benefits from a development outcome that honors the existing neighborhood while the owners/developers are able to realize their vested right to develop. For the community, a favorable outcome will be one in which the mass, scale and volume of structures are reduced, traffic and congestion is mitigated, alternate modes of transportation are designed in, and neighborhood impacts are minimized. An optimal solution for the developer will be a development that honors the existing aesthetic, nature, and character of the surrounding neighborhood, helps define and adds to the character of Old Town and allows for the developer to realize market value of their development right.
I think these mutually beneficial goals can be accomplished through either or both the buy down of density and scale and/or the transfer of development rights to alternate development zones, such as the Bonanza Park District and resort base areas. I believe the community has an opportunity, by looking at these development proposals simultaneously, to determine if there are actions that can benefit all parties and stakeholders.
(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.
Continued public investment in Main Street is critical to sustaining a vibrant commercial district in Old Town, supporting our World Class Resort Community, with the emphasis (for me) on Community, and helping to "keep Park City, Park City". Main Street is the core and heart of Historic Old Town District and a corner stone of our community. Main Street plays a unique and significant role in differentiating Park City from other Resorts. In form, we are like many resorts, but in content we are different, because we are an authentic community in part due to Historic Old Town and Main Street. We all benefit from a vital Main Street and I believe continued public investment is warranted.
I would like to see utilities buried in Old Town as the next big public investment project. The overhead wires and poles are an eye sore throughout Old Town. In the mean time I would like to see street lights decommissioned and recycle and garbage bin removal from the streets, per the existing ordiance, enforced. Every Old Town resident I have talked with wants the street lights removed or reduced and the bin ordinance enforced.
(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.
In the long run we need to continue to diversify our tax base so we are less dependent upon any one season, industry, or source of tax revenue, as we currently find ourselves with respect to property and tourism based taxes.
We desire to be a small town but find ourselves with a large and growing budget to meet our service needs and amenities. I would like to assess our current perspective on needs and wants and hope to take a breather from the rapid growth in government we have experienced over the last 15 years.
I am opposed to a property tax increase in the next four years and favor sales tax (such as the recently voter approved resort sales tax) and user fees (water fees) to address new community services and amenities in both the near and long term.
(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.
I support another bid by Utah for a future winter Olympics and would like to see Park City play a role similar to the one our community played in 2002. Our sport infrastructure, resort bed base, community transportation capabilities, and the culture of our authentic community, make Park City a natural location to once again play the lead role as focal point for winter Olympic events, festivities, and related activities.
It would also be an opportunity to enact and apply what we have learned since 2002 with respect to creatively addressing the many challenges that would come with a successful future bid and once again define, refine, and hone who we are as a community. The biggest challenges often offer the biggest opportunities; I see an Olympic bid as both.
(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.
The catalyst for the down turn was a shock to and freezing of global financing mechanisms that caused most people to dramatically cut their spending. Park City experienced less of a decline and recovered more quickly because:
1. Park City is in a favorable competitive position with respect to other resorts. Even in a scenario where people are cutting back Park City will continue to attract tourism and property purchase dollars due to the melding of our World Class Resort culture and the unique nature of our authentic Community. People want to visit and own Park City, even when times are tough.
2. We benefited from the decision by some to curtail their expenditures and vacation in Park City rather than Europe or other more expensive destinations.
I would pursue programs to encourage the development of alternate modes of transportation that shift our town away from reliance on cars. I would like to see gondolas, trams, funiculars tie resort base areas, commercial nodes, Old Town and the hotel bed base, thus reducing congestion, carbon footprint and creating a unique North American resort experience based on European models.
(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.
I appreciate the difficult job City Hall has done balancing the desires of buyers and owners of property in the Historic District, who wish to update their property to be current with practical aspects of today’s lifestyle, with the shared desire to preserve our town’s history. It’s a difficult balance to achieve but by and large I am pleased with how the historic character of Old Town has been preserved, updated, and continues to be a draw for tourists and residents alike.
From my perspective the instances where the size and scale of a new house is too large for the surrounding homes and neighborhood represents the exception and not the rule in our current process, defined by our codes and ordinances. I am pleased with the processes now in place because they continue to encourage, and result in, historic preservation at significant additional cost versus new construction. Demolition must meet a rigorous standard and is seldom realized.
While this question addresses the past, I think it is also important to look ahead to the future. The decisions we make today will determine who is able to work, live, and play in The Historic District.
(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.
The lack of middle income housing stock represents a tremendous threat to the ability of Park City’s middle class to thrive and our sense of an authentic self as a community. When it comes to home ownership in Park City, the Middle Class is either already In, or they are locked Out. Neighborhoods within city limits that used to be comprised of homes in the $300,000 to $500,000 range are now selling for twice those prices and the mid range housing stock has not been replaced. Even when able to find a job/career that pays a middle class income, mid range buyers (often young families) are often forced to look for a home in outlying towns, Kimball Junction, or Salt Lake City due to the lack of affordability in Park City and the favorable comparative values elsewhere. If not addressed, over time this condition will exclude middle class families and dramatically alter the unique fabric and character of our community resulting in Park City becoming increasingly exclusive and homogeneous. We should incentivize middle income housing, as we currently do work force, in our development approval process and make both top priorities.
(9) Please differentiate yourself from your opponents.
Since moving to Park City in 1992 and up to the present I have engaged with the community differently than the other candidates, from an immersion in recreational opportunities (back country, telemark, alpine, cross country skiing, trail running, mountain/road biking, and triathlons), raising two children who are now 23 and 25 years old, and serving the community in various capacities (original Mountain Trails Foundation board member, Citizens Open Space Committee II and currently Vice Chair of COSAC IV, five year board member Summit Land Conservancy).
Over the last 21 years, I have been intimately involved in the vision, creation, implementation, and execution of plans that delivered 10,000 acres of protected open space and over 400 miles of single track, non-motorized trails, in the Park City area.
I have been an advocate for quality education, responsible government, and the critical need to protect what makes this place special, our shared sense of community and what it means to be Park City.
I see future challenges our community faces, congestion, transportation, development/redevelopment/build out, promoting the creation of a broad spectrum of affordable housing stock, how we view and use our community lifestyle resources, and maintaining/nurturing our sense of community, to name a few, as opportunities to refine and hone this unique, authentic place we call Park City.
I am available and accessible. I listen to and hear what people say. Vote for me once and I will work for you every day.