Guest Editorial: We need to start talking about growth
June 12, 2015
If you have called Park City home for 40 plus years or moved here yesterday, there is one issue that has been, and still is, felt by everyone in the community, Growth. I believe there exists, in our community, a misunderstanding with respect to the dynamics of entitled development within our town and our region.
This is why I am asking you, citizens of Park City, to join me on June 15 for a community presentation on growth beginning at 5:45 pm in the Jim Santy auditorium. The "What’s Next Park City" presentation is an opportunity for members of the community to gain a deeper understanding of the forces shaping our community, and help guide policy makers and the Park City community toward a shared vision of the future. Whether you have, or have not, attended past community meetings, I am asking you to attend this one.
Over the last year and a half, as I have served as your elected official focusing on the community vision, it has become apparent to me that there is one issue that continually influences, informs, and affects all of the community. That issue is Growth. What has become apparent from these community dialogs is an undercurrent of concern and anxiety about how growth has the potential to put at risk all that we hold dear.
Many times conversations we have about community issues, such as transportation, redevelopment, water and housing, get side tracked by the fear around what growth is, what it means for our community’s future and how it puts our vision and values at risk. The fear of growth’s potential impacts exists, and it is my hope that as the nature of that growth is explored, we will arrive at a baseline of understanding together and from there, be strategic in how we mitigate potential impacts and enhance possible benefits.
The focus of the "What’s Next Park City" forum is:
1. Mayor Jack Thomas and I will outline what we know and what we think about the coming pressures on the Park City Community.
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2. Envision Utah will present the entitled development information for the region and state. They will also talk about the choices facing each community with respect to how they grow. You may find these numbers extremely surprising.
3. We will discuss how this entitled development could impact the quality of experience within Park City in various ways, both positive and negative.
4. We will explore the tools we have available to guide entitled growth, leverage the potential benefits and mitigate the negative impacts.
5. Citizens will be offered the opportunity to weigh in on the choices we will need to make through small group meetings on June 23 and June 27.
I believe it is the responsibility of local government to offer a process that addresses the concerns of the community, allows citizens to gain a deeper understanding and inform elected officials. The "What’s Next Park City" forum is just such a process and that is why I am excited about it and hopeful that you will attend. Your City government wants and needs your input, through broad participation great outcomes for the community become increasingly possible.