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Editorial

Grab a seat at Monday's affordable-housing roundtable

Resort towns across the country face many of the same challenges. Foremost among them is a lack of affordable housing. While several can point to a handful of successes, for the most part, planners, government officials and housing advocates face an uphill battle when it comes to asking developers to build moderately priced units.

That is especially true here in Park City and Summit County where a strong economy and growing reputation as a top destination have pushed housing prices above the reach of many.

In fact, Park City’s success, to a large extent is also the source of its housing dilemma (some would say ‘crisis’). High-end neighborhoods, classy hotels and chic restaurants require a high level of service that involves lots of employees. Add to that equation a severe climate and relatively rural surroundings and the result is a small labor pool with even fewer places to live.

But tough challenges have always been Park City’s forte and, this Monday, Summit County and Park City officials are asking residents, developers, employees and elected officials to put their heads together to work on a solution.

The "Community Open House on Affordable Housing" will be held at the Utah Olympic Park, on the main level of the museum, from 6 to 8 p.m., hosted by the Utah Housing Coalition.

It is intended to be a broad discussion with access to a variety of established housing resources. The hosts have invited a number of housing experts in the hope that local representatives of the public and private sectors can explore some mutually beneficial strategies.

Monday’s meeting is unique in that it is not pegged to a particular project. Usually, affordable housing is discussed under pressure, at public hearings where battle lines between neighbors and developers, or developers and government regulators, have already been drawn and the rhetoric is heated. But perhaps this week, at the Olympic Park — where a little community in the mountains proved it could welcome the world — landowners, developers, employers and employees will find common ground on which to build housing for the wage earners who have helped to define the town’s success.


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