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Kerr challenges worker housing

Windrift Lane residents unhappy with City Hall’s bid to build a work force housing development at Snow Creek have hired attorney Shauna Kerr, a move that pits the onetime Park City Councilor against the government she once helped lead.

Kerr appeared on behalf of Windrift Lane Thursday night as Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council held a talk about the design of the 13-house work force project, which is slated for City Hall-controlled land at 2060 Park Ave.

A lawsuit challenging the development has seemed possible for several months, and another attorney represented the Windrift residents at a City Council meeting in August.

But by hiring Kerr, the Windrift side has retained an attorney with insider understanding of City Hall’s development process. She was a City Hall attorney before winning a seat on the City Council, and she served on the City Council as Park City was embroiled in numerous development disputes in the 1990s.

Kerr left the Park City government in early 2001, after winning a seat on the Summit County Commission. She is retired from county politics, but she recently indicated she is considering a campaign for the mayor’s office in Park City in 2009.

The Windrift residents in July joined people who live on Saddle View Way in challenging the Snow Creek project, appealing an approval by a lower panel to the City Council. The elected officials, who had previously instructed City Hall staffers to proceed with the development application, sided with the city’s Planning Commission approval.

The neighbors are worried that the buildings will be too tall and the project would be built on land that is now open space, among other concerns.

Kerr on Thursday night spoke to the elected officials and the architect designing the project, taking notes on a legal pad as she listened. She asked questions about the length and width of driveways, whether rooms in the units could be converted into another bedroom and parking on the street.

In one exchange, Kerr called City Hall’s parking requirements "legal fiction." Phyllis Robinson, who directs the local government’s housing programs, responded, saying, "with all due respect, it’s not legal fiction."

In an interview afterward, Kerr said the work force housing plans for the site are counter to City Hall’s desire to preserve open space. She said the Snow Creek land is best kept undeveloped. It is close to the police station and the post office, she noted.

"I think we’re demanding too much of that land," Kerr said, adding, "That land is tired and should be left to rest."

Meanwhile, Craig Elliott, the architect designing the project, provided the elected officials a preview of the blueprints. He said the houses would vary in style, and each of them will be about 1,300 square feet. The living space will be "more than adequate," Elliott said.

He said young people and retirees might be interested in buying houses.


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