Park City Council Candidate Dick Peek
October 26, 2011
The Park Record submitted identical sets of questions to each candidate running for the Park City Council. The questions and the candidates’ answers are printed below.
The Park City Police Department aggressively patrols the roads, pulling over thousands of drivers over the course of a year as the officers attempt to curb speeding and other traffic violations as well as reduce drunken driving. Please discuss the successes or failures of the Police Department’s traffic patrols and whether police resources are best used in that fashion.
It was only a few years ago that speeding was high on the list of concerns. Increased enforcement resulting from complaints have resulted in deploying speed trailers, and increased stopping of cars. Traffic enforcement is a balance of having our visitors feel welcome and our residents feel safe. Most drivers believe they are safe and are confident that they know what they are doing. But, the intensity of a returning resident after a day at work may not mesh with kids on bikes and residential living. We also live in and benefit from a resort economy and the release offered by partying on Main Street needs to be managed. We are a community that benefits from safe streets; pedestrians, bikes, skateboards and cars share our roads. Patrols help keep us safer. Safety is a byproduct of increased vigilance of the traffic patrols. Resources used in this way are appropriate.
The Park City Council has voted for City Hall raises in recent years, including agreeing to an increase in the salary a City Councilor is paid, even as pay increases have become much rarer in the private sector. Please discuss how you would craft City Hall salaries for both staffers and elected officials. Do you envision regular pay increases at City Hall amid the uncertain economy?
Equitable and competitive pay is a tool to recruit and retain both qualified and well trained staff. Park City has a policy of rewarding performance over seniority and obtaining competitive market data when establishing salary levels. Ultimately, the budget and available funds determine staffing and salary levels. For certain job categories where employees are less likely to relocate regionally, regular assessments of salaries in the Wasatch Front & Back are needed. For other job categories where employees would benefit from relocating to other competitive markets, salaries need to be set in relation to those markets.
Council compensation was increased after six years of holding steady. That is a reasonable holding period. There needs to be a balance in council pay that perhaps welcomes young capable minds to enter public service.
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Development issues in Old Town continue to bedevil City Hall years after heavy investment started in the neighborhood, with property owners generally wanting looser regulations and the preservation community desiring tighter restrictions. Please outline a platform that protects the historic nature of the neighborhood as well as ensuring the rights of property owners.
When the city started awarding matching grants to motivated historic property owners, Old Town was trailing other districts in the real estate market. The grants were helpful and Old Town took off. Preservation of more challenging sites is now before us. The motivation to preserve rests with the property owner. A beautifully restored historic property is an accomplishment, something to be proud of and show off to friends. Our resort economy is critical and heritage tourism is an important arrow in our quiver. Maintaining and nurturing a historic Park City is what we must do.
The 2009 amendments to the Land Management Code appropriately dictate the size and massing of additions to historic structures. Compatible massing in new construction is important. While new homes will be larger than what historically existed, using building volumes that have a relationship to the historic fabric will be a step in the right direction.
Park City has a long-running work force housing program, a result of a line of thinking that holds the community is better off if people of varying incomes are able to live within the city limits. Please describe your commitment to City Hall’s work force housing program. Are there additional brick-and-mortar projects you want the municipal government to pursue, or do you envision the days of City Hall work force projects soon being over?
Park City’s real estate market has resulted in many not being able to live within the town that they work in. Though in a recession now, the real estate market will likely continue to stay ahead of worker’s ability to enter the housing market. As large projects are approved, a requirement for a component of housing that is not out of range of people that are essential to a well functioning town is reasonable.
All sectors of our population benefit from a vibrant town populated by locals and visitors. A second home ghost town is not as desirable as a living, breathing, real town full of locals, families and ski bums. A vibrant town needs essential people to live nearby. If essential workers are able to live locally, we all benefit with less traffic. Locals living locally are preferable to bigger roads, more parking, and more traffic lights.
The Bonanza Park district centered along Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard is seen as a place of major redevelopment in the coming years. Please discuss your vision for the district and how a redone Bonanza Park would fit with the rest of Park City’s commercial nodes. What danger is there of Bonanza Park siphoning away business from the established districts like Main Street?
City Council and Planning Commission are participating in work sessions regarding Bonanza Park. During a recent meeting, we took a survey which showed we feel the Bonanza Park district is run down and uninviting. Our vision says that it should become vibrant, affordable, mixed use, and fulfill everyday needs. We have the chance to plan the district with a motivated, communicative property owner. This does not happen often.
Main Street is our iconic commercial district. A Bonanza Park district that redevelops over time and absorbs into the market and does not contain businesses that compete directly with Main St. will be good. Perhaps attracting businesses to Bonanza Park that do not depend on the winter/summer resort tourist economy will help expand Park City’s economy and will not detract from Main Street’s niche as a historic, vibrant, iconic core. It is important that citizens and business owners get and stay involved.
Park City leaders have for years taken pride in City Hall’s ability to balance the municipal budget without increasing property taxes. Officials have cautioned, though, that a tax increase might be necessary in the coming years, a result of dwindling development-related revenues as well as inflationary pressures. Do you envision a tax increase being necessary during the next City Council term? Please describe what your thought process would be if faced with a decision to raise property taxes.
Inflation will continue to erode the power of city dollars to provide the level of service that we have come to expect. Dipping into city reserves to maintain services is a financially risky option if revenues (taxes) don’t return to expected amounts. Service levels can be prioritized and ranked and available funding applied to establish a cut-off point for services. A "stop doing list" of city services can be used to establish where the citizens feel the limit has been reached on cutting back. If and when a threshold is reached for particular services, there may be a consensus that taxes need to be raised for the things the city provides that citizens believe we #1-need, #2-expect, and #3-enjoy. Regardless, in any economy, a property tax increase will be looked at with close analysis and skepticism.
City Hall and the Sweeney family are continuing negotiations in hopes of striking an agreement for the Treasure land that would protect some or all of the acreage from development. Please discuss your preferred solution to the Treasure question. In your answer, please describe your opinion of the overarching idea of a ballot measure to finance a Treasure conservation deal.
With buying some or all of the Treasure density as an option, the negotiations with the owners continue and evolve. If the community passes a bond and buys off some or all of the approved density it will be expensive. I support an effort to reach a compromise. A frank dialogue will produce new ideas and skeptical review of the resulting impacts will occur. Reducing the negative effects of an approval from the mid-80’s (that some believed could never be built) is my goal. If the current application that is on hold is built, I feel the impacts of the Treasure development are beyond what Park City can absorb. If ultimately some of the density moves to another location, some is retired, and some remains on the Creole Gulch site, a use that provides visitors and guests for Main Street would be preferable over the impacts of homes or condos.
The national economic uncertainty wrought by the recession persists, even as Park City has enjoyed a bounce over the past year. Please discuss your overall outlook for the Park City economy. What measures could City Hall take to ensure the city’s economy does not retreat from the gains since the depths of the recession?
I have a positive outlook for Park City’s economy. Among competing resort communities, we have a uniquely accessible location. We have a skilled, motivated business community. (Deer Valley is #1 again!!). Providing a welcoming visitor experience that allows our guests to leave their stress at home, enjoy our mountain town and move about conveniently is an area where the city can assist. For residents, making it convenient and easy to shop locally will boost local retail sales. I support our effort to "Keep it PC"; a little peer pressure to shop in Park City is good! Attracting businesses that are less affected by the cyclical tourist economy that bring their employees to live in town can help businesses in Park City improve their sales in the off season.
Please differentiate yourself from your opponents.
When I moved to Park city in my early twenties, I enjoyed working at Deer Valley their first season with my brothers, Tom and Bob. The next year, I helped Tom open Peek-a-Boo’s restaurant at Park City Mountain Resort. I then learned the construction trade and started a business in remodeling and construction. Remodeling historic homes in Old Town led to a position on the Board of the Park City Historical Society and chairing the building committee for the Museum expansion on Main Street. I served on the Historic District Commission (1999-2003) and on the Planning Commission (2007-2011) before being selected to serve the remaining city council term of the late Candy Erickson. I have worked in two important sectors of the Park City economy, restaurants and residential remodeling and construction. I see the effects of the recession. As a citizen of Park City, I have been involved on city boards and commissions. I have taken the time to gain the experience necessary to serve on City Council. I will work hard, listen, learn, and serve. When I moved to Park City thirty years ago it was a great town and my goal is to keep it that way!