Park City housing: With rent ‘ridiculous,’ workers await City Hall projects
Rikki Silhavy, a guest services manager who rents a place in Prospector, has lived in Park City for 2 1/2 years, enjoying the lifestyle of a mountain resort community.
She, like many other rank-and-file workers in the Park City area, has had to put more of her earnings into housing recently as prices rise.
“Rent has been ridiculous. I want to be here for the next five years or so,” Silhavy said during a recent interview, as she learned about housing opportunities available through City Hall or other programs, adding, “I moved here to be in Park City. I don’t want to commute anymore.”
Silhavy was in the audience at the Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library for an event organized by the municipal government and the not-for-profit Mountainlands Community Housing Trust. The gathering was designed to introduce a variety of housing programs and projects. The event covered a range of topics and drew at least 50 people. Someone interested in pursuing a chance to acquire a City Hall workforce or otherwise restricted unit must attend one of the events. One more is scheduled.
Much of the attention at the recent event appeared to center on the first phase of Woodside Park, a municipal project on the 1300 blocks of Park Avenue and Woodside Avenue. The seven-unit project is expected to draw broad interest as a Dec. 6 pre-application deadline nears. The houses in the first phase of Woodside Park are priced at between $205,000 and $565,000 while the townhouse prices are set at $359,000. The prices are well below those in surrounding Old Town, where residential real estate regularly reaches past $1 million.
The first phase of Woodside Park is part of an aggressive City Hall push with a goal of adding 800 units of restricted housing by the end of 2026. Leaders want to reach the goal through a combination of City Hall projects, private-sector obligations and public-private partnerships. Officials have long said the housing program ensures socioeconomic diversity and reduces commuter traffic in a resort-driven real estate market that is the most expensive in the state.
Representatives from City Hall and Mountainlands Community Housing Trust led the event at the Santy Auditorium, providing informational slides and answering questions. Rhoda Stauffer, who is the affordable housing program manager at City Hall, at times spoke in broad terms about housing. Stauffer at one point described that the municipal government’s open space efforts, involving $100 million-plus in conservation deals over the years, has also reduced the available land for restricted housing projects. The open space “shrinks land” for housing, she said.
“There’s very little land available for development,” Stauffer said.
Stauffer also spoke about the mechanics of the housing program as well as the program’s underpinnings. Stauffer said, as an example, someone owning a restricted unit cannot rent the place unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as the owner leaving for military service or a religious mission. The rules are meant to ensure the units remain in the pool of restricted housing, she said.
“It’s all about keeping it affordable in perpetuity, she said.
Stauffer provided information about the selection process for units in the first phase of Woodside Park, describing a lottery system that gives added weight to certain categories of people, such as first responders. She said households that are selected to acquire a unit must be sized for that specific place, meaning a one-person household will not be allowed to purchase a three-bedroom unit. Stauffer also explained restrictions on net worth for potential buyers, mentioning the variety of categories of assets like property, investments and retirement accounts.
Scott Loomis, the executive director of Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, was in attendance at the recent event at the Santy Auditorium, saying in an interview there is significant demand for housing like the units City Hall is developing in the first phase of Woodside Park.
“Clearly there’s always been interest, but there’s never been product,” he said.
Loomis said a household earning the median income of $109,800 annually for a household of four in Summit County can afford to purchase an approximately $500,000 house, a figure that is significantly below the typical real estate sale.
“There’s no product for anybody earning less than a couple hundred thousand dollars a year,” he said about the real estate market in Park City and surrounding Summit County.
Silhavy, who is renting in Prospector, entered her name in the selection process for the first phase of Woodside Park or a separate restricted unit at Silver Star. She said she has been interested in buying a place since she moved to Park City.
“I’ve been looking for 2 1/2 years, a lot. … This is a great opportunity,” she said.
The final event organized by Mountainlands Community Housing Trust and City Hall is scheduled on Monday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. at the Santy Auditorium.
For more information, contact Stauffer at 615-5152 or email@example.com.
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The artist from Vineyard who created the mural traveled to Park City again last weekend to repair it, tweak the image and leave a message for the community on the street.