Park City lawyer says ‘oui’ to assignment in French Alps |

Park City lawyer says ‘oui’ to assignment in French Alps

Polly Samuels McLean, the assistant Park City attorney, plans to travel to Park City’s sister city, Courchevel, France, in the summer as part of an employee-exchange program. Courchevel, a mountain resort in the Alps that hosted some of the competitions during the 1992 Winter Olympics, tackles similar issues as Park City. The poster from the 1992 Winter Olympics hangs with others from past games in the City Council chambers at the Marsac Building.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

Polly Samuels McLean, the assistant Park City attorney and a City Hall lawyer heavily involved in the community’s development debates, plans to spend part of the summer learning about growth in another renowned mountain resort with a Winter Olympic heritage.

A French speaker, McLean said ‘oui’ to the assignment. McLean is preparing to head to Courchevel, France, in the summer for six weeks. The Alps community is Park City’s sister city and the two want to reinvigorate the relationship. There has been a student-exchange program involving the two, but McLean will be the first-ever City Hall staffer to participate in an employee-exchange program.

McLean, 48, departs for France in June and returns in July. She will be posted in the planning department of the municipal government of Courchevel. McLean as a City Hall attorney is tasked with numerous duties related to planning and zoning, and she is oftentimes the attorney who covers meetings of the Park City Planning Commission.

“They’re a mountain town. They have three ski resorts that are combined,” she said, adding, “They’re very much tourism industry.”

McLean said Park City and Courchevel, a venue during the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, have similar challenges like transportation, affordable housing and the impacts of special events. She said the exchange program will provide an opportunity to learn about the mechanics of Courchevel, something that a person visiting on vacation would not observe.

“You really see not just what they want to present. … You just don’t see the rosy picture. You see everything,” McLean said.

McLean has been an attorney for the municipal government for nearly 13 years. She arrived at the Marsac Building after a post with the Office of the Attorney General in Utah, a clerkship in the Court of Appeals in Utah and a position in the district attorney’s office in the New York City borough of Manhattan.

McLean will live in an apartment in Courchevel. Her two kids, an 8-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old daughter, will accompany her. They are both in a Park City School District program designed to teach students the French language as part of a concentrated curriculum. The kids will attend an elementary school in Courchevel. Her husband will also travel to the Alps for most of the family’s residency in France.

The family is paying for travel and living expenses. McLean will continue her Marsac Building assignments through telecommuting. She will receive her City Hall salary while in France.

She will not practice law while she is in Courchevel and she is unsure if she will have the opportunity to enter a courtroom to observe the French legal system. McLean is interested in learning about the appeals system in planning and zoning matters in Courchevel.

McLean, though, also wants to share information about how the government of Park City operates as well as highlight Park City’s commitment to acquiring land for conservation purposes. The land program has protected thousands of acres of open space in the immediate Park City area over the past 20-plus years.

“What we’ve done in Park City is unique. … Just the fact we have open space,” McLean said, noting the absence of large tracts of protected national forest land in the Park City area.

The government in Courchevel plans to send a staffer to Park City later in 2018. A summer intern from Courchevel is also expected. Park City officials say the Courchevel side of the exchange program is interested in economic development, tourism, housing, transportation and planning issues. The intern will be assigned to economic development at the Marsac Building and have duties at the Park City Chamber/Bureau as well.

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