Park City makes first planning panel picks in post-Treasure era
February 21, 2019
The Park City Council recently reappointed an incumbent member of the Park City Planning Commission and selected a newcomer for another spot on the influential panel, the first round of appointments since voters in November approved most of the funding for a City Hall acquisition of the Treasure land in a conservation deal.
Planning Commissioner Douglas Thimm was reappointed with a term ending in July of 2023. The City Council selected Christin Van Dine for a term that also ends in July of 2023.
The Planning Commission is seen as ranking second in influence to the City Council of City Hall's boards and commissions. The panel holds broad authority in growth and development matters. The recent selections were even more notable than other rounds of Planning Commission appointments since they were made in the months after the successful Treasure ballot measure.
Planning Commission rosters for longer than a decade struggled with the Treasure development proposal on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. Voters in November approved a ballot measure providing most of the funding for City Hall's planned acquisition of Treasure in a $64 million conservation deal, ending the Planning Commission talks about a Treasure development proposal.
Van Dine earlier in February attended her first Planning Commission meeting as a member of the panel. Van Dine has lived in Park City for 16 years. She works in the health care industry and has been involved with the People's Health Clinic, which is a not-for-profit organization that serves the uninsured, and the Mountain Trails Foundation.
Van Dine in her Planning Commission application indicates a mission of the panel is "to find reasonable and sustainable ways to keep land use within the designated uses and best use as fit for the town and desires for land use by Park City residents."
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The Van Dine application says "sustainable growth," open space preservation and transportation are key issues for Park City. The application says Park City needs "growth that adds to the character and community of our town and not just growth for economic reasons."
Van Dine also says in the application open space needs to be protected. She said there is a possibility for growth that does not endanger open lands.
"Looking at new ways that people value their space and living gives great options for building sustainable housing and businesses without infringing on the open space we have that is the base for our active community," the application says.
Van Dine says in the application Park City needs "more viable low impact transportation options" and that the community needs to lead in combating traffic.
Thimm has lived in Park City for 18 years and is an architect and a planner with more than 30 years of experience. He was appointed to a second term as a Planning Commissioner.
In his application for reappointment, Thimm says crucial issues for the Planning Commission are the related topics of traffic and parking, housing for the workforce and the preservation of the historic fabric of Main Street.
Thimm in the application says workforce housing remains important even as City Hall makes progress. He notes traffic on the entryways as he discusses housing.
"Even with the affordable housing initiatives now in place, it seems that there is a need for a higher level of focus in terms of identifying solutions providing for convenient lower cost housing within the City that will result in reduced traffic and energy savings and improved environmental quality along with a better sense of community for the whole City," the application says.
Thimm, meanwhile, says transportation alternatives are needed to reduce traffic and says City Hall should maintain a priority meant to "keep the atmosphere of the historic vibe" in the Main Street core.
The Planning Commission during the four-year term is expected to remain busy even after the end of the Treasure discussions. The panel will hold an important role as City Hall itself pursues an arts and culture district along the Kearns Boulevard corridor as well as the municipal government's aggressive housing efforts. There appears to be a possibility that Park City Mountain Resort sometime during the term will engage the Planning Commission about an ambitious redevelopment of the parking lots.