Park City may expand oversight of fests, tourneys, other events
Park City in coming months, it appears, will consider seating a panel that would have some sort of oversight as City Hall considers the community’s busy special event calendar, a potentially significant step for a municipal government that only rarely makes such a move.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council on Thursday held a wide-ranging discussion about the community’s special events. The elected officials were not scheduled to make important decisions, but the talk on Thursday is expected to continue with more detailed discussions later.
The mayor and City Council were not prepared to consider the mechanics of a panel, but the possibility of one being seated is important nonetheless. City Hall currently has a board known as the Special Events Advisory Committee. It has limited powers, though, with members typically discussing the events with little ability to influence them to the level that a new panel may hold.
Park City has a roster of boards and commissions holding various levels of influence. The Planning Commission is widely seen as the most powerful, holding the ability to approve or reject a range of development proposals, while others like the Library Board have duties specific to an individual facility. City Councilors over the years have rarely created standing panels like the special event board that is expected to be considered.
It is unclear what sort of powers a special event panel could be given as it considers the impacts, positive and negative, of a special event. The group, it seems, could be tasked with reviewing applications for events with perhaps the possibility of the panel voting to approve or reject an application or crafting a recommendation to the City Council for approval or denial.
Some of the discussion on Thursday centered on what sort of benchmarks a panel would weigh a special event application against. Becca Gerber, a City Councilor, as an example, noted the Planning Commission considers applications using City Hall’s detailed development rules.
There is not a similar sort of document to review special events, she said.
Another City Councilor, Lynn Ware Peek, expressed concern that a panel would add another layer of bureaucracy at City Hall. The mayor said the issue deserves the work of a citizens board and indicated the elected officials have previously considered adjusting the existing Special Events Advisory Board. He also said a survey is needed. Beerman, meanwhile, said he wants the City Council to hold the final authority on special events if a committee is seated, such as through a call-up process that allows the elected officials to reconsider a decision by a panel.
The talks on Thursday continued a long-running community discussion about the impacts of special events as the number of events has increased over time. There is concern the special events can overwhelm Park City with traffic, parking problems and crowds. The events include a spectrum of concerts, festivals and sports tournaments or races. Some say they desire the peacefulness of days without events while others see the events as critical to the Park City economy, particularly in the summer and fall.
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A group of Park City residents on Monday night criticized the prospects of City Hall developing a workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town. The people at a Marsac Building event raised a range of issues.