Park City planning field addresses housing, transit and even paid parking
A group of Parkites from disparate neighborhoods and with diverse professional backgrounds submitted applications to serve on the Park City Planning Commission, evidence that the panel remains an attractive option for public service even in the months after the debate about Treasure ended with voter approval of a conservation acquisition of the land.
The upcoming appointments will be the first since the end of the Treasure dispute, which had been for years the most significant issue before the Planning Commission. There are two panel spots that require appointments. Former Planning Commissioner Melissa Band held one of the seats. She moved out of the Park City limits and is no longer eligible to serve on the panel. Douglas Thimm holds the other spot and is seeking reappointment.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council are scheduled to interview the candidates on Tuesday with appointments anticipated as early as Jan. 29.
Summaries of the applications include:
• Douglas Thimm, who lives on River Birch Court and has lived in Park City for 18 years. He has served on the Planning Commission since 2014. His professional background is in architecture and planning, and he has worked on urban-planning efforts in Utah, Idaho and California. He said in the application traffic, parking, workforce housing and the preservation of Main Street’s historic fabric are important issues.
“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,” Thimm says in the application.
• Christin Van Dine, who lives on Equestrian Way and has lived in Park City for 16 years. The application says Van Dine works in the health care industry. Van Dine’s application says sustainable growth, open space preservation and transportation are important issues. The application says “we need growth that adds to the character and community of our town and not just growth for economic reasons.” It also says Park City needs what Van Dine considers to be “viable low impact transportation options.”
• David Greenholtz, who lives on Park Avenue and has lived in Park City for 12 years. He is a graduate of the Leadership Park City training program and he indicates he has worked in the mortgage industry for more than 30 years. The application says “there is an opportunity to explore how our zoning, permits and future projects can shape our town.” The application says “mega mansions,” affordable housing and long-range plans for housing are important issues. He says many residences in Park City are unoccupied most of the year.
“These are not used by locals, they are a massive drain on utilities and waste,” he says, adding he wants information about possibilities of building in an environmentally friendly fashion.
• David Ludema, who lives on Little Kate Road and has lived in Park City for 12 years. He was once a college professor and owned farm and commercial property. Ludema says open space, what he considers to be “limited mountain development,” solar power and water issues are important. He says he considers City Hall land deals for conservation purposes “to be the best investment we can make.” The Ludema application also discusses ideals regarding resort development. He says he remembers “skiing through a development where 8 years ago one could ski through a reletively untouched area. In this regard we need to be cautious going into the future such that we do not make back country so excessible, that we degrade it while doing so.”
• Jeremy Sheppe, who lives on Lucky John Drive and has lived in Park City for three-plus years. The application says Sheppe has a law degree. The application addresses the business makeup of Main Street, saying what he describes as “brand name stores” should be “decided on a case by case basis and not under a blanket rule.” “I find it hard to believe that property owners on Main Street would all be willing to allow their rents to be well under market to avoid renting to brand name stores,” he says, adding that City Hall could encounter legal issues if the rule is challenged.
• Karen West-Ellis, who lives on Venus Court and has lived in Park City for six years. She is a nurse practitioner and has served on a City Hall panel that weighs the impacts of special events on the community. West-Ellis says in the application growth in Old Town is an important issue, outlining that the neighborhood infrastructure is “not capable of handling the present requirements let alone the predicted growth.” She also notes the presence of chain retailers along Main Street, saying “their presence changes the ambience of Park City’s Main Street.” West-Ellis, meanwhile, addresses the paid-parking system in Old Town, a topic that is outside the jurisdiction of the Planning Commission. She says the paid-parking costs more than it does in City Creek Center in Salt Lake City.
A critic of a Park City workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town said he is considering an appeal of the Park City Planning Commission’s approval of the development.