In Bonanza Park, a smattering of support is heard
January 17, 2015
Park City officials on Tuesday continued their discussions about the future Bonanza Park, hearing opinions about the prospects of remaking the district into place that offers a range of housing options, new commercial properties and a redone street grid.
The long-running talks about Bonanza Park have not yet yielded a blueprint for the district as supporters and opponents have stressed numerous issues. The opposition in recent months has been especially pointed.
The Park City Council addressed Bonanza Park at a meeting on Tuesday. It was a special meeting centered on the district. The audience included people with interests in Bonanza Park, other Parkites and members of the Park City Planning Commission. The City Council was not scheduled to make important decisions.
Park City leaders are considering adopting what is known as a form-based code to regulate development in Bonanza Park. A form-based code involves planning, zoning and design ideals. Officials at City Hall argue that such a code would lead to Bonanza Park becoming a district with a mix of uses, housing that would be available to a range of incomes and public spaces. A form-based code, leaders say, better fits the desires for Bonanza Park than City Hall’s current rules.
Testimony on Tuesday was split after several months of the opposition appearing to be more vocal. Speakers in opposition on Tuesday stressed points that were similar to those expressed during meetings in 2014. They worried about the impacts on business and an idea that City Hall could further restrict development in Bonanza Park.
One of the intriguing speakers, though, provided comments in support of the ideas in Bonanza Park. Bryan Markkanen, a Prospector resident, read a petition in favor of the ideals under consideration at City Hall. Markkanen has also launched an online petition. His comments to the elected officials on Tuesday were similar to those posted with the petition.
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He says in the petition a form-based code "prevents sprawl, saves land, creates community, and adapts over time."
"We believe it is a benefit to all Park City residents and users," the petition says.
It argues that a form-based code "is a progressive, smart-growth concept designed to help communities with limited space and an abundance of people grow responsibly and preserve open space." It says a form-based code "is development zoning that encourages landowners to build with the interest of the community as a whole and is generally less restrictive than current zoning."
The petition asks how someone wants Park City to grow, in a manner like places such as Boulder, Colo., Aspen, Colo., Bend, Ore., or Burlington, Vt., or in a fashion similar to Provo, Los Angeles or Las Vegas.
"It is a critical time to make a difference for our kids, ourselves and the future of Park City. Please sign below if you identify with FBC: a progressive, adaptive, and vibrant path forward for the second center of Park City," the petition says, using an acronym for form-based code.
Several other speakers, generally younger than the opponents, provided similar statements to the officials on Tuesday. Some of the comments included that the support is underrepresented, that housing options are limited and there is sprawl in the area, something that a form-based code is meant to diminish.
Max Doilney, one of the speakers in favor, said he often is in Bonanza Park but rarely walks or bicycles in the district. He said he is excited about a place in Park City someday resembling places like Flagstaff, Ariz., Boulder, Colo., or Burlington, Vt.
Opponents on Tuesday broached issues like how soils contaminated during Park City’s silver mining era will be addressed, traffic concerns and the potential business makeup in Bonanza Park.
Peter Yogman, a Park Meadows resident who is critical of the ideals for Bonanza Park, said locally owned businesses would be hurt and the district will become a place for the "near wealthy."
Mark J. Fischer, who has significant land holdings in Bonanza Park and plans a major redevelopment, meanwhile, spoke about several topics. He said Park City leaders need to make policy decisions regarding Bonanza Park, including whether City Hall will fund infrastructure improvements. He also said the municipal government’s rules addressing contaminated soils need to be changed.
Fischer has for some time been worried that projects in Bonanza Park might not be economically viable if changes are made to the development rules. A form-based code will "downzone" the district, Fischer said, using a term that describes when a government puts further development restrictions on land.
"We need one set of rules," Fischer said.
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