Old Town locations appear problematic for City Hall housing projects | ParkRecord.com

Old Town locations appear problematic for City Hall housing projects

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

City Hall would likely encounter problems of some sort at three of the four Old Town locations officials recently identified as places that could be investigated for potential work force or otherwise restricted housing developments, the municipal government said in a report issued early in the week.

The report, written by Phyllis Robinson, who manages City Hall’s community and public affairs, and housing specialist Rhoda Stauffer, was drafted in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting on Thursday. The elected officials are scheduled to receive an update on City Hall’s broad housing efforts, including the four locations, at a meeting starting at 3:50 p.m. at the Marsac Building. The discussion about housing is scheduled to start at approximately 4:50 p.m.

The four locations were identified in the summer, as officials continued their housing efforts. Mayor Jack Thomas and the City Council have made housing a priority for City Hall. The locations are the flagpole parking lot along the lower stretch of Swede Alley, the Sandridge parking lots off Marsac Avenue, the China Bridge garage on Swede Alley and the Mawhinney lot on Park Avenue. The Old Town setting for each of the locations is notable since it has been rare in recent years to develop work force housing in the neighborhood.

The report issued this week indicated the Mawhinney lot would not encounter "serious issues" for a housing project. It does not provide details. The other locations, though, would likely pose issues, the report said. The report provides limited information about the issues. It say officials continue to analyze the feasibility of projects at the sites.

The report briefly outlines potential issues at the sites:

  • the flagpole lot "will likely present soils issues," the report said. It said the investigation is continuing into the flagpole lot and that the possibility of soils issues is an "early indication."
  • the Sandridge parking lots could encounter what City Hall describes as unspecified "density issues"
  • the China Bridge garage, both the old and new sections, continues to be investigated for housing possibilities atop the structures. But the report said "early indications are that use of the parking garage will present significant development issues primarily related to the difficulty of penetrating the post tension rebar in the parking levels." The older section of the garage, "will also likely have structural issues since it was modified during the construction of the new section," the report said.

    The report is based on preliminary research into the sites. It is not known what effect the preliminary research will have as the elected officials continue their discussions.

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    It seems the issues identified at the flagpole parking lot and the Sandridge parking lots on their own would not doom the prospects of a housing project. City Hall and private sector developers have long dealt with soils issues at project sites, such as those that would apparently be present at the flagpole lot. A project at the Sandridge parking lots, meanwhile, could likely be scaled back to assuage concerns about the number of units, if that is the primary issue there.

    Park City leaders have long seen housing as a critical issue, saying people have been priced out of Park City’s resort-driven real estate market. City Hall over the years has pursued a housing platform through programs and brick-and-mortar development.

    Housing proponents say a diverse housing stock that includes work force and other categories of restricted affordable units offers benefits to Park City like ensuring an economically diverse population and cutting commuter traffic.