Park City appoints new planning commissioner who wants to ‘reduce unnecessary developments’
Telecommunications industry figure joins panel amid the talks about project at PCMR
The Park City Council recently confirmed the appointment of a telecommunications industry figure to the Park City Planning Commission and the reappointment of an attorney to the influential panel.
William Johnson joins the Planning Commission after living in Park City for nearly 30 years while Sarah Hall will serve another term. The terms expire in July of 2024.
Johnson is a newcomer to the Planning Commission at a crucial juncture with the panel appearing to be preparing to cast a vote on a Provo developer’s proposal for a major project at the Park City Mountain Resort base area. It will be one of the most notable votes in years by the Planning Commission.
Johnson takes the seat nearly a year after the launch of the discussions between the Planning Commission and PEG Companies regarding the project at PCMR. The Planning Commission appears to have deep-rooted concerns with the proposal, and testimony from the public has been heavily tilted against the project. It appears a vote could be cast sometime in 2021, but a precise timeline is not known.
In his application for appointment to the Planning Commission, Johnson says he arrived in Park City in 1993 and was educated in the Park City School District. He was a restaurant-industry worker on Main Street and worked in construction before starting a business in custom woodworking. He entered the telecommunications industry in 2008 and says he specializes in tasks like negotiating leases and securing permits from government bodies. He says he has appeared before planning commissions elsewhere as part of his professional duties.
“The mission is to keep Park City special. Reduce unnecessary developments while providing an objective judgement to any proposed zoning change or new development,” Johnson says in the application.
He lists the closely related topics of transportation and pedestrian routes, historic preservation and affordable housing as the three issues he sees as being of prime importance.
Johnson in the application does not propose a solution to the topic of transportation and pedestrian routes but says he is willing to consider options. He mentions the development plan for PCMR and an arts and culture district under consideration along Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard could have roles in the issues.
He briefly addresses historic preservation, saying “the roots of this town are still among us and they are vitally important to the cultural and economic impact of Park City.”
He says he lives in the Snow Creek Cottages, a workforce housing development, and says the area needs “more attainable housing in town and the county as a whole.”
The Planning Commission is seen as ranking second in influence only to the City Council among all the municipal boards and commissions. The Planning Commission holds decision-making power over a broad range of development matters, and it assists the elected officials in crafting City Hall blueprints for growth.
Although the development proposal at PCMR has commanded much of the attention in recent months, the Planning Commission during the term of Johnson and Hall will likely review other high-profile projects.
The City Hall-proposed arts and culture district, as envisioned, would remake a swath of land in a crucial location stretching inward from the Bonanza Drive-Kearns Boulevard intersection. The Planning Commission talks would likely stress issues such as the traffic and the layout of the buildings.
Deer Valley Resort, meanwhile, holds longstanding rights to develop the land outside Snow Park Lodge that is the current location of the resort’s parking lots. A timeline for discussions between the resort and the Planning Commission is not clear.
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Mother Nature has not delivered any early gifts to Park City skiers and snowboarders. As December nears, the area is suffering through an especially dry spell of weather.