Park City Council contenders emerge from mayoral shadow
Candidates address housing, transit in first forum of the campaign
THE PARK RECORD
The Park City Council field gathered on Monday night for the first forum of the campaign season, covering a range of issues during an event that perhaps more importantly provided an opportunity for the candidates to increase name recognition after spending months in the shadow of the mayoral campaign.
Three of the candidates – Tim Henney, Steve Joyce and Mark Blue — attended in person while the fourth – Josh Hobson — participated through an online video link. Henney is an incumbent City Councilor seeking a second term. Steve Joyce is a member of the Park City Planning Commission. Blue has campaigned repeatedly for a City Council seat and has worked in a variety of fields. Hobson is an environmental activist.
A group known as the Park City Action Network, which promotes issues important to young people, organized the event at the No Name Saloon on Main Street. The crowd of at least several dozen was of mixed ages. The candidates provided brief biographical information and addressed topics forwarded by the people at the event. There did not appear to be an overriding issue as the candidates moved between questions on topics like housing and traffic.
The discussion about traffic was especially notable as the candidates described policies or programs amid continuing community concerns about the issue.
Joyce said the pending reintroduction of paid parking on Swede Alley could reduce traffic by changing driver behavior and said City Hall must address traffic during special events. Blue called himself the “transportation guy” and said past traffic studies should be disregarded since Park City is more famous and busier nowadays. He broached the idea of reversible lanes on S.R. 248. Hobson said a more robust transit link is needed connecting Park City to Salt Lake City International Airport. Henney supported alternate modes of transportation and said there is a “car problem in this community.”
The candidates described a range of housing platforms as well, and there seemed to be agreement about continuing City Hall’s housing work.
Hobson said year-round and seasonal rentals are needed. The number of people in the work force living outside of Park City is “sapping some of the vitality” out of the city, he said.
Blue said land is available outside the city limits for housing projects, but he said the location complicates the issue since people who would live there would not be eligible to vote in City Hall elections or be full members of the community.
Henney said City Hall’s housing program is important since it results in an “unplugging” of the profit motive of the private sector. He also said there are powerful free-market forces pressing on Park City.
Joyce said proceeds from City Hall housing projects can be reinvested to continue the program. He also said the municipal government could consider partnerships with the private sector as it pursues more housing projects.
The City Council campaign has not drawn the same attention as the mayoral contest and the candidates are not as known as the two vying for Park City’s top elected position. Former Mayor Dana Williams and City Councilor Andy Beerman, the two mayoral competitors, attended the event but did not participate.
Some of the other points made at the event included:
- Blue describing drastic changes in Park City over time. He said he would not blame Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts for the changes. Blue also said he is concerned about youngsters and drug abuse.
- Hobson saying decisions made in Park City impact the Snyderville Basin and Heber City while those made in the outlying locations have effects on Park City. He said, as an example, growth at Canyons Village will impact Main Street.
- Joyce noting that City Hall has borrowed and spent lots of money on items like the acquisition of Bonanza Flat in a conservation deal and infrastructure work. He said he does not like “how fast we’re spending our money.”
- Henney saying Park City could perhaps address issues related to social justice and that there is “broad agreement” in Park City about the overriding community issues.
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A group of people that appeared to largely represent Park City’s development and real estate industries joined family members of the late United Park City Mines President Hank Rothwell on Wednesday as a road was named in his honor. It was a tribute to a key figure in the great growth battles of the 1990s.