Park City Council field: no political bombshells, but no gaffs, either | ParkRecord.com

Park City Council field: no political bombshells, but no gaffs, either

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The Park City Council field gathered on Monday night for a candidate event in Park Meadows, outlining their platforms and addressing a range of issues in front of one of the largest crowds they will likely confront during the election season.

The candidate event drew approximately 200 people to Park Meadows Country Club. The audience appeared to include people from across Park City, but Park Meadows was heavily represented. Park Meadows, with a large bloc of potential voters, has long been a critical neighborhood in Park City elections.

The six City Council candidates have entered the final days of the campaign. An early voting period ends on Friday as Election Day itself, Tuesday, Nov. 3, fast approaches. The event on Monday was similar to others that have involved the entire City Council field. The candidates, as they have been throughout the campaign season, were mild mannered on Monday.

There did not seem to be a pivotal moment an unexpected policy statement or an obvious gaff — for any of the candidates. Instead they provided brief biographical backgrounds and answered questions about the issues. As has been the case during previous campaign events involving the entire field, the candidates seemed to agree on many of the broad issues. Their detailed answers, though, sometimes differed.

The event, organized by Park Meadows residents interested in the issues, touched on topics like traffic and housing. Those two issues are critical to City Hall’s current agenda and almost certainly will continue to be during the next City Council term.

The moderator, Stacy Dymalski, pressed the related issues of traffic and parking early in the event. The candidates offered a range of ideas.

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Dan Portwood said decisions should be made jointly between City Hall and property owners and said the Utah Department of Transportation should be involved. Rory Murphy also mentioned that some of the roads in question are under state jurisdiction. Murphy also said solutions could include satellite parking lots, rapid-transit buses and, perhaps, resident-only roads someday. Becca Gerber mentioned satellite parking lots and indicated City Hall needs to work with property owners. Hope Melville said the responsibility needs to be shared while Andy Beerman, the only incumbent on the ballot, said the entire community must participate as solutions are crafted. Nann Worel said she is concerned about employees parking in the same locations as visitors and Park City residents, indicating she wants to work with businesses on satellite-parking options.

The moderator also questioned the candidates about dog issues in Park City, a topic that has long divided Parkites but rarely enters City Hall political campaigns. Animal control is a County Courthouse function rather than one overseen by the municipal government, meaning that the elected officials in Park City have a limited role in the issue.

Murphy said irresponsible owners create some of the problems and added that dog owners need to be accountable through large fines after a dog bite. Melville said owners need to have their dogs under control. Gerber mentioned a delicate balance and said Park City could create nicer places to bring dogs off leashes. Beerman said City Hall does not create the law and said it is a judgment call when talking about trails. Portwood said the leash law should be changed if people are unhappy with those restrictions, adding that he is not a fan of dogs on leashes. Worel said a certification process could perhaps be created that would allow certain dogs to run off leashes.

Other topics broached by the candidates included:

  • Melville urging the municipal government to renovate existing housing instead of building new projects as City Hall addresses work force or otherwise affordable housing.
  • Murphy maintaining that City Hall needs to press Park City Mountain Resort and the Talisker corporate family to develop the work force housing required in broader project approvals.
  • Beerman saying he wants the municipal government to continue to acquire land for conservation purposes, indicating that housing could perhaps be developed on portions of the parcels.
  • Portwood describing housing as a regional issue and one that should involve businesses like the mountain resorts as well as outside governments, such as those in Heber, Kamas and the Salt Lake Valley.
  • Gerber outlining an idea for a transit hub in the vicinity of the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Park Avenue as well as saying more convenient bus routes are needed if City Hall wants to increase ridership.
  • Worel saying there is increasing frustration when developers do not meet work force housing requirements and describing that project occupancy certificates could be linked to the completion of work force housing.