Park City maps the extraordinary growth projected in coming years
Many Parkites are watching as the Park City Film Studios and the nearby Park City Heights housing development are built just off Quinn’s Junction.
And the talks about the Bonanza Park district have been widely publicized over the years, likely leading Parkites to understand there will be major development there someday.
But locations like Brighton Estates and Bonanza Flats, and their development prospects, have only received scattered discussion in Park City over the years.
City Hall has drafted a map that details some of the larger sites with development rights attached to the land — essentially projects that leaders in the past approved in some form that remain unbuilt years or decades later. The planning process involving those projects, then, will be expected to address design and related matters rather than what can be a more contentious discussion focused on growth itself.
The map has received only limited exposure, but it provides an important overview of development that could occur over time in Park City, in the Snyderville Basin and in nearby Wasatch County. The map focuses on larger development sites instead of individual neighborhoods where additional development is anticipated on a lesser scale.
The map stretches from the Snyderville Basin to Heber, showing that growth is expected along the S.R. 224 and the S.R. 248 entryways and along U.S. 40. Development could occur at the higher elevations south of Park City to the banks of the Jordanalle Reservoir, the map shows.
"When I look, I go ‘Wow.’ There is a significant amount of growth in and around Park City," said Tim Henney, a member of the Park City Council who has been especially vocal in his concerns about the impacts of development on the city.
The map provides development numbers for the sites, some of them measured in square footage and others identified with a number of units. The map shows several projects that are already under development, such as the Park City Film Studios and Park City Heights, but many of the entries on the map have yet to break ground. The map shows communities on the East Side of Summit County, but it does not provide development numbers for them.
Some of the projects have been discussed for more than 20 years but remain largely undeveloped. It is likely many Parkites who moved to the community in the years since the development rights were secured do not have detailed knowledge of the underlying approvals.
Inside the Park City limits, some of the sites include Bonanza Park, with between approximately 4.7 million square feet and 4.8 million square feet of potential development, and Treasure, a site on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort overlooking Old Town with 413,000 square feet of possible development. In lower Deer Valley, the map identifies a potential 690,000 square feet of development. There is 692,000 square of potential projects at the base of PCMR, according to the map.
The numbers are even more dramatic outside the Park City limits, which roughly stretch from the McPolin Farm, to the upper reaches of Deer Valley, to Quinn’s Junction and to the edge of Park Meadows. The map shows upward of 5 million square feet of development rights at Canyons Resort and 1 million square feet at the Park City Tech Center at Kimball Junction. In Wasatch County, meanwhile, the map outlines the upward of 15,000 units that could be built at the Jordanelle Reservoir someday as well as another approximately 4,000 units in Heber.
Henney said he is most concerned about the growth potential in Summit County and Wasatch County since City Hall will not have as great an influence in those jurisdictions as it has inside the municipal borders. He said developments there are expected to attract year-round residents. The people will commute to Park City for jobs and head to the city for entertainment and recreation, he predicted.
‘A bit worrisome’
The Park City Planning Department created the map in 2013. City Hall at the time was in the midst of a significant revision of the municipal government’s growth blueprint, a document called the General Plan. The map predates the current round of growth discussions, but it provides a backdrop to the talks nonetheless.
John Boehm, the City Hall planner who researched and verified the development numbers on the map, said he consulted the planning departments in Summit County and Wasatch County as he drafted the map. Boehm said the projected growth could lead someday to opportunities for transit options between Park City, Summit County and Wasatch County.
"For me, it’s a bit worrisome because even if a small percentage of this growth comes into town for skiing, dinner, using Main Street, it’s going to significantly impact our traffic," Boehm said.
The rumblings led to a well-attended forum in June that provided a statistical look at the expected growth in the Park City area. Envision Utah, a not-for-profit organization crafting plans for growth in the state, was featured during the event. The organization cited growth forecasts that put the population of Park City at 17,722 in 2060, up from the 7,547 in 2010. The population of Summit County is forecast to top 100,000 by 2060, nearly triple the count in 2010. There will be nearly 100,000 people living in Wasatch County in 2060, according to the forecasts.
There are wide-ranging worries about the growth. Park City residents, as well as City Hall leaders, are especially concerned about increases in traffic. There have been complaints for years about traffic along the state highways that serve as Park City’s entryways as backups, first on S.R. 224 and later on S.R. 248, worsened. Drivers nowadays are leery about other roads like Bonanza Drive. There are also concerns the growth will worsen air pollution, stress the drinking-water system and erode the historic fabric of Park City.
"I don’t think the average citizen understands there is a tremendous amount of entitled growth," Henney said,
An attorney representing a critic of Park City’s plans to build restricted affordable housing in Old Town sent a letter urging officials to meet the same standards that would be required of a private-sector developer in the neighborhood.