Park City panel contenders broach housing, tourism, traffic | ParkRecord.com

Park City panel contenders broach housing, tourism, traffic

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The Snow Creek Cottages, located just off Park Avenue close to the Park City police station, was an ambitious City Hall housing project. Work force and otherwise affordable housing has long been a critical issue in Park City. Several Park City Planning Commission candidates mentioned housing in their applications for a partial term on the panel. Jake Shane/Park Record

Park City leaders are preparing to appoint someone to serve a partial term on the Planning Commission, an influential panel that has wide responsibilities in growth and development matters.

The opening is a result of Nann Worel’s election to the Park City Council. She stepped down from the Planning Commission and was sworn into office as a City Councilor in early January. The person who is selected will serve the remaining time of Worel’s Planning Commission term, which ends in July. The person would need to apply for a four-year term at that point to remain on the Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission has long been seen as ranking second in importance among City Hall’s boards and commissions, trailing only the City Council. The Planning Commission has wide-ranging duties in approving development proposals and plays a key role in crafting City Hall’s detailed development rules and the municipal government’s growth blueprint. There has been a series of Planning Commissioners who went on to win elected office in Park City, the same step taken by Worel.

The City Council selects members of the Planning Commission. The elected officials started interviewing the candidates late in the week and are scheduled to continue the interviews next week. It is not known when an appointment will be announced.

City Hall released the applications in response to a Park Record request under state open-records laws. Officials redacted the candidates’ address. Planning Commissioners, though, must live within the Park City limits.

Highlights of the applications for the partial term include:

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  • John Schloderer has lived in Park City for five years and once was involved with a wetlands planning and preservation committee in Connecticut. He is semi-retired and has a geologist background. Some of the issues he sees as being important to Park City include traffic, a lack of parking and affordable housing. He mentions the future of Bonanza Park, the Treasure development proposal and affordable housing in the application.

    "I support the development plans for Bonanza Park emphasizing affordable rental units for low to moderate income workers and families but restrictions on single family homes and nightly rentals," he says in the application, describing that there should be a trolley connecting Bonanza Park and Main Street.

    He says talks need to restart about the Treasure development proposal and says Treasure would impact the traffic situation in Old Town.

    "There is a need again to look into the potential of a land swap for development on another location. Vail Resorts with their current land position can play a role here in potentially providing options for development on another location that is not so close to the Historic Main Street area," Schloderer says.

  • Jeremy Atkinson has lived in Park City for three years and says he has applied for planning positions at City Hall before. He says he has spent five years working in architecture and municipal planning. He has knowledge of issues like Bonanza Park and the Mountain Accord, Atkinson says in the application.

    Issues of importance to Atkinson include housing, transportation and zoning.

    "Building housing within the city has become extraordinarily difficult, forcing development out into the county and onto undeveloped lands. Coupled with our high number of second homes, the livability of our town suffers. We need to allow more housing in our city limits that is compact + walkable," Atkinson says.

    He says Park City’s layout "all but compels people to drive in order to meet their needs." That has led to traffic issues, he says.

    "Park City needs a transit system that allows any resident to get anywhere in town by transit with good frequency," Atkinson says, adding that the Snyderville Basin also needs to be included.

    Atkinson says he wants City Hall’s zoning rules to "make it easy to create a close-knit, walkable and vibrant community."

  • John Kenworthy has lived in Park City for 11 years, is a past chairman of City Hall’s Old Town panel, called the Historic Preservation Board, and has served on other municipal panels. He says engaging Parkites from a range of socioeconomic levels provides insight and is important for trust between a government and citizens.

    Issues of importance to Kenworthy include housing, the related topics of transportation and parking and historic preservation.

    "Critical to the vibrancy of our city is diversity. Without housing priced at all economic levels this vibrancy will be diminished," Kenworthy says, describing the possibility of incentives that would allow a developer to make a profit while building housing for low and middle incomes.

    "Perhaps our General Plan has had unintended ill effects by pushing developers into building million dollar projects rather than lower income housing options," Kenworthy says.

    Kenworthy says in the application historic preservation is important and more can be done in Park City. He says there should be "greater oversight" in new developments within the historic district and preservation incentives offered to the owners of land where remnants of Park City’s silver-mining days are located.

  • Karen West-Ellis has lived in Park City for 3 ½ years, is a native of northern Utah and has a background as a nurse practitioner. She first visited Park City in 1974. She wants the Planning Commission to "maintain sensible growth of the community and the economy" of the city and to "continue the standard of living Park City residents expect."

    Issues West-Ellis sees as important include tourism, parking and traffic. She describes tourism as a "major industry."

    "The tourists need to be kept happy so they will spend their money. But residents must be kept happy so (they) won’t avoid Main Street," she says.

    West-Ellis says traffic is bad in the winter and, perhaps, Park City can convert a center lane for inbound or outbound traffic depending on the time of day. She addresses the related topics of parking and transportation in the application, saying people in the West expect to drive.

    "Something needs to happen to change the attitude of needing my car for transportation around town to one of wanting to use mass transit," she says.

  • Laura Suesser has lived in Park City for eight years and is an attorney who has dealt with real estate and development matters. She unsuccessfully sought a spot on the Planning Commission a decade ago, according to the application.

    Suesser sees traffic, pedestrian routes and leash rules for dogs as important.

    Suesser says solutions need to be found for traffic on the entryways. She outlines an idea to use a satellite parking lot along the S.R. 248 entryway, to promote buses and have resorts and hotels "more directly" assist in traffic issues.

    She says creating more connections for bicyclists and pedestrians would cut traffic, promote a healthy lifestyle and cut emissions.

    Suesser, meanwhile, discusses dog issues in the application.

    "While not necessarily a Planning Commission issue, dogs are definitely of prime importance to the people of this City," she says.

    The application mentions the possibility of an odd-even day arrangement involving dogs for unspecified areas and trails "so that people are not completely restricted from enjoying certain areas/trails with the company of their dog." She says fines should be imposed on people who violate rules.

  • Morgan Irvin has lived in Park City for less than a year after living in Kimball Junction and has a background in the banking industry. The application does not mention that Irvin in 2015 filed paperwork at City Hall to campaign for the City Council but withdrew the candidacy since she did not live inside the Park City limits.

    Irvin says issues of importance to the Planning Commission include what she describes as a "lack of affordable housing," retaining Park City as a small town amid the development and reviewing Park City’s General Plan, an important growth document.

    She says there is limited housing for the work force and others seeking affordable alternatives. The issue "needs attention in order to continue attracting a workforce that keeps Park City running."

    Irvin says a review of the General Plan could include topics like cleaner-burning energy and conserving water. Issues "need to be re-planned due to the towns expansion in recent years."

    "Rapid expansion and overdevelopment can be detrimental + irreversible. The town must be planned with the utmost care + consideration," Irvin also says.

  • Robert Dillon has lived in Park City for 21 years and has practiced real estate law for 21 years in and around Park City. He says he has practiced law in the commercial real estate field for 45 years and has served on an advisory board of the Peace House shelter.

    Issues that Dillon sees as important include affordable housing, the related topics of transportation and parking as well as conference, meeting and exhibition facilities.

    He briefly addresses affordable housing, saying "we need more in the city limits as soon as possible." Dillon says there needs to be "adequate" public-transit options and a new design for roads. They are needed "to accommodate local and tourist traffic for our city as a livable world-class resort community," he says.

    Dillon, meanwhile, says conference, meeting and exhibition facilities could "help generate all-year use of existing & future lodging resources."