Veteran of Park City planning circles assumes key role at Marsac Building
A Park City Planning Commission meeting veteran was in attendance as the panel met on Wednesday.
But Bruce Erickson, who served 16 consecutive years as a Planning Commissioner, ending in 2005, was in an unfamiliar role at the Marsac Building. Erickson on Tuesday began his service as City Hall’s interim planning director.
Park City leaders hope Erickson provides stable leadership as a permanent community development director is recruited following the March departure of Thomas Eddington as the planning director. Kayla Sintz, the planning manager and de facto No. 2 person in the department, left this week as she prepares to move from Park City.
Erickson, who is 63 years old, lives in Park Meadows and has lived in Park City since 1983. He has been a professional planner since 1985. His firm, called Four MTN Advisors, specializes in designing mountain resorts.
The firm is not related to Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts, which is traded on the stock market under a ticker symbol of MTN. Erickson, however, was a consultant as Vail Resorts secured the necessary permits to build the Interconnect Gondola that will link PCMR and Canyons Resort into a single property as well as the permits for other lift upgrades at the resort. Erickson said he will remove himself from any matters related to PCMR that come before the Planning Department.
He was a member of the Planning Commission during a period of extraordinary development in Park City. Erickson, who served three terms as chairman of the panel, was involved as a Planning Commissioner in numerous high-profile development disputes that defined the era.
Erickson anticipates serving in the interim role until at least Oct. 15. An agreement between City Hall and Erickson can be extended beyond that date, depending on the recruitment of a permanent community development director. Erickson said he does not intend to submit his name as a candidate for the community development director position.
"This is a high-performing department. What needs to happen is we need to get a little more focused on some of the more important matters," Erickson said, mentioning a dispute about a project at 205 Main St. and the future of the Bonanza Park district.
He said he wants to "take some of the angst" out of planning and zoning discussions. He is "all about simplifying and clarifying," Erickson said.
The Planning Department is busy as Park City continues a strong exit from the recession. The department in coming months is expected to move between applications for individual projects and broader discussions about growth.
Erickson predicted the Planning Department during is interim tenure will address issues at the Park City Film Studios site, such as landscaping, fencing and recommendations regarding business licenses within the project. The department will also have a key role in City Hall’s discussions about a patchwork of municipal properties along the lower Park Avenue corridor, he said, describing that the department will weigh ideas for the properties against Park City’s growth documents.
Erickson also said the department is considering a tweak to the rules along Main Street meant to ensure street-level space is occupied by shops, restaurants and other businesses attractive to pedestrians rather than offices. The dispute at 205 Main St. was based on the rules. Erickson wants the rules clarified.
"My goal is to be the designated spear catcher, which means if there’s a problem, I’m here to help out," Erickson said.
A critic of a Park City workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town said he is considering an appeal of the Park City Planning Commission’s approval of the development.