Park City’s disputed housing project seen as ‘ideal’ or a ‘dichotomy’
Steve Pettise and Megan McKenna were two of the people at the Park City Library on Monday evening learning about City Hall’s plans to develop a second phase of workforce or otherwise affordable housing in Woodside Park on the northern edge of Old Town.
Pettise and McKenna attended a City Hall-organized open house designed to explain the municipal project, one of the most ambitious in Old Town in years. The proposal has drawn support and criticism as an important Park City Planning Commission meeting about the project, scheduled on Wednesday, approached.
The opinions of Pettise and McKenna, outlined in interviews at the open house, are indicative of the broader debate about the project. The supporters see the project as something that continues City Hall’s aggressive housing programs, which are designed to offer opportunities to a broad segment of the community, while critics worry about a development as large as the second phase of Woodside Park in tightly packed Old Town.
McKenna, a teacher at Park City High School who lives in Prospector, said she plans to submit an application for a unit in the second phase of Woodside Park if she does not secure a unit in the first phase. She praises the location in Old Town as a spot where someone can walk to Main Street, the Park City Library and Park City Mountain Resort.
“It would be ideal. Prospector’s probably ideal, too, but I live in a basement apartment right now,” McKenna said.
She said the location is the “heart of the town” and she would like to live in a place where she could move about without the use of a personal automobile.
“As a teacher, I want to live in the community I work in. … I want to be part of my community,” McKenna said.
She said acquiring a unit in Woodside Park would provide “long-term security for me.”
“My future in Park City is up in the air,” she said, adding, “I don’t think I’d be here if affordable housing wasn’t on the table.”
Pettise, who lives in Park Meadows, questioned the planned location for the second phase of Woodside Park, meanwhile, pointing to the real estate prices in sought-after Old Town. He said, though, he supports the overarching ideals behind City Hall’s housing programs.
“We’re putting in significant density into an area that has high-value properties,” Pettise said.
He also questioned the number of units City Hall proposes in the development. Pettise said City Hall acquired the Treasure land in a $64 million conservation deal in an effort to reduce development in Old Town but follows that move with a substantial project in the neighborhood.
“It seems like a little bit of a dichotomy,” he said about the designs for a second phase of Woodside Park.
The open house drew approximately 40 people and was the first of two important events during the week regarding the second phase of Woodside Park. The Park City Planning Commission on Wednesday is scheduled to address the project. Hearings and possible votes are slated on Wednesday for three items related to the project.
The open house provided an opportunity for people to talk to City Hall staffers shepherding the project through the Planning Commission process and study a model and other visuals.
The proposal entails 58 units in a mix of townhouses and condominiums. The land stretches through the 1300 blocks of Empire Avenue, Woodside Avenue and Norfolk Avenue. Park City leaders intend to price the bulk of the units at levels that are considered to be affordable or attainable. Market rates would be attached to five of the units, and the sales of the market-rate units would raise funds for the construction of the overall project.
The second phase of Woodside Park is an important project as City Hall continues to pursue a goal of adding 800 units to the workforce or otherwise affordable stock by the end of 2026. Leaders outline what they see as benefits of the housing program, which is designed for people otherwise priced out of Park City’s resort-driven real estate market. The housing reduces commuter traffic and advances socioeconomic diversity, supporters say. City Hall has long pursued workforce or otherwise affordable housing, but the current efforts are especially aggressive.
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Arlene Loble served as the Park City manager in the 1980s, a pivotal period that prepared the community for the boom years that would follow in the 1990s. Loble, who recently died, is credited with introducing a level of professionalism to the municipal government that was needed amid the growth challenges.