Summit County receives application for employee housing at Canyons Village
When the first lifties move into a proposed Canyons Village workforce housing project – as early as the fall of 2022 – there’s a good chance some of them will have been born after the agreement that called for employee housing in the area was signed in 1999.
That deal has been reworked multiple times in the intervening years, and it now requires the Canyons Village Management Association to house 1,107 employees on-site and to complete the project by the end of 2023.
Earlier this month, the association submitted an application to Summit County for a seven-building complex that can sleep 1,153 occupants in shared living spaces across 169 units. It would sit on a 7.5-acre parcel where Lower Village Road intersects White Pine Canyon Road, tucked west of S.R. 224 near the main entrance to Canyons Village.
The proposal calls for furnished bedrooms and common areas to create the kind of place an employee who works in Canyons Village can arrive and start work the next day, said Brian Madacsi, executive director of Canyons Village Management Association.
The site would connect to the area’s trail system and has easy bus access at the adjacent transit center, one of the benefits of its location.
“The idea (is) that you can literally walk across the parking lot and be in Kimball Junction in three minutes (or) head to Park City,” Madacsi said.
He said the location at the base area means employees could have a 5-minute commute rather than having to carpool or bus in from miles away. That helps employee morale, he said, as does living in an affordable place for moderate-income employees who might be making $15 per hour.
The units would be reserved for those making below 80% of the county’s annual median income. In 2017, the income cap for a single person was roughly $58,000, according to the housing agreement. First preference would be given to people who work in Canyons Village full-time, with part-time employees next in line and a system that steps down until other county residents are eligible.
This includes resort employees, but also those who work at base-area hotels and businesses. Madacsi estimated the number of seasonal employees at around 2,000 annually, with projections indicating there will be around 5,000 at full build-out, which he estimated to be years down the road.
While designing the plan, the association toured several college campuses, Madacsi said, but the proposed housing doesn’t resemble a dorm from 25-30 years ago. Instead, it would feature what he called a “pod system” with common areas and kitchens and separate, locked-off bedrooms. There would also be communal gathering spaces and bike and ski storage.
The plan has yet to come before the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission. Madacsi is optimistic it will pass muster and the organization can start pulling building permits in the spring.
The goal is to have the first employees start moving in during the early summer of 2022, with 50% occupancy in time for the 2022-2023 winter season.
Canyons Village Management Association has partnered with Columbus Pacific to develop the project. That’s the same firm that’s behind the Pendry Hotel and Apex Park City Residences at Canyons Village.
Plans also call for townhomes for mid-level managers, an adjacent commercial site envisioned as a grocery store or other support business, a site for a future building big enough to house hundreds more workers and a shuttle service to carry employees around the Canyons Village area.
Parking requirements are based on the number of units, and plans call for 145 parking spots, or roughly one for every eight residents. There are 789 bedrooms, meaning many would be shared.
The original development agreement was signed 20 years ago and negotiated under the county’s Specially Planned Area process. County staffers have described that process as relying more on negotiation than the proposed Master Planned Development process. One key of the proposed process is it places emphasis on community benefits like transit connectivity and affordable housing from the beginning of the approval process, staffers have said.
The 1999 plan required the organization now called Canyons Village Management Association to release updated workforce housing numbers when the development was 25 percent built out. Those numbers were released in 2016.
One-third of the housing was required to be complete by the time the development was one-third built out. Madacsi said Canyons Village hit 31 percent build-out just recently. He characterized the new agreement, which was signed last year, as front-loading the employee housing obligation.
That agreement also called for green building standards, housing for more than 1,100 employees, deed restrictions and transit connections, among other provisions.
The land the project would be built on is owned by Summit County and would be leased to the association for 20 years, at which point the association would take ownership. It will pay taxes on the improvements.
Madacsi called the application “a huge milestone for the (association).”
“It’s been a long time in the making — a lot of work has gone into this,” he said. “We’re excited, we couldn’t be happier it’s occurring, especially on the location.”
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As Deer Valley Resort starts what is expected to be a closely watched City Hall process regarding a major development proposal at Snow Park, the resort has outlined a set of principles that will guide the project. It seems likely many in the community would embrace at least the overarching ideals.