Canyons Village Management Association reveals plans to house around 900 employees
Proposes constructing 50 percent of the units by 2019
On Wednesday, the Canyons Village Management Association revealed plans to provide workforce housing for up to 907 employees at Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort by 2021.
Brian Madacsi, executive director of the management association, told the Summit County Council they are now offering to house between 821 and 907 employees to fulfill the housing requirement under the original approval of the Specially Planned Area for Canyons from 1999.
“We are thinking we can have 50 percent done in 2019 and have the rest done by 2021,” Madacsi said. “Under the current obligation, workforce housing is not required to be completed until the SPA is fully developed which may not occur until 2035 or later.”
In October, the Canyons Village Management Association released an updated analysis to the County Council about what the resort’s housing need would be once it is fully developed. The analysis was triggered when 25 percent of the resort’s approved development had been built. According to the 2016 report, housing for 507 employees, or about 293 seasonal and 213 year-round, would be needed when Canyons Village is complete. However, the management association intended to provide housing for more than 700 employees.
At the time, County Council members were concerned with the metrics used in the analysis and referred to the report as “flawed” and urged further study. Under the management association’s new approach, between 821 and 907 employees would be housed. The plan proposes building 100 percent of the housing within the development boundaries.
“What we are proposing under this new approach, I believe, is fair. It exceeds our obligation and will be constructed on an accelerated timeline,” he said.
The master developer of the Canyons Village, TCFC Finance Co., the development company that owns the land on which Vail Resorts operates its ski area, has been working on plans to reconfigure more than 2.3 million square feet of space within the village. The new master plan could reduce the commercial density in the Red Pine Village and resort core, which could reduce the housing requirement. The master plan has not yet been approved.
As part of the amended agreement, TCFC is requesting to increase the height allowance in the lower village to accommodate four-story buildings for the workforce housing.
“We understand, based on changes in density and based on employee counts, that could change,” Madacsi said. “But, we are looking to say that the 907 would satisfy our housing requirement and our obligation per the development agreement would be completed.”
After Wednesday’s lengthy discussion, council members are still reticent to accept the management association’s housing commitment.
County Council member Roger Armstrong questioned whether the 20 percent threshold is appropriate if the housing deficit is 25 percent.
“What troubles me the most is that we think our obligation is based on the 1999 report,” Armstrong said. “We like that you are willing to stretch and do something more than that. I just can’t make sense of what the obligation is. If it is 2,500, for example, and you are willing to do 800, then that’s not OK.”
Dave Thomas, Summit County’s chief civil deputy attorney, said the county was “just beginning to venture” into affordable housing when the original agreement was made in 1999.
“In 1999 we didn’t know what the right number was and, as a result, we were basing everything on that report and it was somewhat flawed,” Thomas said.
When the County Council asked his thoughts on the management association’s analysis, Scott Loomis, executive director of the Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, said from the audience he was just as confused as they were.
“I feel like I’m looking at apples, oranges, bananas and strawberries,” Loomis said. “I think they are on a right track, but let’s try and come up with a clearer number. Doing it on site makes sense, but when I look at these numbers I get confused.”
County Council member Chris Robinson, said he supports the management association’s desire to build more than what is required under the obligation. However, he cautioned, “We know that this would mean you are done.
“That makes us want to make sure we look at it a second and third time and double check ourselves to make sure we are falling in line with the intent. We want to study the reports more and determine whether we think it is efficient,” Robinson. “We are not trying to look the gift horse in the mouth, but we are afraid this would be the only horse you see.”
To view the new housing need analysis, go to http://summitcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/4702 .
Although current statewide reservoir levels are nearly the same as last year, they continue to drop. Reservoir storage statewide is around 43%, compared to 48% in early September. Thirty-five of the state’s 47 reservoirs are below 55% available capacity.
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