Worker housing dispute nears an end
City Hall staffers have asked the Park City Council to consider supporting a lower panel’s approval of a city work force housing development at Snow Creek, a crucial move as the elected officials prepare to listen to neighbors who have challenged the project.
In a report to Mayor Dana Williams and the City Council, Katie Cattan, the City Hall planner assigned to the project, presents an analysis in support of the development, which has been dubbed the Snow Creek Cottages. Cattan has distributed to the elected officials a set of findings and legal conclusions that back her side.
The city’s Planning Commission approved the development, but the neighbors then appealed the approval to the City Council in a rarely used procedural move. The City Council can side with the lower panel or overturn the Planning Commission approval.
The City Council is expected to reject the appeal from the neighbors. The elected officials have previously endorsed the project and directed City Hall staffers to seek the necessary approvals.
Mayor Dana Williams on Tuesday declined to discuss the situation.
The City Council is scheduled to hear the appeal at a Thursday meeting starting at 6 p.m. in Room 205 of the Park City Library and Education Center. Planning Department staffers, the neighbors who appealed and City Hall officials assigned to work force housing are scheduled to address the City Council.
The Planning Commission approval allows City Hall to build 13 houses on eight acres of land at 2060 Park Ave. The land is directly east of the police station on Park Avenue, and most of the acreage would remain as open space under the development plan.
The neighbors who appealed, though, are disappointed, saying the land is best kept as open space. Their appeal lists points such as City Hall’s did not properly study the project’s effects on wildlife habitat and nearby waterways and that the buildings will be too tall.
"We just want to make sure they’re not skipping any steps along the way," said Lori Clark, who is the president of the homeowners association at the adjacent Windrift condominiums and is one of eight people listed on the appeal.
Clark claims City Hall staffers did not adhere to the local government’s development rules, says the development will be costly to build and describes the 13 houses as being a "drop in the bucket" when compared to the number of work force units needed in Park City.
Clark, who planned to be out of the country on Thursday, said she expected a solid turnout from Windrift, the Saddle View condominiums and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Howard Anderson, who leads the homeowners association at Saddle View and is also listed on the appeal, charged City Hall and the Planning Commission "bent the rules" of development. He said the buildings would be taller than they should be allowed.
Anderson acknowledged the project would provide workers housing, but he said City Hall improperly won the approval.
"This is about following the rules. It’s not about the project," he said, adding, "I think they ought to follow the rules exactly."
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.