Amy Roberts: Strategy and execution |

Amy Roberts: Strategy and execution

In my “big girl” job, I’ve got a fancy title at a New York-based public relations agency. We talk a lot about communication strategy and execution. When I say “a lot” what I really mean is strategy and execution are essentially all I talk about for roughly 40 hours each week. I once read that on average, women speak about 20,000 words each day. If that’s true, I suspect my breakdown looks something like this: 5,000 general words, 5,000 swear words and 10,000 words that vary between strategy, strategic, strategize, execute, executing and execution.

Park Record columnist Amy Roberts.

Despite how often they’re grouped together, strategy and execution are not interchangeable. One is planning, the other is doing. In my field of work, the general rule of thumb is that strategy is rewarded while execution is worshipped. In other words, it’s important to have a plan, but implementation is absolutely essential for success.

Which is why I’m now a bit skeptical of the city’s proposed lite deed restriction pilot program.

A few months ago, when city leaders first began toying with the idea, it sounded like a good strategy. The idea was a new solution to our affordable housing — or, more accurately, the lack of it — problem. The issue is certainly not new — affordable housing has been the platform of numerous campaigns for those running for council seats, as well as mayor. We have multiple nonprofits dedicated to the issue, and there’s an entire city department staffed with people who are committed to doing something to fix it, or at least preventing it from getting worse.

But despite all the talk and the attempts at creative problem solving, affordable housing is a larger problem now than it was when we first added it to the conversation of local problems to throw money at decades ago. For the most part, our affordable housing strategy has been to acquire and require — acquire as much land as possible and build deed-restricted units here and there and also require developers to ensure a certain number of units are set aside for workforce housing. While the effort has been virtuous, it hasn’t exactly been victorious. For starters, no one is making any more land. So that’s a bummer when you need a building site. We’ve also seen a philosophical shift. For many, homeownership isn’t nearly as important as freedom and flexibility. Fewer young people want to be tethered to a location — or a mortgage. And affordability in this town is subjective, if not comical.

Given all this, a new idea was introduced over the summer which was meant to incentivize homeowners and ensure whoever is occupying their home does so for at least six months in a row. In return for opting in and nixing short-term rentals from their real estate portfolio, homeowners would receive a portion of their property’s value, roughly 15-20%. There’d also be a permanent deed restriction on the property, meaning the next owners have to follow suit.

In theory, this strategy sounded quite good. Long-term rentals or owner-occupied homes would be rewarded, reducing the number of nightly rentals and giving our workforce a realistic chance at living within city limits, which in turn helps with our traffic concerns, labor shortage and ultimately ensuring there’s no need to change the town’s name to Airbnb Ville. But when it comes to the execution side of the program, well, it’s hardly flawless.

It was recently announced the pilot program would target homes in the “$750,000 or below” range. Which makes you wonder if anyone at City Hall is familiar with Zillow. At the moment, in Park City limits, there are exactly two properties on the market under $750,000. Both are studio condos and combined, they boast less than 900 square feet. Unless we’re executing this strategy in Panguitch, it seems doomed to fail.

It would be far better to properly fund this strategy rather than poorly execute it.

Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.

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