Guest editorial: Promontory inaccurately portrayed in affordable housing discussions | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial: Promontory inaccurately portrayed in affordable housing discussions

F. Francis Najafi
CEO of Pivotal Group, the developer of Promontory and South Point

As the developer of the two separate communities, Promontory and South Point, I would like to address false claims from the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission that were reported in The Park Record's May 23rd article titled, "Planning Panel Focuses on Promontory's Workforce Housing Obligation." The story centers around the introductory statement, "Members of the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission are accusing Promontory Development of avoiding its obligation to provide income-restricted housing for more than 15 years." This inflammatory accusation is legally false, and I would like to correct this revisionist history.

Employee housing in the Promontory Specially Planned Area was always permitted to be located in South Point under the terms of the original development agreement, which was formally amended by Summit County in 2007 to identify a specific location for that housing in South Point. In 2016, the County and my company, Pivotal Group, reaffirmed the location of the affordable housing in South Point, which was simultaneously established as a legally separate development agreement and separate developer. As a result, Promontory's previous employee housing obligation was formally transferred to the South Point development, according to the terms outlined in the development agreement with Summit County. These inaccurate statements by the Planning Commissioners; therefore, are beyond comprehension.

As part of the re-thinking of South Point, we proposed a "socially equitable" solution to build a village concept featuring the employee housing units integrated with other affordable and attainable housing in close proximity to retail, schools, recreation, and public transportation. The Eastern Summit County Planning Commission denied this proposal that was to yield not only the 35 transferred employee housing units, but an increased total of 60. Following its denial, the Planning Commission apparently has ignored its development agreement, inexplicably demanding that Promontory re-assume the obligations that were transferred to South Point.

Promontory has always lived up to the obligations under its Development Agreement and has gone above and beyond to be a friendly, generous member of the greater Park City community. Since 2001, we have generated a substantial economic impact to Summit County, including $2 billion in construction projects, $90 million in property tax revenue, $340,000 for affordable housing, $1.2 million in grants to local non-profits, $3 million-plus in agriculture protection fees, $84 million in employee wages — plus an additional $84 million in real estate commissions. We have adapted to the winds of change with Summit County officials who sometimes were proponents of employee housing and at other times opponents.

The May 23rd article inaccurately states that Promontory will be built out in three years — while that would be a dream scenario for any developer of a community our size, we are, in fact, just past the halfway mark of sell out. Consequently, Promontory's economic contributions will only continue to increase over the years.

The 35 units of employee housing in South Point are a small fraction of the overall housing concerns of Summit County. This issue will not be resolved until residents and government can creatively and successfully balance the high desire for open space with the County's critical and growing need for affordable and attainable housing.

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It's unfortunate that the Planning Commissioners have chosen to paint Promontory as a villain while the development has been widely recognized as a steward of the community. We respectfully request that the Commission productively partner with us in being forward thinking to arrive at solutions that address employee/affordable housing needs instead of being antagonistic toward a developer who has already contributed so much and proposed innovative approaches.