Letters, Oct. 3-6: Park City needs stricter regulations to preserve our dark sky
Keep our skies dark
I am very grateful that the Park City Council is reviewing our dark sky regulations! As Park City continues to build more homes and developments, protecting our amazing night sky, filled with stars, will be increasingly challenging. Also it is important to protect it for our deer, moose and other wildlife.
I believe our dark sky regulations need to include not just regulations for outdoor lighting but also regulations for indoor lights shining out from houses, especially on our ridgelines.
I have been a part of coastal Florida developing and enforcing “turtle friendly“ outdoor and indoor lighting regulations to keep nesting turtles and their hatchlings safe from hotel and condo lights that cause them to head for the roads instead of the ocean. (Darker, moonlit skies have also benefited tourists and residents near the ocean.)
Earlier this week, the City held a Zoom meeting about 955 Saddle View Way’s construction and how to resolve it being above the ridgeline at Finnigan’s Bluff. Today an excavator is clearing land to extend the footprint of this house. Although this will be lower than the third-floor extension — which will be removed, any windows in the extension will add to the house being highly visible at night from Holiday Ranch Loop Road and S.R. 224 as people enter Park City. All houses built along the ridges should be required to remediate and tint windows. If this isn’t part of the regulations, a house such as 955 — at the very top of a ridgeline — will be a beacon disturbing the dark sky for everyone in all directions. Further negotiations with the owners of 955 should include remediation and tinting of their upcoming windows.
For the sake of our wildlife, our residents and visitors, please don’t let this happen!
I’ve not previously commented about the school board since leaving it, but this race matters. I’ve had the chance to interact with Thomas Cooke, and there’s a reason that many of the town’s wisest and most informed leaders are coming out in public support of his write-in candidacy. I now wholeheartedly add my name to the large, growing list of people endorsing Thomas Cooke for Park City Board of Education District 2.
Thomas has a long track record of community service in Park City. As a current Summit County planning commissioner, he has successfully overseen large-dollar, high-impact, long-term projects. Thomas brings the style of teamwork and communication that can build sense of mission and purpose for PCSD, helping the district break through to that elusive next level of excellence.
By contrast, incumbent Andrew Caplan is a failed leader, with a track record of not listening to constituents and raising taxes — it’s time to send him packing. On Andrew’s watch the district budget has ballooned over 30%. Now, with expenditures greater than revenue, not only has the fund balance been depleted, but Parkites have been hit with increases in taxes — and this is before a bond has even been proposed.
This important role needs leadership who can take the pulse of the public and generate broad-based community support. Help PCSD’s great teachers deliver the best student outcomes for the most students — write in Thomas Cooke on Nov. 3.
Philip N. Kaplan
Former Park City Board of Education member
Just say no
I am writing to voice my opposition to the Highland Flats development proposal and zoning change that would be needed to do it. I have lived in Park City for 34 years this week, 29 of those years in Highland Estates. When we bought our home and settled here, we purchased a house in a residential neighborhood and we expected it to stay that way. In 29 years, we and many other neighbors have raised our children here, renovated our homes, planted gardens, savored our neighborhood trails, lobbied for the development of the terrific bike path along Highland Drive, cleaned up our neighborhood and invested time, care and energy into keeping Highland Estates the close community it’s always been. Sure, sitting at the intersection of Highway 40 and Interstate 80, we’re not the high-rent district of Park City, but we are proud of our long-time, grassroots, close-knit community of wonderful, hard-working neighbors who continually appreciate and try to improve and beautify our little corner of the county. How could it possibly be fair to change the zoning in Highland Estates to allow community commercial development for the personal profit of a developer (promising some low-income housing is not going to undo the harm of this development overall, sorry) when the rest of this neighborhood has counted on it staying rural residential? The overwhelming impact of Highland Flats’ traffic, noise, water use, construction mess for years and pressure on school capacity would simply be untenable and, frankly, an assault on our neighborhood. Every inch of space in the county does not need to be developed. It’s okay to JUST SAY NO. Summit County Planning Department, please do right by those of us who have lived here in this residential neighborhood for decades and do not allow approval of this zoning change and new development in Highland Estates. Thank you very much for your consideration. For those who would also like to write the county and weigh in on this proposal, please email your thoughts to Planning Director Pat Putt (email@example.com) or planner Amir Caus (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kristen Gould Case
Nothing silly about RAP tax
As executive director of the Park Silly Sunday Market and a recipient of the RAP Cultural Tax Grant, I encourage Summit County residents to vote “yes” on Proposition 21 to maintain the RAP tax.
Over the past 14 years, the Park Silly Sunday Market has been able to provide free music to its 13,000 to 15,000 weekly attendees. Drawing Summit County residents as well as out of town guests into our local businesses and supporting our local economy.
In addition, the grant has enabled Park Silly to offer hundreds of free market booth spaces to local and youth artists to sell their wares. A great number of our vendors have gone on to become brick-and-mortar businesses throughout the county.
The benefits Park Silly Sunday Market is able to provide our vendors, artists and guests would not be possible without the Rap tax funding. Please vote “Yes” on Proposition 21 in support of reauthorizing the RAP tax, an important source of funding to not only the Park Silly Sunday Market but many other nonprofit organizations in Summit County.
Park Silly Sunday Market executive director
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In a guest editorial, Summit County Manager Tom Fisher and Health Director Richard Bullough say the county is quickly using every coronavirus vaccine it receives. But for now, the number of people eligible for inoculation is greater than the number of doses the county is receiving.