Guest Editorial: Park City and Summit County making progress on affordable housing
February 25, 2014
Mountainlands Community Housing Trust (MCHT) would like to thank Amy Roberts for her recent column highlighting the difficulty that middle-income families encounter when looking for housing within the Park City community. As affordable housing advocates we know the cost of living here is high and can become a barrier for families looking to put down roots in the area. Every day our organization; as well as Park City Municipal, Summit County, and Habitat for Humanity, work with low- and middle-income families to find housing solutions that allow them to remain in our community. We do this because we recognize the importance of having the local workforce live in the community where they work.
I would like to take this opportunity to expand on Roberts’ points and lay to rest the old myth that "no one wants affordable housing near them."
There are over 150 affordable ownership and nearly 600 affordable rentals spread throughout Summit County. These homes are well maintained and have no impact on surrounding home prices since the recorded deed restrictions limiting sales prices or land trusts (legal documents placed on the home to preserve the affordability) make them non-comparable to nearby market rate homes. However; just pointing to the fact that affordable homes do not drive down the values of their market rate neighbors still falls short of telling the whole story of affordable housing in a community like Park City.
The value of low- and moderate-income families within a community are incalculable. The families served by MCHT contribute diversity, vitality and character to our community. Some of our most successful community members have lived (or still live) in affordable housing and some of the biggest contributors to our local economy have started off as low or moderate income. Our community is stronger because of the contributions of these individuals and they deserve to live here.
Roberts’ column questions what the Park City Mayor and Council will do the resolve the affordability problem. It’s important to point out that Park City Municipal and Summit County should be commended for the work they have already done to ensure affordable housing is a part of all development discussions. Land Management Codes in Park City and Snyderville Basin require affordable housing for all commercial and residential developments which has resulted in the approved construction of several hundred new affordable homes over the next few years as well as nearly 1,100 market-rate units that will not be deed restricted but priced for middle-income families. This "inclusionary zoning" is a testament to the dedication to affordable housing at both the city and county levels.
Overall affordable housing is still an issue for low and moderate income families in Park City and Summit County but great strides have been taken to address this issue. It is up to all of us to continue making it a priority for our local lawmakers because the diversity and character of our community depends on it.
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For more information on affordable housing options in Park City and Summit County please visit http://www.housinghelp.org or call MCHT at: 435-647-9719.