Guest opinion: Lack of forward thinking cannot continue in Park City area
How do we move the Park City and the communities of western Summit County from looking at development proposals on a one-off basis to looking at where we want the community to be in 10, 20, 50 years? Having lived in Park City for 14 years, there has been a non-stop cavalcade of discussions, meetings, hearings and editorials about the pros and cons of this or that development. Be it Treasure Mountain or Woodbrook, and now it is Richardson Flats and the base of Park City Mountain Resort. Again, each time, it is as if each development is to be discussed and adjudicated in a vacuum.
This community cannot continue to operate this way. The various planning commissions cannot continue to operate this way. Not the Summit County, Park City or Snyderville Basin planning committees. Do we need to spell out the dangers here:
1. Water: There are no new sources of water on the horizon, and in fact the droughts we are facing and the development we have had heretofore already have put the community in an unsustainable position. We do not have enough water to provide what has already been assigned or sold. Unless someone has a roadmap to tap into the Columbia River, we must pause to reflect.
2. Roads and traffic: It’s not enough to just say “gee, it’s getting bad.” How do we continue to approve development without a solution to a problem that just gets worse and worse? We are not addressing the current situation appropriately, so why would we continue with unbridled development and no plan?
3. Schools: I think the Park City Board of Education wants $100 million or so just to catch up with where they need to be on facilities. What is the next number in five or 10 years if development continues unplanned for?
4. Lastly, and selfishly, is quality of life: Again, what do we want this community to look like, to feel like, to be like in 10 or 20 or 50 years?
I remember being amazed while in Osaka, Japan, on business in 1993. As an important customer of the Matsushita Corp. (now Panasonic), I was given an opportunity to meet their 100-year planning committee. Imagine the notion. No, they were not looking at specifics of businesses or technologies. It was more where is the world heading directionally and how should Matsushita look and prepare and plan. Generalities, not specifics. But attention nonetheless.
We don’t seem to be able to connect the dots of today’s single development discussion with our short- to mid-term horizon. Our failure here is a complete abdication of responsibility, and worse, a willing acceptance of insurmountable problems for the residents, the taxpayers of the area. We must change the paradigm!
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“History buffs will tell you that Park City suffered many devastating fires fanned by canyon winds,” writes Andrea Barros. “It could happen again if we do not reduce wildfire fuel.”