Letters, May 14-17: PCMR neighbors are NIMBYs
Letters to the editor: May 14-17: PCMR neighbors are NIMBYs
PCMR neighbors are NIMBYs
Last week, neighbors of PCMR filed an appeal to upend the resort’s lift upgrade plans. The neighbors’ predictable response was a litany of the NIMBYs favorite talking points: parking, parking, and parking. These neighbors feel entitled to dictate how the ski resort operates and it’s no wonder why given their rent seeking behavior.
Rent seeking is an economic term that describes an actor who seeks to profit off of others’ work without contributing to the productivity themselves. This example is clearly illustrated by a billboard created by Fay Lewis in 1914 that she posted in a vacant lot in Rockford, IL. Entitled “Everybody Works but the Vacant Lot”, the billboard read “I paid $3600 for this lot and will hold it ‘till I get $6000. The profit is unearned increment made possible by the presence of this community and the enterprise of its people. I take the profit without earning it. For the remedy read Henry George.” The same could be said about the relationship between PCMR and its neighbors. PCMR does the work while the neighbors soak up the profits without earning it, or, in other words, pure rent seeking.
Henry George was a pioneering 19th century economist developed the concept of the Land Value Tax (LVT). Since the quantity of land is fixed (you can’t build more of it) and its value increased when others improve theirs, it makes economic sense to tax the profits that accrue to you based on the work of others. Taxing profits that you yourself did not earn has a less distorting effect than taxing something like income, which you did work for. In fact, the LVT has been referred to as the “least worst tax” and sometimes also called the “single tax” because of its efficiency and its theoretical ability to replace most other taxes that distort economic activity.
So long as these neighbors continue to be enriched by the efforts of PCMR without having to invest capital or lift a finger themselves, their attitude will not change. When the mines closed in the 1950s our community was economically devastated. It was only by the grace of god and snow that has allowed us to flourish to be where we are today. The current neighbors of PCMR didn’t build the resort but they sure have gotten rich off of it. If they want to have something to say, they need to pay their fair share of the economic burden.
Build worker village in Kamas
Addressing the Park City affordable housing crisis.
There have been a number of affordable housing proposals initiated during the past few years to alleviate this pressing problem. May I make a suggestion to the powers that be?
Having grown up in the eastern portion of PA, where workers commuted into NYC and to Philadelphia, with commutes exceeding 90 to 120 minutes, it is not uncommon for workers to commute long times to their places of employment. As for Park City, with its limited and expensive land, there are more efficient uses for the land than being used for affordable housing. The need for workers, who could not afford to live in Park City is just like the PA workers who could not afford to live in NYC or Philadelphia. Now is the time to look elsewhere for the affordable housing answers for such people.
My suggestion is to have the Park City Government purchase 100 plus or minus acres in the Kamas area, where the land is cheaper and construct a workers’ village that is run by the Park City Government or designee. (Similar to the “Company Homes” from years ago.) It could consist of a mix of single-family dwellings, condos, townhouses, apartments, college like dorms for the seasonal workers, etc. It could be given a nice name like: Mountain View Estates, Park Summit Village, Deerfield Village, etc. The City/County could then run buses at convenient times so the workers can get to their jobs in Park City and the surrounding areas. This would reduce traffic immensely and much of the “parking problem”. The rents can be subsidized (perhaps with the help of the employers—think Vail and Altera) to be affordable so that the workers can afford the rent. This would be a win-win for all parties. It is also possible that there would be a number of investors interested in investing in such a project, which will surely generate good rental cash flow from all the rentals on the property.
This is a viable solution to the affordable housing problem and it would free up the “more valuable land” in Park City for various uses to enhance the livability and enjoyment for residents and tourists. Here is a solution which should help solve the affordable housing problem and help with the parking problem for many, many years.
Prevent lead poisoning
NBC reported today that American children are being neglected when it comes to the risk of lead poisoning: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/lead-poisoning-tests-children-pandemic-rcna28041
A major source of lead exposure for fetuses and young children is contaminated air. Park City’s air lead level can be readily elevated by the smoke from distant fires or by the excavation of contaminated soils on windy days. Yet, I have met young children who play in the dirt in Park City’s contaminated soil district who have never been screened for lead exposure, a simple procedure that is mandatory in many states. Their highly educated parents didn’t even know about lead poisoning.
Lead exposure in fetuses and young children can result in learning and behavior problems and devastating neurologic impairment. Lead poisoning is preventable and treatable if detected before it causes irreversible damage to the brain, heart, and kidneys. Yet, in spite of requests by community physicians in recent years, the Summit County Health Department provides no information about lead poisoning or testing for lead exposure on its website.
The Utah Health Department offers parents, educators, and health care providers information about lead poisoning at:
Park City leaders and child advocates should require the Summit County Health Department to promote a lead poisoning prevention program for the pregnant women and children of this community.
Beverly Hurwitz, MD
Hardly a neighbor
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