A few days ago I wrote an article on growth in our area. I received a very well thought-out response from Park City Planning Commissioner Steve Joyce. He was gracious enough to let me print it. I would encourage you to read it for an alternative perspective.
I started reading your blog a month or so ago and have really enjoyed it, particularly with the school bond discussions. However, I think you may have done your readers a bit of a disservice in your recent entry about Growth. I have been on the Park City Planning Commission for about 18 months and that has really made it easier for me keep informed about all the development potential in town. Frankly, I find it scary. One of my fellow commissioners said it best when he offered “This could end up with traffic being as bad as Sundance week, every day of the year”.
You pointed out that a lot of the development rights were vested decades ago, and still aren’t built. That’s true, but they are coming, and coming quickly. For infill projects, simply look around town. There is development going on everywhere and some of it is significant. The Stein Eriksen Residences were part of the decades old DV master plan, but now we have 14 large houses and 40 condominiums going in. City Council’s density transfer negotiations with the Treasure project fell through, and it is back in the Planning Department. PCMR, before it sold, brought the first plans to develop the parking lots at the PCMR base. That included the Woodward School and a new Parking Deck. Vail has made it clear that we can expect plans from them sooner rather than later. Deer Valley has shown their plans to start construction on 7 or 8 new lifts on the Jordanelle side, all to support the massive development getting ready to be done there. We have seen how Vail’s talented development team can bring $50 million in upgrades in one summer. That same company has millions of vested square feet of development at mid-mountain at Canyons (or Park City Canyons Half or Park City Mountain Right Side?)
You said “The other issue is that most people who cry “growth” have some vested interest in the idea of growth.” I am certainly one who is crying “growth” and have nothing whatsoever to gain from it. I hope that our citizens realize that we are really running out of opportunities to purchase and protect open space. I believe that in the next 5 years, there won’t be any significant chunks of land inside the city boundaries that won’t be held by developers. Major traffic enhancements and changes often take years to get through funding cycles. You can’t wait until everything has ground to a halt to start taking action.
Of course all these changes won’t happen instantly, but I think they will come a lot bigger and faster than you implied in your blog entry. I would encourage Park City residents to get involved or stay involved in the discussions about housing, traffic, and growth.
Thanks for your hard work.