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Priced out of Park City: More affordable housing needed in resort town

Posted at 4:49 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 19:27:33-04

PARK CITY, Utah — Affordable housing has always been an issue in resort towns, and it’s no different in Park City. It’s also the reason why so many commute to work.

However, city leaders say they’re continuing to make affordable housing access a priority.

“I think affordable housing has been an issue in resort communities for a while," said Jason Glidden, the housing development manager for Park City Municipal. "The majority of the workforce that is here is commuting in, and they might be commuting 45 minutes to an hour away. If you can find a job closer to home, you’re probably going to take that."

Glidden says for the past few years, only about 15 percent of the Park City workforce has actually lived in city limits. The rest commute.

Right now, they’re fighting to maintain that 15 percent with more people being priced out of the historic town.

Partly to blame is the rise of short-term rentals, like Air BnBs and VRBOs (Vacation Rental By Owner).

These properties sit vacant most of the year and are driving up housing prices and reducing long-term rental inventory in the area.

Glidden says the city is stepping in by developing its own affordable housing. Right now, plans are being negotiatied with a private developer to develop a city-owned property in town with a focus on affordable housing.

Glidden says they’re looking at the land management code to find ways to make it easier for the private sector to develop affordable housing — offering incentives like increasing building height and possible parking reductions.

“It’s not that we’re going to come in and allow 10 story buildings. We’re a historic community and we definitely want to keep that look and feel, but it’s balancing that with the needs of the workforce and how that affects the economy,” Glidden said.

Jeff Jones, the economic development and housing director of Summit County, says they’re making progress with several affordable housing projects coming online in the county.

169 units are under construction at the Canyons Resort. Jones says these units will be targeted primarily to the seasonal workforce and should be available next season.

Click here for more information on the Canyons Village Employee Housing project.