PARK CITY, Utah – Affordable housing has always been an issue in resort towns, and it is no different in Park City. This is also the reason why so many people go to work.
However, city leaders say they continue to make access to affordable housing a priority.
“I think affordable housing has been an issue in resort communities for quite some time,” said Jason Glidden, director of housing development for Park City Municipal. “The majority of the workforce that’s here commute, and they could commute 45 minutes to an hour away. If you can find a job closer to you, you’re probably going to take it.”
Glidden says that in recent years, only about 15 percent of Park City’s workforce has actually lived within city limits. The rest commute.
Right now they are fighting to maintain that 15 percent with more people being out of the historic city.
Partly to blame is the rise of short-term rentals, like Air BnB and VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner).
These properties remain vacant most of the year and drive up house prices and reduce long-term rental housing inventories in the area.
Glidden says the city is stepping in by developing its own affordable housing. Currently, plans are being negotiated with a private developer to develop municipal property in the city with an emphasis on affordable housing.
Glidden says they are reviewing the land management code to find ways to make it easier for the private sector to develop affordable housing – by offering incentives such as increased building heights and possible reductions in parking.
“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, but that balances that with the needs of the workforce and how that affects the economy, ”said Glidden.
Jeff Jones, director of economic development and housing for Summit County, says they are making progress with several online affordable housing projects in the county.
169 units are under construction at the Canyons Resort. Jones says those units will be primarily for the seasonal workforce and should be available next season.
Click here for more information on the Canyons Village employee housing project.