Balanced Growth

Park City’s rate of growth is accelerating. This isn’t a good thing or a bad thing, it is just a fact and the result of a free market society. People like to visit and live in a nice place, Park City is one of (if not the) nicest around. For all the reasons locals love Park City so does everyone else. As our City has been booming, many of us assume growth is inevitable. We have to stay cognizant of the fact that it is not, and with more competition for skier visits (and other recreational activities), combined with the high cost of entry to this market, we may see an impact. The last thing we want to be left with are developments based on the assumption of massive growth that turn into ghost buildings.

There are a number of contributing factors such as marketing and pass accessibility for the ski resorts, shift to remote work through the pandemic, Generation Y and Z starting families, growth of the Salt Lake Valley, and the list could go on. With these drivers of growth new challenges are introduced to Park City and current challenges become more complex to solve. A personal observation is that many of the locals coming to Park City recently represent a younger than traditional demographic. The FY21 budget shows the median age at 39. I would be surprised if this doesn’t trend downwards over the next few years with newly accepted remote work options. We also know a macro trend in the U.S. is that many teenagers aren’t moving out right after high school contributing to more people staying in town longer if that trend occurs in Park City as well.

When we plan for things like traffic, public transportation, bike paths, trailheads, etc. we need to consider what Park City will look like in the future not just in the next few years. For example, will we have 4 cars per household in 2040 or 1 compared to a traditional metric of 2 cars per household and what does that mean to our infrastructure? We don’t really know, but what we do know is it’s better to be safe than sorry and push towards cultural shift to get cars off the road now than wait until traffic is unsolvable later.

The base area developments at Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Snow Park are infill projects. There is existing infrastructure including utilities, roads, public transportation networks, etc. that must be improved or retrofitted to handle the influx of density coming. That’s on top of implications to things like dark sky ordinances and noise levels. Doing this in a controlled, calculated manner is the only way we won’t be looking back years from now lamenting at a lost opportunity while staring at mega structures instead of nature.

Another major question to contemplate is what Park City’s relationship looks like with Summit and Wasatch Counties as we all continue to grow. It is obvious what’s going on around the Jordanelle, but also take that a step further and look at the surrounding areas with proposed large development plans. How will tax sharing agreements change? How will annexation processes proceed (or not)? How will the new transit authority play out?

These are all examples of critically important questions we face in the next few years. I’m looking forward to leveraging my significant negotiation and analytical problem solving experience to drive creative solutions, developing a foundation for growth that can be leveraged years to come.