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Vol. VI, No. 27 , 7 I CT " 111 Depot project so Train depot. The words conjure up an image of a long row of railroad cars waiting to usher passengers aboard. The Park City Depot Project summons up a similar thought: a long row of railroad cars in a proposed development develop-ment area waiting to get going. But it was announced this week that the Depot building and the eight-and-a-half-acre project area was sold, and the change of ownership may mean the development is back on track, ; , Developer Ladd Christensen told The Newspaper this week that he and Blaine Huntsman have purchased the property from partners Wally Wright, John Prince, Harry Reed, Kirk McDonald and Bill Coleman. Christensen Christen-sen declined, however, to reveal the purchase price or other terms of the transaction. Although the project master plan previously was approved by the Planning Commission, Christensen said he anticipates some changes will be made which will require review and approval by that board. Although the master plan has not been reviewed by the new partners, Christensen said one change comes immediately to mind. He said he does not anticipate that the railroad cars now on the property will be utilized into Tax rebels South Summit's tax rebels aren't easily satisfied. Last November, a group of Kamas-area Kamas-area residents led by Dale Leavitt, Gary McCormick and Phillip Mitchell announced that they would not pay their 1980 property taxes because of what they felt were exorbitant increases in-creases over the previous year. Since that time, a number of concessions con-cessions have been made which might have appeased a less-tenacious group. Late in November, Kamas City Clerk Bonnie Lassche revealed that the city had unintentionally overcharged local residents about $23,000 because of a misunderstanding between herself and the county recorder. She said the money would be repaid by reducing the residents' 1981 taxes. In December, State Tax Commission Com-mission Chairman David Duncan agreed to authorize another county board of equalization, contingent on the approval of the attorney general's office, of-fice, to correct alleged inequities in the 1980 county-wide revaluation. At the same time, Duncan revealed that the State Tax Commission planned to order a "factoring-up" for those counties where the assessment levels had fallen below 20 percent of market value. He pointed out that this would help equalize the property tax burden statewide. In the recent session of the legislature, a bill was passed giving counties sole responsibility for establishing individual property values for taxation purposes, as long as the county as a whole stayed close to the 20 percent level set by state statute. This would remove state assessors from the physical inspection of local property. The legislature also passed a bill which would reduce the value of residential property, tor taxing pur poses only, by 20 percent. But Leavitt, McCormick and Mitchell still believe that Summit County residents aren't getting a square deal. And they went back to the County Commission Tuesday to say just t hat . The ire of the tax rebels now is fflSj. ID 11 II Park City, Utah Thursday, March 19, 1981 SStmes. the project. Originally, the plan called for the cars to be renovated into overnight accommodations. For the rest of the project, Christensen Christen-sen said he does not anticipate substantial changes. Still planned would be a walking-mall extension of Main Street with shops, condominiums, and convention space. He also noted that the project will include an area that will "consider the civic needs of the community." The two developers also own the Park Station Hotel project to the north of the Depot project. But Christensen said that the architecture will vary between the two projects, with the Depot area being designed to be compatible with the historic Main Street district by architect Fred Babcock. Still in dispute is the ownership of the road between the Depot building and the Kimball Art Center, but Christensen Christen-sen said he would work with the city to resolve that issue. He said he visualizes that roadway providing limited access to property owners fronting it, and to a bus system that would bring skiers to the chairlift and guests to the project. In answer to the question, will the Depot project really get underway, Christensen said, "We've always finished fin-ished what we've started." stick to their guns focused on the process being used to bring county assessment levels up to 20 percent of market value. McCormick pointed out that several counties, including in-cluding Utah County, have objected to the fair market value figures Vote saves A last-minute amendment to the School Finance Act may have saved the taxpayers of the Park City School District more than $500,000 this year. But that requires some explanation: Prior to this session of the legislature, every school district in the state was required to contribute 24 mills in property tax revenues to the Uniform School Fund to be used to finance basic programs statewide. But there was an exception. If a county was reappraised, the basic program mill levy was allowed to float down to a level which generated no more than 25 percent more money than 24 mills had done the year before the revaluation. An example: if 24 mills in the Park City School District had raised, say $1 million in 1979 (before the revaluation), then the basic program mill levy in 1980 (following the revaluation) would have been allowed to float down so that no more than $1.25 million was generated for the Uniform School Fund. From that point, according to the law, the district would have three years to move the basic program mill levy back up to the 24-mill level. Since Summit County was reappraised reap-praised in 1980, the district was allowed to drop the basic program mill levy to 13.42. That levy was due to rise to 16.95 mills in 1981, to 20.48 mills in 1982, then to 24 mills in 1983. But here's where it really starts to get complicated. Last December, Gov. Scott Matheson short-circuited the statewide revaluation process by ordering order-ing those counties whose properties had fallen below 2() percent of market value r. i utiiI'hi ii.llll.ilW I I lint .sfssa Other projects Huntsman-Christen-sen are responsible for include moving the Miners Hospital to its new location to make room for the Shadow Ridge project, and removing the pressure vessel building and power lines fronting Park Avenue to build Park Station. Within the next 30 to 60 days, Christensen said he hopes to meet with members of the city planning staff to review changes in the project. "Our hope is to this summer do a lot of things to clean up the area (which will include the removal of most of the train cars)," Christensen said. "By the end of two building seasons, this area should be so different not the completion comple-tion of the total master plan, but at least to the extent that there will be walkways, maybe not all the condominiums condo-miniums and shops, but so it's not all mud. "We intend to blend the project with the needs and interests of the Main Street community," he continued. "Our feeling is if we didn't think that Main Street was an excellent thing, we wouldn't think this was a good project. If we develop enough quickly enough and in the proper manner, this could be the non-skiing activity center of the town: Main Street and the Depot project could be the epicenter between the two resorts." established by the state and have been allowed to negotiate lower figures. "We feel like we've been had," he told the commissioners. "We have Rebels to 3 locals big$ to "factor up" to the 20 percent level. In essence, he declared an instant revaluation for the whole state. The factoring-up meant two things: first, there would be a bigger tax base and second, all the counties would, at least in theory, be on an equal footing. Reflecting the governor's actions, there were some changes in the School Finance Act as it related to the Uniform School Fund. In a relatively minor adjustment, the 24-mill levy was dropped to 23 mills, reflecting the bigger tax base. But the big change, at least in the eyes of Park City residents, was the elimination of the three-year program following revaluation. Instead of moving from 13.42 to 16.95 mills, the Park City School District would have gone from 13.42 to 23 mills: a jump of almost 10 mills in one year. Then came the last-minute amendment. amend-ment. Rep. Glen Brown proposed that the three-year program be restored for those districts where revaluation had occurred. To make up for the revenue that amendment would cost the state, he proposed that the basic level be set at 23.25 instead of 23. Under Brown's amendment, the Park City District would pay $1,371,000 into the Uniform School Fund. Without the amendment, the district would have paid $1,922,000. By gaining the support of other representatives whose districts have been reappraised recently, Brown managed to slide the amendment through the House. After some bickering, bicker-ing, the Senate also agreed. The School Finance Act now awaits the governor's signature. Low income project approved, but policy questions remain The future of low-income housing took one step forward last week. And maybe a half step back. The Planning Commission took the step forward when they unanimously approved 50 rental units for the Gaddis-McKnight Gaddis-McKnight project, the city's second low-income housing development. The project, which also includes sale units, hugs the hills south of the Prospector Square area. But City Councilman Bob Wells said that, even with the approval, the project lies in a financial limbo. (That's the half step back.) The developers, he said, are financing finan-cing the project through bonding, plus a loan from Urban Development. But the guarantee for the loan depends on the state of the bond market . The loan stipulates that when the bonds are sold, the sale is not made at a higher interest rate than the project is able to pay back. At present, the selling rate of bonds is higher than the project's financial capability. (That capability is arrived at through a formula for-mula that balances the development's costs with the rental fees it would charge.) HUD's loan is not guaranteed, given those high bond rates. Wells said the project might be stalled in this manner for the next 60 days or a much longer period of time. And the prospects for future government govern-ment loans are dim, he said, while the often it turns into a slum. I think the "Funds for this kind of project are disappearing very fast," he added. Ironically, such problems are emerging just as the city is forming a tentative policy on low-to-moderate in-fome in-fome housing. "On projects like Park City Village and the new Queen Ester development (in Deer Valley), the planners are starting to require low-income low-income housing," said Wells, "although it is not defined as a formal policy." City Manager Arlene Loble said the city at this point has many more questions than answers. "Would you ask the developer for a certain percentage percen-tage of his units for low-income'.'" she wondered. "Or a percentage of the land. A percentage of a unit's value? And how do you define low-to-moderate income?" Several methods have been suggested to introduce cheaper housing. Several people have suggested that when the city forms an annexation policy, it require that a certain percentage percen-tage of affordable housing units be included in-cluded in developments requesting to join the city. Group would give more clout to ski resort communities If a gasoline allocation system were introduced today, who would suffer the most? The introduction of gas rationing is one of the big fears of resort areas, particularly those like Jackson Hole which are more than a stone's throw from the nearest big city. But no one bothered to consult Jackson, or Vail, or Park City when rationing was kicked around by the federal government a few years back. "There are a lot of people out there who depend on the tourist trade," says Ralph McMullen, executive director of the Jackson Hole Area Chamber of Commerce. "And gasoline supplies are critically important. McMullen points out that federal policy decisions often consider the needs of so-called heavy industry, but that tourism rarely is seen in the same light. "We have just as much right to survive as heavy industry," he argues. In the last session of Congress, a bill was introduced to encourage the Perpetual Storage, Inc 3322 South 3rd East Salt Lake City UT 64 1 1 5 2 Sections, 20 Pages The city also could charge fees from builders and use the money to build its own housing, Bob Wells said. But Wells didn't like the "city as landlord" idea, and it seems to be the least popular suggestion of them all. Said Coun-cilwoman Coun-cilwoman Tina Lewis, "You start up something called "The Projects' and too often it turns into a slum. I think the majority of the council doesn't want the city to be involved." While other ideas are debated or discarded, local planners are trying to solve the problem through case-by-case negotiations with developers, hoping to coax them into building low-income housing. A current example is the discussion over the proposed Queen Ester. The big debate here centers around the question: Should low-income housing be integrated into the builders' development, or should it be off-site? Commissioner Rusty Davidson saw a problem in separating low-income units. "I think we have a ghetto connotation con-notation there," he said. But Neil Blackburn, a project planner for Queen Ester, said it would be dif School Board debates voted leeway election Judging from the budget-cutting fervor of the recent state legislature, the Park City School District may need all the leeway it can get. Faced with a three-and-a-half percent per-cent budget cut during the current school year and the prospect of further cuts in the 1981-82 year, the Park City Board of Education is considering a proposal for a voted leeway election to raise more money for the district. According to School Superintendent Richard Goodworth, local districts are authorized to tax themselves as much as 10 mills to provide additional funds for the maintenance and operation budget. He said the money could be used for educational programs, teacher salaries, even school supplies, but could not go toward capital expenditures, such as new buildings. Goodworth pointed out that the board had yet to decide how much additional revenue would be needed, and that the leeway request could be less than the state's 10-mill ceiling. If the board decides to recommend a voted leeway, an election would be federal government to recognize the validity of the tourist industry. Called the National Tourism Policy Act, it passed both the House and the Senate just before the end of the session. But President Carter didn't sign it. The bill has been reintroduced this year, but no one is ready to predict w hat President Reagan will do. McMullen has discovered that other communities in Wyoming aren't quite so concerned about gasoline allocations, alloca-tions, or about other tourist-related issues, such as funding public transportation transpor-tation or visitor services. "We can't really relate to a lot of the other Chambers in the West," he says. "We find our situation is completely different from the rest of Wyoming. They are more interested in grazing fees, oil exploration, etcetera." Nevertheless, he sees the need for an organization to go to bat for resort communities and to share information about common issues. He finds that Jackson Hole has more in common with other resort areas such as Sun Valley, liililll-JIfM 25 ficult to mix cheaper housing into his development. Even if residents live in a low-income house, they still must bear the burden of living in a high-income neighborhood. "It would be unfair to ask them to pay the maintenance fees and homeowner's fees that come with a planned unit development," he said. Responded Lohle, "They only bear what the developer says they have to bear. You could take 10 low-income sites and say they cost nothing, then say all the other sites cost 10 more." That sounds like the developer is going to pass on the costs of low-income to his high-income customers. But Bill Ligety said he doesn't think cheap housing has to cost. Take the developer who includes low-income low-income units in return for greater density, den-sity, Ligety suggested. That man is getting get-ting free developable land. "He may have been allowed 50 units on that piece of ground. We give him 53. But the land is still costing him the same." Ligety said that other areas (Boulder, Colorado, specifically) have been able Low income to 3 called for registered voters in the district. Goodworth said the election would have to be held before Dec. 1 for the funds to be available for the 1982-83 school year. School Board President Nancy Mc-Comb Mc-Comb estimated that a district-wide 10-mill voted leeway would add about $800,000 to the school budget. A 10-mill levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $20 a year The Park City School Districl approved voted leeway about 25 years ago. However, the law at that time set a ceiling on the dollar amount which could be raised. Although the law has since been changed, that amount (about $50,000) has remained fixed. Goodworth pointed out that a new election would allow the leeway to be changed from a fixed amount to a percentage of the valuation of the district. Public input on the voted leeway proposal is invited at a meeting of the Park City School Community Council set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 in the district office. Park City, Reno, and the ski towns of Colorado. In discussions last week with business leaders in Park City, McMullen McMul-len suggested that the Chambers of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureaus in those communities form a coalition, and that a meeting be held this summer in a central location, such as Park City, to get things off the ground. He said he has broached the idea in half a dozen other resort towns in the Mountain West. "The response has been basically unanimous. Everybody has been in favor of it." Beside lobbying and discussing common problems, McMullen feels such an organization also could be used to help promote the ski industry overseas. He was asked whether it was realistic to expect such an organization to come together by this summer. "It frankly depends on whether I can get everything done in time," he said.