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Viewpoints The Park Record. A-11 Wed/Thurs/Fri, September 19-21, 2018 editorial Treasure debate continues, but crucial point has been omitted A letters to the editor Realize what we have before it’s gone Editor: “They took down all the trees and put up parking lots.” Joni Mitchell sang those words back in the late ‘60s and here we are today still debating the value of our open lands. Park City is a community that has always risen to the cause of saving open space and we have always debated the price whether it was the Farm, Round Valley, Stone Ridge, Hi Ute, Bonanza Flat or Toll Canyon. Looking back no one disagrees that it was the right thing to do and the Park City community cherishes theses open space very day. Treasure Hill is no different. We want to save it from development and the price is being endlessly debated. I believe fighting for the best price is good but it is also relative to what is going on locally. In my Park City neighborhood, we frequently see multi-million dollars homes bought and then torn down simply for the land, demonstrating that the value of a lot in Park Meadows is now worth millions of dollars? If that is the case why do we think that Treasure Hill is so expensive at $500,000-plus an acre. Everyday we worry about how we aren’t small-town Park City anymore and I am the first to admit that we need to fight to preserve our community values. The Treasure Hill project can be built if we don’t pass this open space bond in November. Take a stand; trails and open space go hand in hand. As Neil Young sang some 50 years ago, “Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 1970s.” We can build most anything except more land. Please vote yes for the open space bond. Charlie Sturgis Mountain Trails Foundation executive director What’s the process? Editor: Let’s see now, Diane Feinstein (aka DiFi) is up for re-election as a U.S. Senator from California in a few weeks. So If I write a letter to the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle saying that a friend of mine (who insists on remaining anonymous) heard that DiFi, The Park Record Staff PUBLISHER ....................... Andy Bernhard Editor ................................... Bubba Brown Staff Writers ......................Jay Hamburger Scott Iwasaki Angelique McNaughton Ben Ramsey Carolyn Webber Alder Contributing ............................. Tom Clyde Writers Jay Meehan Teri Orr Amy Roberts Tom Kelly Joe Lair Copy Editor ............................ James Hoyt Engagement Editor............ Chris Samuels Photographer .........................Tanzi Propst Office Manager ..................... Tiffany Piper Circulation Manager ............. Lacy Brundy Accounting Manager ......... Jennifer Snow ADVERTISING Classifieds/Legals ............. Jennifer Lynch Advertising Director ........... Valerie Spung Advertising Sales ................... Jodi Hecker Erin Donnelly Lindsay Lane Sharon Bush Production Director ..................Ben Olson Production .......................... Patrick Schulz when she was 17 and babysitting for a neighbor, had inappropriately touched a male toddler while changing his diaper, wouldn’t her name have to be removed from the November ballot until such time as the California Attorney General had thoroughly investigated the matter and proven her innocence? I’m just trying to understand the process. Ken Miller Park City Priorities down the drain Editor: Water cascaded down Three Kings Drive frequently this summer. It seems municipal resources are so limited that it can take days to patch (not replace?) a repeatedly breaking pipe. The Park Record has also reported water line breaks in Old Town, Deer Valley and Park Meadows, where there were two leaks just last week. Gushers make the news; imagine how much seepage goes unreported. The Park City water website promises upgrades to aging water treatment facilities by 2023, but not plans to replace all of the corroding old pipes; some of which are made of concrete and asbestos, and are caked with decades of heavy metal scale, (easily shaken into the water by natural seismic vibration). While I support land conservation, I’m more concerned about water conservation, water quality, and water availability, especially in the event of broken pipes in conjunction with fire. I’d gladly pay more taxes for more trustworthy water. If preventing construction, traffic and pollution on Empire and Lowell Avenues are the reasons to block the Treasure development, what happens when Vail Resorts wants to develop the resort base on these same streets? I’m hoping the taxes paid by whoever develops the land around the resorts could cover the cost of reliable delivery of good water to at-risk Park City neighborhoods, and maybe, a better transportation future than the one we currently face. Perhaps, the taxes paid by the developers of prime real estate on Treasure, (and probably the parking lots of Deer Valley and Park City resorts), can fund better water, AND more buses, or the conversion of mining tunnels into underground passageways with people movers, or monorails, or whatever other transport scheme could save our tiny canyons from the choking smoke of ever more automobiles; even if there is no Treasure development. Are municipal priorities all wet? fter years of controversy surrounding the Treasure development proposal, its fate is now up to Park City voters. In the months since City Hall announced it would place a bond on the ballot — later pegged at $48 million — to largely fund a $64 million deal to buy and conserve the Treasure land, the community has debated a number of pertinent issues, from the traffic impact a development there would have on our already-congested streets to whether preserving the hillside would benefit all of Park City. But one crucial point has been largely absent from the discussions. At the same time officials were crafting the Treasure bond, they continued pressing the topic of social equity, aimed at ensuring all residents, regardless of factors like race and economic status, have a seat at the table and can thrive in Park City. For most Parkites, it’s an easy effort to get behind, particularly given the shared concern that the rising cost of living threatens to price working-class folks out of the community. In one of the first concrete steps toward progress on the issue, the City Council last week voted to hire the Park City Community Foundation to spearhead the push and create a strategic plan to address social equity. Parkites should be encouraged and eager to see the solutions the nonprofit unearths. The economics of the Treasure bond, however, conflict with the ideals behind the city’s effort. A successful bond would raise property taxes on a primary home valued at roughly $800,000 by $194 a year, with the increase equaling $353 for secondary homes or commercial properties of the same value. Most Parkites can manage such a tax hike easily enough. As supporters of the bond have repeatedly noted, many residents spend that much on a night out on Main Street or could save that amount over the year by skipping their morning latte once a week. The people targeted in City Hall’s social equity efforts, though, would have a much more difficult time. Park City’s low-income residents, most of whom are renters, already struggle to make ends meet in our expensive resort market. Many work second jobs just to cover housing. Their landlords would be unlikely to absorb a property tax hike in their profit margins, so low-income tenants will instead bear the burden in the form of rent increases. For many families, the increased expense would be tough to shoulder. For some, perhaps, it would be impossible. Elected officials, for one, should publicly address the inherent conflict the tax increase would create with their social equity goals. And voters who are supportive of the city’s inclusivity efforts should weigh the disconnect when they fill out their ballots. To be clear, there are plenty of good reasons to vote in favor of the bond. Preserving the hillside along the Town Lift in Old Town and preventing the substantial impacts of a development the scope of Treasure would create are among the most compelling. But in a community that prides itself on being inclusive and envisions a future in which working-class people can continue to raise families here, it’s disappointing that the effect the Treasure bond would have on that segment of our population hasn’t been a larger focus of the debate. guest editorial Frustration is building in Park City as local governments seek money from residents VICTOR JANULAITIS Park City I have been a full time resident here for over 18 years and am getting more frustrated with the constant yammering by local government that they need more money. At the same time, they say that there is no housing for workers. Everything they do does nothing but raise the cost of living here with increased taxes and infrastructure costs. School board First, they offer to pay the superintendent $235,000, which was $170,000 for her predecessor, then they purchased a home for $870,000 for the superintendent to live in. That along with the two new “administrative” positions contributed to a 16.8 percent increase in the property tax rate. Granted teachers needed a pay increase, but this incremental spending was outlandish. Then I hear talk of a school bond issue they may eventually seek that could exceed the size of the prior “rejected” bond and the current Treasure bond. Treasure bond issue On the upcoming ballot, we have a proposal to purchase the Treasure property that only includes part of the costs. Money was taken out of operating budgets for maintenance and development of Main Street. At least $6 million dollars was already paid to the developer and that is non-refundable. It is not the job of government to see that a private project is profitable. Rather it is its job to see that the private development pays their fair share. Options could include: Assess the developer for “increased” use of roads, sewer, water and other utilities. If that capacity is not in place, then the developer should pay for 100 percent of the proposed increase. This should include the cost to rebuild all the streets, after the construction to as new, and have the capacity to handle any increase in on-going traffic. If the road needs to be widened, then the developer should be required to obtain the necessary land by purchasing it and widening the road. An environmental impact study should be completed before the first shovel goes into the dirt to identify any risks associated by the impact of the construction to the health and safety of the community. If the risks are too great, the development should be rejected or mitigated by the developer. If more than 50 workers will be added to the Park City workforce at the completion of the project, the developer should be required to “build” on their land affordable housing for at least 20 percent of the proposed increase in workforce size. Enclosed parking should be required on the structure for each full-time resident plus a percentage of parking spaces for the workers and guests coming to the project — not just the executives. For the workers, additional parking could be created off-site and maintained by the developer with transportation to and from the remote parking paid for by the developer. Summary Park City is going the way of California before it passed Proposition 13. They had government bodies that were out of control and did not manage the increases in infrastructure costs and started to price people out of the market. Say NO to the Treasure bond issue and put in place some better process so that new development is managed effectively, and affordable housing is added to the inventory by the private sector. If someone paid $235,000 cannot afford to purchase a home here, what is a Main Street and/or hotel worker to do for housing? The Park record Pulse Here’s a sampling of the conversation readers are having on our Facebook page. To visit the page, go to Facebook.com/parkrecord/. Beverly Hurwitz Park City Letters Policy The Park Record welcomes letters to the editor on any subject. We ask that the letters adhere to the following guidelines. They must include the home (street) address and telephone number of the author. No letter will be published under an assumed name. Letters must not contain libelous material. Letters should be no longer than about 300 words (about 600 words for guest editorials) and should, if possible, be typed. We reserve the right to edit letters if they are too long or if they contain statements that are unnecessarily offensive or obscene. Writers are limited to one letter every seven days. Letters thanking event sponsors can list no more than 6 individuals and/or businesses. Send your letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org No one wants to see Treasure built we surely are unanimous on this. The real problem is the extreme lack of confidence in Marsac officials and the logical doubts about the structure of any deal they come up with.” Barbara Young, on guest editorial titled “Three decades of Treasure talks point to a ‘yes’ vote on bond” When does the summit county council disapprove any development deal?” Olivia Miller, on article titled “Summit County Council upholds Newpark condo project’s approval” I wonder if those could be affordable housing??” Robert Jensen, on photo of the 2017 Autumn Aloft hot air balloon festival Well said. Sad that it has to be pointed out over and over again.” Danielle Demeter, on column titled “Amy Roberts: Women cause a racket for respect” Congratulations on a wonderful career! Best of luck in your future!!!” Dori Schmalzle, on article titled “Park City local Megan McJames retires from ski racing” The Park Record attained permission to publish these comments.