Mine Bench Affordable Housing Will Be Privately Led, Says Park City Council
Park City owns a 29-acre strip of land on Marsac Avenue near the Stein Eriksen known as the Mine Bench. The site is the former entrance to the Ontario Mine and is currently used as the city’s public works facility.
The Park City Council has been considering the idea of building affordable housing on the site since early 2021 and took another step towards making it a reality last week.
The board discussed a potential request for proposal, or RFP, that it would send out to developers.
Councilors agreed that the site is an attractive candidate for a public-private partnership, similar to the current Homestake affordable housing project.
Councilor Becca Gerber said the private sector should take the lead on any future housing at Mine Bench.
“This field is a great opportunity for the workforce in this field,” Gerber said. “Our thought was that we should really leave that to the developers. If they have an idea of how they can make this space work, we should really let them come back to us with their ideas. We don’t want our staff to invest a ton of time and working in this space at the moment.
However, there were a few issues with the site. According to a city staff report, the parcel should be rezoned to allow for development. The land is also located on a steep slope, which presents a design and construction challenge, and ground mitigation work would need to be carried out to remove old mine waste.
The question of who would live there was also up for debate.
A partnership with a major local employer like Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort or a hotel was suggested, but Councilor Ryan Dickey said he was hesitant to partner with a private sector company that has the means to provide a housing its employees elsewhere.
“I’m a little disgusted with creating housing for private companies who have access to capital markets and can find housing in our market much more easily for their employees,” he said. “We see them doing it today. I’m probably leaning more towards, actually, people who live in the city and even work in the public sector, as far as prioritization goes.
City staff have been tasked with preparing a draft request for proposals and conducting further research on similar projects in other communities before returning to council later this year.