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February eNews: Council Retreat; Legislative Session

Post Date:03/09/2017 2:32 PM



Dear Friends,

With Sundance 2017 now in the books, thank you to everyone for helping to produce another successful festival. As we do every year, we gained some much-needed inspiration and encouragement, and learned some important lessons about ourselves along the way.

Thank you to the hundreds of Park City staff, local businesses and volunteers. Thank you to the Sundance Institute for entrusting Park City to host the best independent film festival in the world. We are honored to be your partner. And thank you to our local residents and visitors: your enthusiasm and patience throughout the festival is what makes this community so special.

As most of you know by now, this year’s festival included some extra heavy curveballs—days of successive snowfalls and some of the best skiing in memory, complemented by the peaceful yet heavily attended Women’s March on Main Street.
So by now, we think we know what worked—like the successful carpool and transit park-and-ride lot at Richardson Flat, our round-the-clock snow removal efforts, and the stellar work of public safety officials and other volunteers who kept the late night shenanigans from boiling over. And we also think we know what could be improved: traffic and parking congestion in the mornings and afternoons and more attention and commitment to the activation of Lower Main Street.

Those are just some of my thoughts, and I’m committed to coming back next year better than ever. But what did you like, and what can we work on? Please share your ideas with City Council at Coffee with Council on February 28, or just catch us on the street.

As for the films themselves, I felt they were as impactful as ever. They took us out of our comfort zones and made us see things from new perspectives. And the New Climate series—dedicated to environmental stories—aligned perfectly with Park City’s values. We were honored to highlight our sustainability goals through the panel discussion, Park City: a Community Committed to Action, as well as preview our first electric bus!

Compassion and empathy have both been in short supply of late, but the 2017 Sundance Film Festival reassured me of our collective humanity. The stories were wonderful, but the people who helped bring them to light were the real stars of the show.

Cheers to next year!

— Jack Thomas, Mayor


Land purchase is not guaranteed: purchasers must demonstrate commitment to closing $13-million funding gap by March 15

Last month, Park City breathed a collective sigh of relief when we learned that we’d been granted the option to purchase Bonanza Flat, a 1,336-acre parcel of pristine open space. But the work is far from over. “We all recognize that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Mayor Jack Thomas. “But we can’t lose sight of the fact that we are still only two-thirds of the way to closing the deal.” Park City voters supported a $25-millionbondon last November’s ballot; a consortium of counties and nonprofits is now necessary to raise the remaining $13-million. “Now’s the time to really beat the bushes and ask your friends who live in Salt Lake City and Summit,County to contribute,” said Wendy Fisher, executive director of Utah Open Lands. “Park City’s Council and residents showed their commitment through the bond, and now we are asking that those who live in surrounding counties to pledge their support to help save this remarkable and pristine piece of paradise.”
If successful in the funding campaign, the land will be designated as open space, which will forever remove it from the threat of development.The parcel also provides critical habitat for wildlife and serves as the headwaters for multiple downstream drinking water sources.

Park City Municipal has until March 15 to decide whether to exercise the second option payment. The City will do this only if other entities, municipalities, and individuals demonstrate a sufficient willingness to help preserve it by helping close the $13-million funding gap.

“In the end, this isn’t about us,” said Thomas. “It’s about the legacy we want to leave to our children, our grandchildren. Saving this land could be one of the most significant legacies we leave them.”

Fund-raising events and opportunities can be found at the Save Bonanza Flats website. You can also watch this flyover video, which gives you a great sense of the land's rugged unspoiled beauty and vastness.


February 9 & 10 in the Park City Library Community Room

In years past, the annual City Council retreats have grappled with big, thorny issues, and Council members have spent much of the time figuring out where to devote the City’s staff and resources. But in 2015 and 2016, the City Council and employees made a lot of headway defining our priorities and developing road maps for workable solutions. This year’s retreat will give Council an opportunity to receive progress updates from staff and reaffirm their commitment to existing critical and top priorities.

“We’re on strong footing in beginning to address some of the more difficult issues that we face as a community,” said Mayor Jack Thomas. “This isn’t to say we have all the answers—far from it. But we feel like we’ve done a great deal of work prioritizing and developing critical paths to tackle some of these challenges – particularly when it comes to housing, transportation, and sustainability.These are longtime challenges that will take years, if not decades, to fix. Yet we are resolute in our commitment to begin this work in earnest now.”

Two events during the retreat are designed to help Council identify any blind spots they may have in defining priorities. “Imagine Park City” will include each council member’s personal perspective about what makes Park City so special, focusing on the four core values of historic preservation, small-town character, natural setting, and sense of community. This exercise will give the council members free reign to suggest ideas that could help further enhance and preserve these core values.

Council will also meet with the Youth City Council, a high-school student group formally structured to contribute the voice of the next generation to community decision-making.

The retreat—as it does every year—also gives Council the opportunity to come together outside of City Hall. “This is my favorite part of the retreat,” said Thomas. “I enjoy taking a step back and having personal conversations with my fellow council members and other community stakeholders in a more informal setting.”

The Council Retreat will take place February 9 and 10 in the Community Room of the Park City Library. Residents and visitors are welcome to attend. View the agendas for Thursday and Friday online.


The six-week Utah legislative session opened on January 23, and Assistant City Manager Matt Dias will be keeping a close eye on the Capitol. “We’re most concerned with bills that may impinge upon our ability to control our own fate and make our own decisions,” said Dias. “We want to preserve as much local control and flexibility as possible, especially in the realm oflocal land use authority.” Other issues that may come to the fore—especially after being highlighted by Governor Herbert in his State of the State address—include improving air quality, relaxing state liquor laws, and finally instituting an online sales tax. “We would be in favor of an online sales tax, for the simple reason that it will level the playing field for our brick-and-mortar stores, many of which are sole proprietors and small businesses,” said Dias.
Keep tabs on the legislative session by reading the briefings in our weekly City Council summaries.


Park City Municipal and Leadership Park City were very saddened to hear of the passing of Jon Henry, a beloved, vital member of our community. Jon co-founded the Park City Toastmasters Club, one of the most vibrant and successful chapters of the public-speaking organization in the country. Many of us learned to speak eloquently and confidently in public at Toastmasters, and also developed a strong network of friends and colleagues through the group.
Jon was a member of Leadership Class 19 and worked with the Leadership Class at Treasure Mountain Junior High School. He owned Panorama Window Cleaning and provided a powerful message of inspiration as pastor of Creekside Christian Fellowship Church. He was also a frequent contributor to the KPCW radio program Tales of the Wasatch Back.
Jon leaves behind his wife Cheryl, their two children, Jonson and Jo, and a community that was inspired by his actions and words. Very simply, Jon honored the inherent dignity of every person, and this is what we will remember most about him.

A celebration of Jon's life will be held tomorrow, February 9, at 3 o'clock at the Creekside Christian Fellowship on Bitner Road.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend the following meetings this month. Follow this link for additional meeting information and agendas.

Wed., Feb. 8 Planning Commission | 5:30 pm| Council Chambers
Thurs., Feb. 9 City Council Retreat, Day One | 8:30 am-4:30 pm| Park City Library
Fri., Feb. 10City Council Retreat, Day Two | 8-10:30 am | Park City Library
Mon., Feb. 13 Public Art Advisory Board| 5:00 pm| Executive Conf. Room
Tues., Feb. 15 Special Events Advisory Cttee. | 1:00 pm| Park City Library, Rm. 201
Thurs., Feb. 16 City Council | 5:30 pm| Council Chambers
Wed., Feb. 22 Planning Commission | 5:30 pm | Council Chambers

Can't make it to City Council in person? Attend virtually or download the recording via the Listen Live link.



A large part of what makes Park City so special is its natural setting, but this setting—like so many places around the world—is under threat from climate change. For our own sakes—and for the sake of the rest of the world—we are tackling climate change head-on, through ambitious policies and programs.

Watch this four-minute video to learn how Park City is tackling global warming. Our efforts include deploying electric buses as part of our transit fleet, aggressively installing solar panels on residences, businesses, and municipal buildings around the city, incentivizing the switch to LED bulbs, and—perhaps most importantly—educating our residents on everything they can do. “Climate change may seem like an insurmountable problem at times, but the biggest problems require the most comprehensive solutions,” said Mayor Jack Thomas. “That’s exactly our approach.”

Watch the video here.
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