Last week a friend of mine who lives in Heber City expressed her displeasure when she heard that Talisker was fulfilling part of its affordable housing obligation to Park City by purchasing units in Wasatch County. She didn’t think it was fair for Park City to dump its workers in Wasatch County. Judging from new reports of the issue, available here http://kpcw.org/2011/10/park-citywasatch-housing-agreement-considered/ my friend wasn’t the only one who was unhappy with this situation.
Most of us know that many people who can’t afford to live in the Park City/Snyderville area choose to live in Heber because they can afford to buy or rent a place there. However, it’s possible that people who work in Park City won’t have that option for long. According to census data for 2010, Wasatch County had a total of 10,577 housing units and 3290 of them were vacant. So, it’s reasonable to conclude that more people are buying second homes in Wasatch County as the price of vacation homes remains out of reach in the Park City area.
Is it possible that they same conditions that drive the housing market in Park City will creep over to Wasatch County? Will that mean that folks with moderate incomes will find it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing in Wasatch County in a few years? How will that impact Park City’s economy? I am not sure that importing workers is the answer to creating social and economic diversity in Park City.