Friday, June 27, 2014

Where to live?

There are lots of articles about the best places to live, recreate or start a business. This article from the NY Times is interesting in that it prioritizes the hardest places to live in the U.S., county by county.

Click the image to go to the actual interactive map on the Times' site. The article goes into a lot of depth about what they mean by "hardest".

There are 3,135 counties in the U.S.. I am happy to have apparently had a blessed life.

  • Grew up in Anne Arundel County, MD  - 180th 
  • Spent a huge chunk of life in Wake County, NC - 163rd
  • Now live in Summit County, UT - 5th!!
All are in the top 6% or so, and number 5 sure rocks!

Thanks to my cousin Sara for posting this out on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Just another sunny summer day in Park City

Yes, June 17th brought about 5" of snow.
I think a few trees, especially the aspens, will have some damage.  Our ex-house lost about 15 feet out of the top of an otherwise healthy aspen.  Very heavy, wet snow on trees that are fully leaved out.

As you can guess, the only one happy with snow in June is Jasper.  It was snowball city this morning.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

I feel the earth move, under my feet

When I was in Jackson a few weeks ago, I took some shots of a place that has been on the national news.  Then I forgot to post the photos.

We've all seen these signs as we drive along steep mountain roads.  They make it obvious that you can be hit by falling rock, but at 50 mph, it isn't clear exactly how you are supposed to react.  This is different though.  This is a few blocks outside of downtown Jackson, Wyoming.
People never seem content with the topographical lines that Mother Nature draws over the course of millennia.  We carve into hills and construct all sorts of buildings.  Here in Park City, if your building is going onto a slope of more than 30 percent, you have to get a Steep Slope Conditional Use Permit, which means it comes to me, your local Planning Commissioner.

In Jackson, they cut into the side of a hill for some houses.  They cut into the bottom of the hill to put in a Walgreens and a strip mall.   Then Mother Nature said "No, dammit!"  The hill has been sliding again and again, and with enough force to tear up the parking lot and rip a house in half.
They put up some heavy wire fencing and some retaining walls to stop the flow.  As you can see, Mother Nature said "I told you NO dammit!"
This is the view from the Walgreen's prescription drive through.  Needless to say, the Walgreens is closed.  The hill continues to slide, no matter what they try to do to slow it.  The excitement will happen if it slides enough to break a major water line that runs through the area.  They estimate that it will dump millions of gallons of water into downtown Jackson before it can be shut off.  At that point, the city will have lost 30% of its water source.

I wish I had taken a good closeup of the soil.  It looks like sandy crud mixed with loose gravel.  Not sure what certified engineer thought that would stay up on such a steep slope.  Not one for your engineering resume.

Here is a recent article giving an update and it has a nice photo of the home cheered in half.

Death of the Sotheby's Brand

I remember years ago when I would find a Sotheby's home catalog somewhere.  Everything about the document oozed quality, printed on thick gloss paper with gorgeous photos. I would always enjoy looking through them at the places the privileged few lived. It seemed that to have them sell your house meant you went through some approval process that was very discriminating. All the houses seemed to be on a secluded beach or a mountain top and half of them looked like palaces.

I was really surprised about five years ago when Sotheby's started buying up small realty firms, including at least one here in Park City.  The firm they bought was selling a lot of homes that didn't match up well with the Sotheby's brand.  Today, that brand has been completely destroyed in my mind.

You make your own decision.

I probably won't ever bother picking up a Sotheby's home catalog again.  It would probably be printed on old newsprint. Very sad.....

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

The price of living in Park City

If you have followed this blog, you may remember the number of times I have written about how it can be incredibly expensive to live in Park City.  Most of that is due to the fact that God and Mother Nature don't really want people to live here.

The sun is incredibly strong and the air is desert dry.  These combine to wreak havoc on wood siding.  This is the house two down from ours.  It's about three years old and I am not surprised that they are having to restain it all.  The fact that they are sanding the entire house down is a bit of a shock.
This is what happens if you don't keep on top of your stain and siding condition.  They let it go one extra year, at which point the wood dries out and start to shed layers.  I can't think of a better way to describe it.  The bottom line is that you cant just restain it.  You have to sand it all flat and then restain it, with multiple coats.

I didn't ask, but I would guess that this is a $25,000 paint job, for a house only three years old.  By the way, the people only stay in it about 2-3 weeks out of the year.  The rest of the time it sits empty.

Welcome to some serious money....

A visit from Tony Hudson

It's always nice to get visitors from NC.  This weekend it was Tony Hudson who lives two doors down from our old house in Raleigh.  Tony was coming out to Salt Lake City for business, so he came out one day early and visited with Julie and me.  There's still a fair amount of snow at the higher elevations, so instead of driving up I-80, we came up Big Cottonwood and over Guardsman Pass.  Sure enough, someone was hiking up the hill behind Tony to do some skiing.
We did a bit of hiking in the spectacular weather, drank margaritas on the deck, and grabbed lunch at Silver Star Cafe.  While there, Vidalia came and settled at my feet. Vidalia and Tallulah are two of the sweetest, but ugliest dogs around.  Her collar says "Please don't feed me french fries".
We had to take Tony back to his hotel in Salt Lake.  That meant having dinner at Red Iguana, always a favorite. I really wish they would open one of those up in Park City.  We would be there frequently.

It was great getting to catch up.  Wish we got to see our Duxford friends more often.  They are some great people!