Friends and Neighbors,
The summer may be winding down, but things are busy as ever around Heber City.
I want to inform you that the field for a new Chief of Police has been narrowed down to two candidates. Everyone is invited to meet the candidates and ask questions during a public open house at 7 p.m. on August 22 at Heber Valley Elementary School. My hope is that there will be another opportunity to interview the candidates as a Council before we need to confirm whoever is appointed by Mayor Franco.
Further, election season is upon us, and there are three seats open on the Heber City Council this year. If you care about the community, specifically the future of the community, please consider running for office. You can file with the city recorder from August 8 to August 14 at the city offices. Although it can be a challenging responsibility, it’s incredibly important and rewarding. Anything of value is worth the effort it takes to achieve!
Enjoy the final days of summer—and for those preparing their children for a new school year, have a fantastic first week!
Financial Audit Service Interviews
We interviewed various accounting firms to provide financial audit services, including Gilbert and Stewart, Larson Certified Public Accountants, and HBME. It was a pleasure to see all these very capable firms apply for the position, and we voted unanimously to hire Larson Certified Public Accountants.
They were not the least expensive, but the presentation was excellent and their sole focus on audit services is a strength. During the interview, the representative from Larson set himself apart by discussing ways to help us get better in our processes—and I appreciated his ability to look to the future.
Main Street Park Bandshell Concept
A new bandshell that is bigger and more centrally located is coming to the city park. The first sketches look very good and have the potential to be a focal point in the community.
I’m confident this is a great first step in creating the downtown area we’d like to have. The concerts in the park and the Heber Market on Main have been a great addition to our summers, and this would expand the capabilities of the bandshell for year-round activities. It will have two sides, one facing south to the park and the other facing north to a new walkable alley that will connect the park to restaurants and shops.
One thing is for sure—there are great things coming to Heber City!
City Branding Initiative Update
Ryan Bunnell from Ignition Creative Group has been working hard on a new logo for Heber City. We have now seen the second iteration of proposed designs, and I think we’re getting closer to what we’d like to adopt.
My goal is for the logo to represent all Heber City residents—future, past, and present. I love and appreciate our pioneer heritage, but I also understand that the pioneers were preparing for and embracing the future. Longing for times past or trying to revert does not help us to live in the present or prepare for the future. I really like our current city logo, especially the tag line, "The heart of the Wasatch Back." I’d like to find a way to preserve that while also welcoming the thousands of residents that will join our community over the next 100 years.
Muirfield and Coyote Springs Park Plans
We were able to see the developing plans for Muirfield Park and Coyote Springs Park, which will be great amenities for years to come. There will be trails, benches, picnic areas, trees, and open space for all to enjoy. I very much appreciate the staff who are making sure these parks are second to none. I look forward to seeing final plans as they come to fruition!
The development report was full of projects moving forward. Jordanelle Ridge has the following in process: Preliminary Platt V2 Fitzgerald, Play B 2B and 2C, and V2 21B Phase 2 and 3. A site plan was also presented for a commercial parcel southeast of town on HWY 40, known as Old Mill Village. Also, a site plan for the property adjacent to the new Smith's Marketplace north of town, called New London South.
These projects are also in some phase of the approval process:
Smith’s Minor Site Plan Amendment
Black Rifle Minor Site Plan Amendment
Schoolhouse Academy Plat Amendment
Spring Gardens Parking Expansion
New London South Small Subdivision
Emmett ADA Reasonable Accommodation
Sulser Lot Variance
North Village View MDA Amendment
Springs at Coyote Ridge Barn
LRemington MDA located at 160 W 500 N
Starting off our action items portion of the meeting was an ordinance amending the LRemington MDA, located at 160 W 500 N. This is the old care center and is currently an abandoned property. The redevelopment will be to add some townhomes, including three units that will be reserved for city, county, or school district employees—and deed-restricted in perpetuity. I am happy that something beneficial is finally going to happen with this property that has needed redevelopment for quite some time.
Creation of an Advisory Arts Committee
The Council approved the creation of an Advisory Arts Committee. This committee will meet to make recommendations on how to best use funds from the new Trails, Arts, and Parks Tax that will be allocated from the countywide tax approved by voters last year.
I’m so excited to have funding for these important community priorities as I feel we have been limited for many years. These funds will be critical in the expansion of our parks and trails systems and the new arts center north of town. This vote was unanimous.
Sensitive Lands Ordinance
There is no doubt that we are all concerned with being good stewards of the land and building responsibly. With this in mind, we finally approved amendments to our existing sensitive lands ordinance. This will help us protect our waterways, ridge lines, and steep slopes. Although the updates were not a great departure from what we had in place, it emphasizes our joint commitment to the environment as we move into the future.
City Software Solution
The Council approved authorizing staff to negotiate and enter into an agreement with Centricity GIS for Cityworks (in an amount not to exceed $218,000). This is a software solution that is going to streamline many of the city services, especially in the planning, building, and engineering departments.
Intellectual capital will be priceless as we move through the next few years. Remembering schedules for routine maintenance, what work has been completed, and what needs attention are all things this software will track. It will also be helpful for the intellectual capital to be available for future employees in perpetuity.
Heber Valley Temple Project
As the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints proceeds through the approval process for their proposed temple to be built east of town, the impact on traffic and infrastructure in our area must be considered.
Referring to the traffic studies that have been completed, the anticipated traffic impact of the proposed temple is the daily trip equivalent of 200 homes. To put this in perspective, Red Ledges, which is within the city boundaries and is a neighbor to the northeast of the temple site, has about 1,300 planned homesites with just about half of those currently completed. This is one development with several others planned throughout that eastern corridor.
The Representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints came to our meeting to ask to enter an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Heber City, which would then be taken to the County for approval. This would state that the Church is willing to build a roundabout from the new Heritage Farms Parkway that is coming around the northeast side of town and will connect to Center Street and the proposed Temple Site. They are willing to pay for this roundabout at no cost to the city.
To put it simply, this is a great opportunity. In our last meeting, we were reviewing a $1 million bid on the roundabout at Mill Road and Heritage Farms Parkway. I am willing to allow the Church to do that (contingent on their project being approved by the County). They still need to go through the approval process that the County has in place, but I am willing to enter an MOU that states we will allow the construction once that approval is received.
This led to a very interesting discussion where some council members asked whether this is an opportunity to place other demands on the Church. For example, complying with the Heber City lighting ordinance or paying impact fees as part of the deal. We pushed the decision to a future agenda to gather more information from the city attorney. I fully anticipate that the idea of expecting an entity building outside of city limits to pay impact fees will come back as a moot point and not allowable under current law. It’s likely that the idea of trying to negotiate lighting standards will also be futile as they are constructing outside of our limits. However, I do welcome and appreciate the notion of the Church constructing a roundabout to help with the traffic impact they are generating with this project.
Sincerely, D. Scott Phillips Heber City Council