Council Meeting - August 2, 2022
Updated: Aug 11, 2022
As a community we had a wonderful opportunity to come together during the Wasatch County Fair. I hope you were able to participate in some way and enjoy some of the great experiences the fair has to offer.
Our City Council meeting on August 2nd was another long one that went late into the evening. The good news is, we accomplished a lot of great things! Here’s a recap.
First, we convened as the Community Reinvestment Agency (CRA) board. We discussed strategy regarding how we can work together with the county and the school district to be better partners. What’s more, we all agree on the need to revitalize the downtown blocks of Heber City through redevelopment and a narrowing and slowing of Main Street.
I am confident that our downtown could be a destination not only for tourists, but also for local residents of the Heber Valley. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have more restaurants and activities? I once heard someone say, “If the locals don’t want to go downtown, the visitors won’t want to either.” This really resonated with me. Main Street has so much potential to be a place where everybody wants to have an experience. Through downtown vision strategies, including Envision Heber 2050 and the Heber City Downtown Study, we were able to identify several priorities.
To improve the downtown area, the following items should be addressed:
Potted plants and other landscaping buffers
More bench seating
Prioritized streetscape maintenance
Business recruitment programs that fit the city’s image
It’s important to mention that the city has already made progress on some of these initiatives. For example, there are two fire pits now at City Hall, as well as a designated food truck court. We have also added new artwork in public places, in addition to bike racks and benches that are strategically located. We have started planning various holiday events, as well as annual spring and fall clean-up days. Parking has even been improved by moving to an angled striping approach.
Items that are currently in the works include:
A new water feature at City Hall
Downtown street lights that are dark sky compliant
Bike paths to the downtown area (linking east to west sides)
An annual Fourth of July event
Main city park master plan implementation
Assembling strategic land with the county and Heber Lake power
The council will make a list of priorities based on short, medium, and long-term goals, and will bring those back to the city manager to pursue.
Next, we adjourned as the CRA board and reconvened as the Heber City Council to discuss the Wasatch County Boundary Commission decision and consideration to proceed with the Wasatch County School District annexation process. The majority of the council was favorable to this. However, the mayor did make comments about potential for a bordering landowner to contest the annexation in court. According to staff, they believe the time has already passed and the landowner will no longer have an opportunity to take his grievance to court. There will likely be a public meeting in the near future where the public will be invited to present their thoughts and feelings on the proposed annexation for the new high school.
Moving along, we had a review of the North Village Storm-Water and Streets Master Plans from Russell Funk, our city engineer. This was a good update, and while I truly don’t want to be a burden on development, I do want to ensure we are doing what we can to protect our watershed in this beautiful valley. In one of my first meetings with the city council, we had an expert visit to discuss water issues. During this presentation, I specifically asked if percolation and infiltration were the best forms of water treatment to get water back into the aquifer, and the answer was a resounding yes. I am happy that Russ has been looking at these types of options as it is the most cost-effective and efficient way to go. After all, it’s what we’ve done in our valley for 100 years.
Our regular meeting was finally called to order just after 6:00pm. The consent agenda had two items for approval, the first being minutes from July 5th and July 19th. Ryan Stack asked that those items be separated into individual items for discussion and approval. His topic of discussion was in relation to the July 5th meeting where I asked Mayor Franco about the possibility of board appointments. She had referenced waiting on Ryan and his work schedule. Ryan wanted to clarify on the record that he had already discussed his work schedule with the mayor several months prior to the July 5th meeting and didn’t realize that she was still waiting on him to make those board appointments. We approved the July 5th meeting minutes, as well as July 19th, and also moved to amend the city’s financial planning policy to include regular reviews of truth in taxation.
Next up, the mayor presented an award to Russell Funk, Kyle Turnbo, West Bingham, Luke Searle, and Nancy O’Toole, for successfully securing a $5.5 million grant award for secondary irrigation metering in the city. This is $5.5 million that will not be passed on to the taxpayers of Heber City, which is wonderful news. Mayor Franco also issued a proclamation to honor the 102nd anniversary of the 19th amendment in the U.S. Constitution recognizing women’s right to vote and Heber City’s exhibit of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon. The exhibit will be on display at the Wasatch County Library from August 15-19, 2022. There will also be a special speaker discussing the life of Dr. Cannon on August 18th at 7:00pm at the senior center.
Other items on the agenda included a request for a city contribution of $10,000 to the Wasatch County High School State Rodeo Finals. This request was approved unanimously.
Next, we heard from Dickman Legacy Ranch, LLC. This ranch on the southeast side of Highway 113 (also known as Midway Lane) has several separate parcels approved for single-family homes. They are also in a sensitive area in the valley near the Provo River. The county and the city previously approved connections to the Heber City sewer line, so that homes would not have to build septic tanks. The applicant was requesting a connection for two more parcels and was approved by the council.
Due to time constraints, there were a few items pushed to the next meeting. This prompted us to transition into the following action items.
The president of the Historic Preservation Committee came forward requesting $10,000 for monuments that would be placed on or near Main Street. The hope is for these to be a remembrance of important buildings that may no longer be there. This committee has been very active in trying to get something moving to preserve the history of the Heber Valley. The council approved this expenditure unanimously.
As part of the North Village Overlay Zone, there is a property near the existing UVU campus that is going to be dedicated to a community art center. The action item brought before the council was a consideration of approval for a term sheet between Wasatch County Arts Council and Heber City Corporation considering the ground lease of real property. This area will have an amphitheater and a 500-seat enclosed theater on the ridge near the UVU campus. I’m confident that this will be a great amenity to our community.
Another action item up for consideration was regarding a potential memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a connection to the Heber City sewer line from the Back 40 Ranch House Grill. The goal here is for the city to allow this connection without potential for other applicants in the future.
We also continued the discussion from a previous meeting considering approval of amendments to Sawmill Master Plan phase 4A and 4B for Regal Homes. There is a parcel they have acquired that they would like to incorporate into their development. When they left the council last time, we said we’d consider it for new lots in the affordable housing category. They came back asking for 16 new units with four as deed-restricted affordable housing. This is a tough topic because affordable housing is a priority of mine and I would love for us to make some more headway on deed-restricted properties. I also understand that a developer needs to make money, and if increasing density allows a way for them to build the deed-restricted property, this may be the best compromise. I still suggested fewer units during this meeting. I look forward to seeing what they come back with next time.
In closing, there has been much discussion about supply chain delays when it comes to the Heber water and sewer line replacement project downtown. I made the motion to continue working through the winter months, which was approved by the council. I’m very happy to hear that they did speak with affected neighborhoods and took a survey by going door-to-door. It sounds like our residents were overwhelmingly favorable to continuing the work.
In total, this was a seven hour meeting. There is so much that we have to do as a growing city, which is why it’s important to take our time making these critical decisions. I’m happy to be serving during a period when there is so much coming before the council. It is truly an honor to contribute.
D. Scott Phillips
Heber City Council