Council Meeting - December 6, 2022
What a year this has been! We just had our last council meeting of 2022, which was about seven hours long. Fortunately, we were able to accomplish a lot.
The first item was a proposed tree ordinance amendment. This was brought forward by the tree subcommittee, which is an advisory committee to the City Council. I love trees, and Heber has some beautiful trees that have been here for many years. As we welcome new development in our city, the subcommittee is adding to the ambience and landscape by planting more trees. Although I feel it’s important to have rules and regulations pertaining to their planting and care, I definitely don’t want government overreach or overregulation in that area. I want to continue to work with our subcommittees to ensure they are supporting City Council initiatives and desires. This will help us all come together to bring forward solutions as a team.
Also in our work meeting, we discussed the Fitzgerald annexation, as well as the school district property annexation. I’m in favor of both of these annexations — and I’m excited for them to move forward. After discussion in the work session, and the regular meeting where we held a public hearing, both annexations were approved. I supported them both as it’s important to me that we’re forward-looking rather than reactive. We need to come together and continue to develop and grow our community in a way that is desirable instead of continually trying to play catch-up. In previous meetings, the school district has provided several different plans pertaining to the high school. Again, they are trying to be forward-thinking when it comes to this new campus. By annexing the Fitzgerald property, and other properties in the North Village Overlay Zone (NVOZ), we are planning for future growth and bringing properties into our city limits to provide services and amenities. We have spent several hours discussing these annexations in previous meetings, and I am happy to finally have them approved.
Moving along, the Sensitive Lands Ordinance came up again in our work session, and Council Member Mike Johnston brought up an important observation. As a city, we have annexed nearly all of the property within the boundary designated in the 2050 master plan. This includes property the city was looking to add by expanding our borders. We have had several experts visit the City Council concerning water and other sensitive land issues, and they have all said we are doing very well in regard to how we allow for percolation of storm runoff and recharging the aquifer. Again, I don’t want to over regulate where it’s unnecessary, so I don’t see any need to update our current Sensitive Land Ordinance. We are not going to be annexing ground in the North Fields, and we really have no plans to expand our boundaries more than we already have. All properties currently annexed into the city already fall under the existing Sensitive Land Ordinance and I believe that is sufficient. It’s difficult for me to encourage more time spent when I feel like our efforts would be better used elsewhere.
Next, the consent agenda had quite a few items, including:
Approval of the minutes from our November 15th meeting
Approval of the 2023 annual holidays for staff
Approval of partial annexation fee adjustment for the LA Bonner annexation (a 1-acre lot moving from the county to the city)
Approval of an annual road maintenance project agreement with Horrocks Engineering
Approval of the mayor’s nomination of Madysin Flinders to the Parks, Open Space, Trails, and Trees Committee
The first public hearing was to approve a budget amendment. It’s worth noting that any time the budget is amended or extra funds are needed, it must come before residents in a public hearing. This year, we need it in order to approve additional costs associated with the North Village master plan, stormwater design manual, and traffic study. We also needed extra funding for the building department, manpower, and professional services, along with the anticipated additional building permit revenue. There was another line item in the budget for the city attorney and assistant city manager positions, as well as a budget for the city attorney department and professional services for the new city attorney. We must also have money set aside for Red Ledges Park improvements and the Mill Road bridge replacement. Lastly, there was a change to allow for the purchase of trenching boxes for safety.
Among our action items for the evening, we reviewed proposed amendments to Sawmill plats four and seven. This has been a bit of a sticking point with the council, but I believe Sawmill brought forward something we can all agree on. They have made space for a public park and lowered the number of homes on a new piece of ground. Next, we considered acceptance of the Red Ledges Northwest Annexation Petition for a piece of ground at approximately 1900 North 2000 East, on the northeast corner of the Red Ledges development. The owner of the adjacent lot has a right of way through his property, and Red Ledges wants to annex the neighboring property into Heber City to be able to adjust the lot lines. This would give the landowner a compromise by moving his property boundary outside of the area where the right of way sits. Red Ledges has said this would be a one-for-one trade, and I fully support what they’re doing as it is common sense.
Lastly, we had a discussion about the roundabout on Mill Road and potential access to adjacent properties for Bypass Section B. We directed staff to keep that intersection a roundabout, but with as little impact to the surrounding landowners as possible. Although this new road has caused some heartache for the neighboring residences, I truly feel it will be a benefit to the community in the long run.
When I reflect back on 2022, my first year serving on the Heber City Council, I realize there were a lot of highs and lows. As we enter into the Christmas season and the new year, I want to recommit to the citizens of Heber that I’m going to do everything in my power to work for their interests as a member of the City Council. I want to continue to look forward and make plans for the great things to come. I want Heber City to continue to be a community in which I am proud to live and call my home. I want to be a better neighbor and friend to those around me — and it’s my goal to always consider all sides. Most of all, I want to remember that all of us are people with dreams, hopes, and aspirations. We look at the issues that come before the city not just as problems, but as solutions to help people live their lives in the best way possible.
Thank you again for the trust you have placed in me. Heber will continue to be a wonderful place to live as long as we work together!
Kind regards, D. Scott Phillips Heber City Council