Our meeting on Tuesday started with a UDOT presentation regarding the bypass, as well as an environmental impact statement (EIS) project update. To learn more, there are several resources available on the UDOT website. This presentation served as a great reminder that the purpose of the Heber Valley quarter project is to improve regional and local mobility on US-40 from SR-32 to US-189. It should also provide opportunities for non-motorized transportation while allowing Heber City to meet its vision for the historical town center. The alternatives have been narrowed down to five options, all on the west side of town, making the route more clear. I’m confident that this bypass will be incredibly beneficial to our community as we continue to see an uptick in traffic.
One aspect of the presentation that was particularly helpful was an alternative impact summary. This was a chart that clearly displayed the impact of each alternative. The current regional travel time on US-40 is 10 minutes and 40 seconds. If we keep Highway 40 as is, that will increase to 19 minutes and 5 seconds by the year 2050.
Here’s a look at the various options and how they would impact travel time:
WA1 decreases the travel time to 9 minutes and 10 seconds
WB1 decreases travel time to 10 minutes and 25 seconds
WB2 decreases travel time to 10 minutes and 5 seconds
WB3 decreases travel time to 8 minutes and 55 seconds
WB4 decreases travel time to 7 minutes and 45 seconds
In conclusion, I’m looking forward to watching this process play out. I am confident that the right decisions will be made to improve the traffic situation.
Next item on the agenda was a review of recommendations for the Envision code update. As we continue to use Envision 2050 as our guide in planning for growth, there are city code updates that must be made to reduce confusion. I was pleased with how this discussion played out.
Moving along, Regal Homes was in attendance to inquire about amending the Sawmill Master Plan Phase 4A and 4B. They are acquiring a piece of property that they would like to incorporate in their development, which would increase the number of units by seven. After much discussion, Councilmember Stack and I agreed that we would agree to five new units, but we want to protect the dedicated open space as much as possible.
Unfortunately, there were two work meeting items that we passed over due to time constraints. This prompted us to start the regular meeting where the consent agenda was passed. I abstained from voting because I was not fully present for the meeting on May 17, 2022. Part of this consent agenda included approval of a development agreement for the Bennett Four-Plex located at 242 South 100 West. This has been discussed in two previous meetings and was approved based on its location within the downtown overlay zone.
We then hosted three public hearings to start off the meeting. The first was Heber City’s annual fraud risk assessment. The good news is, we are scoring very well on our fraud risk. The second hearing was regarding the annual unbilled general fund utility services. This is because the city does not charge itself utility costs for city buildings or parks. The third hearing was a resolution to amend the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget.
Next, we took a recess as the city council and reconvened as CRA board. For this meeting, we approved our 2022 budget for the CRA. We also planned a strategic session to discuss priorities and how to further pursue interlocal agreements that will make the CRA possible.
After continuing our regular meeting, we approved resolutions to amend the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget and approved the 2022-2023 final budget. We also approved an inter-fund note to transfer funds between the Capital Projects Fund 42 and Culinary Water Fund 51. This is an important part of facilitating large capital improvements to the downtown area of Heber City.
We also discussed amending the city’s financial planning policy to include regular reviews of Truth in Taxation. It is difficult for the city to keep up with the current rate of inflation without regular Truth in Taxation hearings. As expenses grow, our taxes don’t automatically rise to protect against those higher costs. Knowing this, we decided that the council should have the option to conduct a review every other year. I supported this measure along with the majority of the council.
Moving along, we discussed regulating shipping containers in commercial zones. As it currently stands, they are not permitted. However, there are many properties that currently have shipping containers. In light of this, the council was reviewing policies to consider allowing them. A majority agreed that shipping containers are a key component of many businesses and should be allowed. My opinion is that it would be best to limit the number of containers to one per business. The motion went forward without a limit, but we agreed to limit the contents of the shipping containers to only allow items pertaining to the on-site business. In an effort to support our local businesses, I approve of this decision.
Lastly, Heber City will soon be getting a new fitness court. Muirfield Park was originally discussed as a good location, but in addition to being on the outskirts of town, there have been issues with vandalism. The final decision has been made to place the fitness court in the new park by the Wasatch View development, which is currently being built near the high school. Our hope is that this will allow more people to access the new amenity.
We had enough time at the end of the meeting to revisit the work items that were passed over earlier, including a campaign to discourage idling in cars to keep our air clean. My favorite slogan was, “I care about Heber air, choose to be idle-free.” Our hope is that this campaign will help us keep our air clean for generations to come.
D. Scott Phillips
Heber City Council