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Heber City Council begins 2023 with airport, water decisions

As a milestone in the ongoing Heber Valley Airport master planning process looms, disagreements between Heber City Council members and Heber Mayor Heidi Franco have sparked discord.
Heber City
Part of the proposed upgrades of the Heber Valley Airport is to shift the runway southwest, away from U.S. Highway 189, and to widen it.

This week, the Heber City Council has decisions to make about its airport and how people water their lawns in town.

Heber’s plan for airport upgrades is nearly ready, and the Heber City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to move the process into a new phase.

Heber City Councilman and pilot Scott Phillips said a decision at this meeting won’t bind the city to any plans but could set up a more permanent decision in February.

“We're going to give staff direction to give feedback for our understanding of it and direction towards the February meeting, where we'd like to have a plan that we can approve and move forward with,” he said.

He said the most important aspects of the latest design involve the runway and its level of safety for the planes that use it.

“The runway would be moved,” Phillips said. “This would be to distance it from Highway 189 to add more buffer for safety zones, because we have jets landing there currently that are faster than what the airport is built for.”

Heber City Manager Matt Brower said if the council approves the plan Tuesday, his office will spend the next month ironing out details of the airport layout plan. Along with shifting the runway southwest and widening it, the design includes new hangars, a park area and new amenities like a restroom for pilots.

Water use is also on the council’s agenda Tuesday.

The council could approve a new ordinance that would restrict Heberites from watering their lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Also, the city plans to install water meters at people’s homes so it can track how much water people use to water their lawns. That enables the city to charge people based on how much water they use.

The city plans to buy and install meters at homes that don’t already have them. In the meeting Tuesday, the council will vote on whether to approve $2.5 million in irrigation revenue bonds to do so.

According to Phillips, it’s part of the city’s goal to reduce water use. It could change how people in town pay for secondary water.

He said to residents, “As we put in the meters and start monitoring use, you will be charged based on what you use, and part of those fees go toward paying the bond to actually put in the infrastructure to have the pressurized irrigation. Pressurized irrigation helps to reduce water usage and keeps people aware of how much water they're using.”

The meeting is Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Heber City Hall, 75 North Main Street. The full agenda and a link to attend the meeting via Zoom are available at heberut.gov.

Corrected: January 18, 2023 at 3:14 PM MST
A previous version of this article stated the Heber City Council would hold a vote on whether to continue the airport planning study. According to the meeting agenda, the council planned guide city staff on the future of the process without a formal vote.
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