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Wasatch County
Heber, Midway and Wasatch County

Election Preview: Wasatch Prop 10 Part 1

This story features those who ask for a no vote on Prop 10. A story featuring those who are asking a yes vote on Prop 10 is available at this link.

Prop 10 challenges an action made by Wasatch County Council earlier this year to redraw planning area lines in the county. Because of the wording of the referendum those in favor of the zone change by the council will vote Yes on Prop 10, those against the council’s change will vote No on Prop 10.

In Wasatch County zoning of property impacts how many homes can be on a piece of land. An RA-5 zone means one home can be on every five acres of land. RA-20 means that one home can be on every 20 acres of land.

The Wasatch County General Plan has several areas, that have similar zoning requirements for each property in the areas. The Southern Planning Area allows for RA-5 zoning while the Central Planning Area only allows for RA-20.

Back in 2014 the council changed the zoning of the Central Planning area which included the North Fields from RA-20 to RA-10. A referendum which appeared on the 2016 ballot saw approximately 70% of voters reverse the council’s decision meaning that the North Fields area remained less dense than proposed.

Last year, one land owner who had property that bordered the Southern and Central Planning area came to the council asking them to allow their property in the Central area to have more dense zoning.

The council instead changed the boundary of the planning area. Approximately 30 acres were moved from the Southern area to the Central Planning area and 20 acres from the Central area to the Southern Planning area.

Tracy Taylor is one of the citizens behind the referendum. She says that the boundary change will negatively affect the North Fields.

“The council decided to move a boundary of the central planning area which is where the north fields is located.” Taylor continued, “The boundary is the very southern boundary of the Central Planning area. It has A-20 zoning on one side and RA-5 zoning on the other. One land owner applied for a re-zone. The county council said that they needed to have an amendment to the general plan to move the boundary for him. That’s what the county council took maybe six to eight months to do. Move the boundary to the other side of this man’s property to allow him to have one house per five acres instead of one house per twenty acres.”

Taylor says that the boundary change sets a bad precedence

“The North Fields is a very sensitive and sentimental piece of property in our county.” Taylor explained, “We argue that the North Fields is located in the central planning area. Where this boundary is being moved. So, to say it doesn’t have anything to do with the North Fields, we believe is not correct. Because once you move a boundary you have now set a precedent where that could be a ripple effect and the next land-owner is going to want the boundary moved to the other side of his property. Where are you going to decide one land owner gets it and another land owner is not allowed to? That would be a very bad precedent to set. It would be very difficult for the county to uphold the general plan in the future. This decision by the county council introduced new zoning into the central planning area.”

Taylor says that the changes to the plan are unwarranted.

“The general plan is saying there needs to be a buffer of agricultural area between Heber and Midway.” Taylor said, “It’s talking about soils, the watershed, the sensitive habitat. It’s actually quite specific in saying ‘look you can amend this only if it reinforces objectives of this general plan.’ The founding fathers of this general plan—100 of the most respected citizens of Wasatch County 20 years ago a lot of them were farmers—they’re the ones that set up this general plan. That was very important to them. To protect and preserve Wasatch County. Sure, it can be amended, but one would question whether amending it for one land owner is in the best interest of the community as a whole.”

Taylor says the citizens behind the referendum simply want the rules to stay the same.

“Voting against Proposition 10 is only reinforcing the current General Plan.” Taylor concluded “We’re not trying to change it and put less zoning on there than what currently exists. We want to keep it as it was for the zoning and also for the boundary. We’re not taking anything away the 20-year-old general plan had.”

Tracy Taylor is a citizen behind Proposition 10 on Wasatch County residents’ ballot. She is asking for a no vote on Prop 10. A story featuring those who are asking a yes vote on Prop 10 is available in a link below.

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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