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Heber City Council Creates Historic Committee On Tuesday, Nearly Ready To Update General Plan

Heber City

Heber City Council’s meeting on Tuesday looked at how to plan for the city’s future, and also looked at honoring and preserving its past.

Heber City Council met in early January at their annual retreat to identify priorities for the upcoming year, at Tuesday night’s council meeting the council began their work to implement those priorities. Heber City council member Rachel Kahler said among priorities established include maintaining infrastructure such as roads, sewer and water. Another large priority is updating the Heber City general plan.

“It really is about codes, and how do we create codes that are more effective and cleaning up the language,” Kahler explained. So, we hope to do more of that, cleaning up the zoning, really looking at what makes sense for Heber City as we move forward. So, I encourage anyone that's interested in understanding what the vision for the council and the vision for Heber City, to go online to HeberEnvision.com and see those notes.”

After nearly a year of the Envision Heber 2050 project the city update to the general plan will be presented to the Planning Commission on January 28th, with a public hearing at 6:00 pm at Heber City Council Chambers. Afterwards the city council will work through the process with Kahler saying the hope is that the plan will be ratified by mid-March. While the city has been working on the update to the general plan, simultaneously the Sorenson property has been working through the annexation process. Kahler says while the two items were independent, they were also complimentary.

“Sorenson property, as you know, is over 9,000 acres with 5,500 units approved through the county,” Kahler said. “The developer is not asking for additional density, because he already has that open space and the units per open space that he's looking for. So, it complements well with the requirements and the hopes that we have to continue to build out with open space in mind. So even though they were on parallel paths they actually complement each other very well.”

At Tuesday evenings meeting council also approved the creation of a historic committee. The committee is the first of its kind in the cities 125 years.

“Focused on how do we retain and restore and value our historic community,” Kahler continued. “We've got a great Daughters of the Utah Pioneers organizations, but their focus has been more on the pioneers and the ancestries and restoring those stories. Mayor Potter’s focus is how do we keep these beautiful historic homes. How do we renovate them? How do we preserve them? So, this committee—and she’s still taking applications—will do that, will start saying we value these beautiful pioneer homes. As Ms. Palmer presented to us last night, she said there's probably 10 homes within Heber proper that are pioneer homes from the early 1900s. How can we preserve them, and then how can we restore them back to their original grace?”

Council also once again discussed nightly rentals. In addition to hearing from staff on their work the council also heard from Airbnb owner Camille Palmer who purchased her family’s historical home which she renovated and is now in the Airbnb market.

“We really have a vision for how do we reinvigorate downtown, one of those ideas is with nightly home rentals,” Kahler explained. “So, to hear this homeowner talk about her labor of love, working on this house, bringing it back to life, and then having people come and stay and appreciate that, it was really exciting. Of course, we had a lot of discussions also about how do we protect neighborhoods? How do we protect our rental market, so that it doesn't become over flooded with nightly rentals?”

Kahler described the discussion as a first of more, and that the council plans to explore other communities that have been dealing with nightly rentals for a longer time and find out and implement the best plan for Heber moving forward.

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