Heber City Council Adopts New General Plan
After over a year of work the updated Heber City general plan was approved at the March 17th City Council meeting.
The updated general plan was unanimously approved at the March 17th Heber City Council meeting. The plan represents more than a year’s work of planning, and engagement. The project was formed through input gathered through social media and the EnvisonHeber website, at the 4th of July Celebration, as well as four large public meetings. The plan was formulated in more than a dozen steering committee meetings featuring more than 20 community members who served on the committee. Heber City Mayor Kellen Potter outlined some of what residents can expect from the plan.
“This plan will require more clustered development,” Potter explained. “It will require greater dedications of open space. It will make sure we have a connected trail system, we’ll see a lot of things like that, that we haven't been as focused on. Our old general plan was just old Euclidean zoning where you have all the big houses here, and that small lots here. So, we're going to see more mixed-use developments, more of a walkable community. I think it's exciting for Heber.”
The result of the updated general plan identified six areas of public concern which make up six chapters of the general plan. Those being quality neighborhoods, centers and gathering places, open space and rural character, outdoor recreation, parks and trails, mobility and streetscapes and jobs and economic development.
Included in the 82-page general plan is a draft map that will inform where and how growth will come into Heber City. For example, the North Fields listed in the agricultural preservation area, and the steep sloped areas in the Mountain preservation area will both have density of only one housing unit allowed for every 20 acres. On the opposite end, historic downtown, the Jordanelle Mountain Village and the area around the UVU campus will have 14 to 30 housing units on a single acre. The vision being that the city can encourage centralized growth and gathering places while simultaneously preserving surrounding open space. Additionally, the city will seek to promote walkability and trails, and a mix of housing in neighborhoods.
With the general plan now in place the city will begin updating codes to bring future development in line with the general plan. While discussing the plan at the March 17th meeting councilmember Ryan Stack noted that those codes will have baseline requirements in the various zones in order to meet city goals. Developers will also have the option to exceed those base standards.
“I agree with leaving some sort of option in place in the general plan that says, Hey, City, we want to make sure your hands aren’t tied and you have a way to do things to make these types of trades to enhance your community,” Stack continued. “But maybe the way to do that is to make it very clear that if we do this, it's going to be only if an applicant exceeds what's required. Everybody is expected to meet the goal. If you want us to deviate from our plan, or from our codes, then you have to exceed what's required.”
Heber City Council intended for the meeting to be a celebration of the passing of the general plan. With members of the steering committee previously invited. With the impacts of COVID-19 hanging overhead the council expressed their intent to recognize the steering members work at another time. Councilmembers including Heidi Franco thanked consultants Christie Oostema and John Janson for their work on the project.
“The difference between the old plan to this plan, is night and day,” Franco said. “Absolutely, and you've been able to help our community vision, what was always in their hearts, but we did not have anything close to it in our old plan, or even our ordinances, perhaps. Now we're going to be able to move in that direction. This is so exciting. Thank you, thank you so much.”
The city has forecasted the updates to code will be discussed and implemented through late fall of this year.