North Village Zone Change Draws Nearly 200 To Virtual Meeting
The Heber City Council met Tuesday night. It took public input on the North Village Development process of approving a zone change in anticipation of annexing thousands of acres from Wasatch County into Heber City.
The Heber City Council work session and a public meeting were held virtually, and during the six hour-long events, there were nearly 200 people signed on the meeting link. Comments came from virtual participants, emailed letters to the council, and even some in-person attendees.
The purpose of taking public comment was to hear concerns about the City's process to make changes to the existing zoning code. The council has not approved the NVOZ. It's been long discussed in city meetings, and this session was the fourth opportunity for the public to give input.
Heber City Planner Tony Kohler gave an overview. He asked the public to limit their comments to the NVOZ and not stray into the development proposals or the potential annexations. He said the growth anticipated north of town is inevitable. The development approval was granted by Wasatch County 20-years ago.
“North of town from Heber to Park City, there are developments that total 13,000 ERU’s, that is an Equivalent Residential Unit. Most of those are built as some of those turn as commercial enterprises. You are looking at a population that could reach 30,000 to 35,000.”
There were multiple comments from attendees asking the council to consider transportation, traffic, and trails connection carefully. John Kenworthy owns the River’s Edge Resort right below the Jordanelle Dam.
“I’ve been very impressed with the city process in the public comment. I want to focus on trails and regional transportation in the future. I want to make sure that there are plans for this within this area that's being zoned right now.”
Many participants elevated traffic concerns. Wasatch County Planning Commission Member Scott Brubaker gave personal comments, which he said are his personal opinions on the NVOZ.
“There’s a little more study that needs to be done. And as a civil engineer, I know you can at least get some guidelines from traffic engineers of what this is going to do. It's a big enough project that we could give them three or four scenarios and have them work that up. I think traffic is the main issue.”
Resident Jay, whose last name was not identified, said traffic problems at Kimball Junction should be a cautionary tale for Heber as the NVOZ waits for approval from the Council. Several people asked the council to address infrastructure and road issues such as building a bypass before development gets underway.
“My biggest concerns is around traffic and I've seen some comments about we don't want another Kimball Junction. Nobody really thought about the cumulative impact of all development. People desperately need a bypass which is almost impossible to do because they waited so late to do it.”
Dan Simmons said the environmental impacts of the North Village Development and zone changes should be the top priority.
“I too agree, having the environment last is a mistake. I want the environment near the top of the list. I also believe that the City’s assessment that traffic won’t change is not accurate. I can't see that possibly being the case because the developers own studies say that traffic will change.”
Megan Lawrence is new to Heber and said she is concerned that affordable, high-density housing will bring more crime to the Heber Valley.
“So, we just moved up here in May, from West Jordan. My issue is all the talk of high-density housing. I lived in West Jordan for 10 years and there was tons of high-density housing. I lived right in areas with it. Those areas started seeing a lot of crime and a lot of issues just 'cause they were affordable. And so that's just mainly the comment I want to make, is what will that do to our quality of life in Heber, allowing for so much high density-housing?
Public input lasted for almost three hours, with a response session from the City Council that followed. A link to all the public input can be found here.