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Heber City Councilor Hopes to Have Some Say In North Village Development

NVOZ Heber City

The North Village Overlay Zone discussion will appear once again on next month's Heber City Council agenda. Wasatch County granted approval decades ago for a resort center development on the southwest corner of U.S. 40 and River Road. The Council is concerned about the approved project and how it fits into the area's plans.


Heber City Council has discussed the North Village Overlay Zone, which includes the Resort Center development, for more than a year. They're working to clarify zoning codes and address future annexation plans.


Over the past 20 years, Wasatch County has approved multiple developments along the US 40 corridor north of Heber City. It includes the Utah Valley University area, the 8,000 residential Sorenson development, and U.S. 40 from the Jordanelle Reservoir to the Heber City line.


Heber City Councilor Mike Johnston does not believe the River Road and U.S. 40 intersection would work as a town center. It sits on a bustling highway corridor that will only get busier as the Jordanelle, Mayflower Resort and North Village developments expand. 


"It's hard to have a town center with a major highway intersection and an overpass in the middle of it,” he said. “What we really see coming there is more commercial and hospitality oriented, not residential oriented."


Johnston said the Envision Heber 2050 plan identifies the area including the Utah Valley University Wasatch Campus as a walkable, mixed-use village town center.


"UVU is commercial, but it's not going to be necessarily highway-oriented commercial or tourist-oriented commercial,” he said. “It's going to be resident-oriented and university students oriented — a very walkable Town Center where all of the density that we're clustering here is within a quarter-mile of that of the center, very pedestrian-oriented, very plaza-oriented, not automobile-oriented. The River Road intersection, a mile-and-a-half north of there, is very different. UDOT tells us there will be a flyover, overpass there. But that is not a walkable Town Center."


Johnston said the Resort Center project on the southwest quadrant of the U.S. 40 and River Road intersection received approval through Wasatch County. The zoning allows for high density, residential and commercial resort development.


"That is a currently approved plan in Wasatch County, not in Heber City, in Wasatch County, for an indoor water park and a lot of townhomes and condos,” he said. “All of them, I think oriented towards tourism and hospitality of this big Resort Center. So that was not on Heber City. That's all in Wasatch County, and that developer has a signed master development agreement to pursue that." 


The developer, represented by Bruce Baird, can decide to continue with the development under Wasatch County jurisdiction or request annexation into Heber City, which may require changes to the developer's MPD agreement.


Johnston said the tax benefits of the Resort Center development should go to Heber City. He said the impacts would be significant, and they want to avoid a Kimball Junction scenario by keeping the U.S. 40 entry as part of Heber's urban development plan.


"We're not keen on it,” he said. “We understand that this intersection and all of North Village will have a significant impact on Heber City's downtown and Heber City, especially with traffic and people coming into town. It is going to happen. We should annex it. And it should at least happen in Heber City so that we can guide that and can benefit from what's coming in the form of our own ordinances and in getting those property taxes and sales taxes and transient room taxes." 


Johnston anticipates the Council will vote on the North Village Overlay Zone's final approval during the March 2 meeting. Once finalized, it enables Heber City to consider annexation of the land north of the city currently under county jurisdiction.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.
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