Heber City Approves Main Street Redevelopment Plan
Heber City Council approved its plan for an 80-acre redevelopment project around Main Street at a council meeting last night.
The project area plan and budget approved on Tuesday will enable the city to divert tax revenues to projects within an 80-acre zone downtown.
Mayor Kelleen Potter said the decisions involved were, in part, a step toward fulfilling a larger plan to bolster tourism and the local economy over roughly the next 30 years, called “Envision Heber.”
She said the plan will enable the city to implement specific visions within the project area, which she said will be based on the interests of residents.
“We totally support people staying in their homes in this old town as long as they want,” Potter said. “The notion is that there may be someone that comes in, buys them out and doesn’t want to create something that would be best for the city, and this gives us some flexibility in those areas.”
On Tuesday, the council approved the project area plan and budget. The project area plan passed by a vote of 3 to 1.
Councilwoman Heidi Franco cast the dissenting vote. She voiced concerns that the city had not done enough to tell property owners in the project area how they could object to the plan.
She cited part of the state code that says if 51% of property owners within a project area like the one approved last night formally object to the plan, it cannot move forward. Her concern was that the city had not included this in any public announcements.
She and the rest of the council said they were learning of this stipulation for the first time. The mayor and other council members said the public had the opportunity to object at the July 6 public hearing, and the concern did not warrant halting the approval of the plan.
City officials say the budget plan for the project will not result in additional property taxes for residents.
The budget plan designates the project area as a community reinvestment area, or CRA. A CRA is a financial tool that allows cities to reappropriate tax dollars to city projects. The city estimates this would generate $36.2 million over 20 years.
Next, the city will look to enlist other taxing entities in the area to invest portions of tax revenues they receive in future downtown projects.
Potter said the most crucial ones will be the county and school district. The city will look to work with others like the parks and recreation department and fire district will agree to contribute, too.
“Any taxing entity in the valley, they don’t have to [contribute to the Heber City project],” but if they do, “that just makes it better, cause there’s just that much more revenue to use in these investments,” she said.
“So really, that’s the next steps, working through some details and seeing if they are willing. We have talked to them and worked with them. We just don’t know yet if the votes are there on these councils to enter agreements with the city on the CRA.”
She said the city will look to work on interlocal agreements with those taxing entities within the next few months.