The Heber Envision Process is nearing its end. After some public meetings, and online outreach the big survey for the project closes on July 15th. From there the survey input will be used to complete a draft vision for presentation at a meeting in August.
Envision Heber 2050 asks that before residents take the 30-question survey, they watch a 30-minute presentation which outlines four different proposed scenarios developed from previous public workshops. Scenario A being the status quo with suburban sprawl likely to continue. Scenario B focusing growth mostly along US 40. Scenario C creating town center clusters and Scenario D making those same clusters even denser providing for even more open space. Project consultant and survey author Christie Oostema says that Scenarios C and D have been the most popular responses so far.
“We’re asking a lot of questions about the different scenarios that are on the table,” Oostema explained. “What do people like or dislike about pieces, parts of the scenarios? So, that the vision can pull the best elements from the scenarios into one single picture of the future.”
Oostema says that many residents are in favor of preserving open space, even with the knowledge that many of the open fields in and surrounding Heber City are private property.
“That means likely a bond or other public tax dollars or funding that comes into play,” Oostema continued. “Even thinking about that, people are still tending towards scenarios that do protect and preserve open space to the extent possible.”
The clustered development could mean taller buildings in more compact spaces. Oostema says the opinion on that aspect is mixed.
“My sense is that there some acceptance of buildings that are in scale to the existing Main Street which includes buildings ranging from one to four or five stories,” Oostema said. “I think of the new hotel development for instance on the South end. I think that that's definitely an issue that we need to think through more. More housing option, some more compact, providing more affordability, and taking less land.”
Another item impacting the general plan update is the recent application for annexation from the Sorenson property. The already entitled development would bring in over 8,000 acres and eventually develop over 5,700 units. The city argues that the process of updating the general plan and annexing the Sorenson property complement each other.
Oostema says they’ve been working to reach a large cross section of Heber’s residents
“We’ve received over 400 surveys over the course of the process,” Oostema explained. “We've had about 500 people or so involved at various events. So, we're getting a good segment of the population involved. Then there's a lot of people that are staying tuned on social media.”
Although the survey is unavailable in Spanish the Envision Heber 2050 steering committee has some members who speak the language and are reaching out to the Spanish speaking community.
“For example, at the July 4th city event last week there was a steering committee member there who was reaching out very actively to that population,” Oostema continued. “That's a significant percentage of Heber City’s overall population and we want to make sure they have a voice. We want to learn from Spanish speakers what they're thinking. Also hope they have the opportunity through conversation to learn about the process.”
Oostema says they’ll take survey results to draft a vision for Heber. That will be presented at a public meeting at the end of August.
“From there we’ll dive right into the general plan where we explore issues in more detail,” Oostema said. “The vision is the foundation for the general plan update process. Then we’ll move into code update and that really changes how Heber City will grow and develop over time.”
You can find a link to the survey here.