The Heber City Council has voted 3 to 1 to adopt the North Village Overlay Zone, which could radically reshape the character of Heber City’s northern reaches.
Councilors Mike Johnston, Wayne Hardman, and Ryan Stack voted to approve the new zoning guidelines, while Heidi Franco cast the lone dissenting vote. Rachel Kahler was attending remotely and lost connection before she had the chance to vote, though her answer likely would not have affected the outcome.
Over the past year, the council has received a large amount of public input opposing the new zone ordinance approval for the area east of U.S. 40, north of the intersection with State Route 32, west of the Wasatch Canal, and north of Coyote Lane.
Before the vote, the council addressed ongoing concerns about the NVOZ. Multiple iterations of the document have come to the City Council for discussion in the past year. The public has participated through zoom meetings, and they've provided extensive input to the council and planning department. Most have been in opposition to adopting the new zoning ordinance.
Councilor Johnston made the motion to approve the NVOZ.
"We've had 18 public hearings, public meetings, and at least four, maybe five public meetings this past year and a half,” Johnston said. “This has not been a rushed process. This does not violate the MOU with the County in any way. This does not annex any property. This does not give any support to the current North Village resort plan, which none of us like. I feel this is an exceptional zoning code, much better than Heber City has ever done before. I believe it is even much better than the County's current zoning code in this area.”
Johnston said it's time to move forward rather than backward.
"The city staff has worked hard on this for a year and a half,” he said. “They recommend this. The planning commission has recommended this. Our hired professional consultants have recommended this, and I recommend this too."
Heber City Manager Mark Brower said adopting the NVOZ would clarify the land use for the area north of Heber City, which is currently under county jurisdiction.
"And simply put, the North Village Overlay Zone is an ordinance, a land-use ordinance,” he said. “In every area of the city, every area within the city's jurisdiction has a land use ordinance. The other question is, what happens when the city adopts the NVOZ? And to be quite frank, nothing. Nothing until two additional things happen. One is that the City Council approves an annexation petition and two, negotiates what's called an MDA or master development agreement with the developer."
Brower said Heber City has received four petitions for annexation but has not responded to them due to the need to establish the NVOZ first. He said code can be changed and expects that to happen because the planners can't anticipate everything in advance.
The public has weighed in with concerns about traffic, entitlements and the environment, including how water quality would be affected.
"Does the city have ordinances that will protect the environment; and yes, we do,” Brower said. “And in fact, the council has been discussing many of these ordinances over the last six months to a year. In fact, many elements that would further protect the environment have been included in the NVOZ itself, such as protection of environmentally sensitive areas."