Heber City Council discussed nightly rentals, annexations to the north and the fiscal year budget at their meeting last week.
Heber City’s nearly 31-million-dollar budget was approved last week. Council member Rachel Kahler says they did reduce the budget based on projections, but staff and the council believe the city revenue will not be hit as hard as some areas. Kahler says that’s in part because Heber City municipality is not as dependent on tourism tax dollars.
“Our city budget really is largely funded by sales tax revenue, some property tax, not a lot of tourism dollars,” Kahler explained. “That's where we're seeing the biggest hit from an economic standpoint, is tourism in our area. But our sales tax dollars, surprisingly, we’re up 11% in March. We’re attributing that to more people are shopping online and we’re actually receiving more tax benefits because people—rather than going to Utah County or Salt Lake County are ordering from home and we're actually receiving those sales dollars.”
Also discussed at the meeting was night sky ordinances to try and reduce light pollution in Heber, as well as discussions surrounding nightly rentals in the city. The city is considering an ordinance that would limit nightly rentals to Old Town Heber.
“An area that we really want to identify as an opportunity for investors to come in and create short term rentals in that Old Town,” Kahler continued. “But protecting our neighborhoods by not letting them go off to the highest bidder. We do have parameters where if you're already having a short-term rental, or if you're using your house, or you’ve got a bedroom for an AirBnB. We’re limiting the number of guests. For example, if you've got a large house we're limiting the number of guests to eight people. So that way you’re still able to rent that out to a family, but what we're trying to avoid is renting it out to an entire family reunions that you’ve got 12 cars out spilling out onto the roadway and really creating a distraction for your neighbors.”
At last Tuesday’s meeting the council also discussed the North Village Overlay Zone. The annexation area is made up of multiple developers and is located to the north and east of Highway 40. Kahler says the annexation application is currently under council consideration.
“This is a really important step in Heber City's future,” Kahler said. “We need to decide what that corridor is going to look like. My hope is that it's not just apartment complexes. That we can really make it a commercial, mixed use, residential area with some great parks and trails.”
Kahler says most of the developers in the zone don’t yet have entitlements, so the city hopes to limit density. The council will be meeting this Wednesday at 6:00 pm in an open meeting to discuss their plans for the North Village moving forward.