During 2019 Heber residents participated in a city led effort to update their general plan. Now, the finishing touches are being placed on that plan.
Heber City Mayor Kellen Potter explains the 2019 initiative Envision Heber 2050 was part of an effort to update Heber’s general plan which was last updated in 2003.
“In the past we had a small town and there was always a lot of need for incentives to get people to come here, and to grow, and now we're saying whoa! A lot of people are saying slow down,” Potter explained. “We want to make sure we maintain what we love about this city as we have more people coming and more development. Those are some of the feelings that came through in those meetings.”
Potter says adopting the general plan may come before the council in early February. After which the council, staff and planning commission will dig into the details of applying the plan to city code.
A new development guaranteed to have a large impact on Heber’s future growth is the 8,000-acre, 5,500-unit Sorenson property. The developers of the property applied in the second half of 2019 to be annexed from unincorporated Wasatch County into Heber City.
When the original Sorenson application in there was a timeline established that could have seen final approval in February of 2020. Potter says that timeline was pushed back due to the municipal elections.
“Things have sort of slowed down because there was no point in digging into the details with a council that wasn't going to be voting on it,” Potter said. “So, we kept moving forward with suggestions from planning commission and staff and the previous council, but we're going to dive back in starting on the first meeting in January. So, the new council will have all the information they need to be able to make the best decision for Heber City.”
The developers had previously received entitlement and density from Wasatch County before later applying to be annexed into Heber City.
“Back when they started wanting to annex, we had a memorandum of understanding with the County that we would essentially keep what they had agreed to as far as open faith and density,” Potter continued. “So, a lot of that was decided previously by the County. We're not looking at, well how much density should we give? I don't think that the city would have ever done an annexation like this if there wasn't already some entitlements given to it. It would have probably been little chunks at a time and nothing like what we're seeing right now.”
Potter says its fortunate that the developer’s vision for their project reflects the vision the public shared as part of Envision Heber 2050.
“People are saying we would like to see lots of open space,” Potter explained. “We would like to see it connected and walkable and trails. So we're seeing a lot of that in this proposal and we’ll continue to look at those details as it comes through the process.”
Potter says that the update to the general plan and working with the Sorenson property is all part of an effort by the council to be more proactive rather than reactive.