The Heber City Planning Commission wants to hear from the public whether to include a parcel of land in Wasatch County in the city's annexation map. The country long ago approved the land for resort development on the southwest corner of US 40 and River Road.
In their last meeting, the Heber Planning Commission decided they won't make a recommendation until they hold a public hearing.
According to Heber City Planning Director Tony Kohler, the Heber City Council is conflicted on including the parcel in their annexation plan because the property's entitlements are more permissive than the current county code. Environmental concerns exist due to the proximity to the North Fields, the Provo River, and Rock Creek. The entitled North Village Resort development may dramatically impact the viewshed at the northern entry to Heber City.
"It is fairly visible if you're coming down the highway coming down from Park City is one of the first things you see is the Northfields, and there was concern that having the hotel resort there would have a detrimental impact on the visibility and aesthetics of the green agrarian entrance into the valley."
He said some feel the city should annex the property because it is an entry corridor and good for the sales and property tax, and it's good for the town to control its borders and entrances. Ultimately the city voted not to include the parcel in the annexation policy plan.
"The Council looked at it. They felt the cons outweighed the pros and, as a result, remanded it back to the Planning Commission, but it wasn't an easy decision. The council warmed up to the idea initially, and then as they researched the issue and found out more, they became cold to the issue. And then they found out more, and then they warmed up to it again, and then they went cold again. And I know it's been a frustration for the annexation petitioner."
Bruce Baird representing the North Village Resort developer, said initially, Wasatch County told him the type of development should be in the city. He said, at first, Heber City liked the idea of the projected $1.5 million in yearly tax revenue.
"It all seems just sort of like theater to me. I've not had one substantive conversation with the City Council about how to meet whatever objectives they see for this property. This property has entitlements. We've paid water and sewer for 16 years. It's been entitled for 20-years as a master plan development agreement. It's preliminarily been platted. It's complying with all regulations. It complies with the Envision General Plan, and yet we're just spinning our wheels. And so, it seems disingenuous to have the conversation of keeping it in the city of there's no intention of the city ever being involved with it.”
Planning Commissioner David Richards said he hopes the public weighs in before the public hearing scheduled for March 9. He also asked for the County Council's input on the annexation plan and it be made available to the public before the March meeting. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.