In 2016 Wasatch County Council passed a resolution stating their opposition to an expansion at the Heber Valley Airport. However, the council is now holding off on making a statement against expansion, instead they plan to work through the airport master plan steering committee.
Wasatch County Council member Steve Farrell said they brought the 2016 resolution back to their agenda at the Wednesday May 1st meeting for new council members to review.
“What we’d like to do is hold off on taking any action on this until after we see the results of the steering committee and the recommendation that comes back from that before we move forward,” Farrell said.
Heber City sent an invitation to the Wasatch County Council to have a membership on the Heber Airport master plan steering committee. The Wasatch County Council requested an additional seat on the committee, which the city is considering. County officials recommended that one or both of the at-large council members, either council member Mairlyn Crittenden or Steve Farrell be appointed to the committee.
Council member Crittenden agreed that the county should play a role in the steering committee.
“The airports a big deal to the county,” Crittenden said. “I mean it affects—we are a very small area,”
“It is,” Farrell replied. “I think we need to identify what’s the value, county wide to the airport.”
“I agree,” Crittenden answered.
“That’s why I’d like to hold off and let the steering committee work,” Farrell continued. “Then come back and have that group report to us, our representatives on the steering committee report before we take any action on a new resolution.”
Some citizens expressed concern at the council meeting. One asked the council to consider holding a public hearing to allow Heber Citizens to voice opposition to a potential expansion from a BII to a CII airport. Another citizen suggested that Wasatch County place a bond on the ballot to have citizens vote on whether taxpayers would want to pay for the maintenance and operations costs of the airport. Wasatch County Chair Danny Goode explained that although they are not reaffirming the 2016 resolution against expansion that doesn’t mean that they won’t reaffirm later.
“In 2016 when we passed this, we did this in a public hearing,” Goode explained. “We had overflows out in the hallways. The reason I think that councilmember Farrell, and I support the idea, is that we hold off a little and not take a political action that could harm the process of the study of the airport. That doesn’t stop us from holding a public hearing at the end of the process and reaffirming this resolution.”
Heber City statements have emphasized that the outcome of the Airport master plan is not predetermined and that the master plan update is not a license for expansion of the airport.