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Heber City pumps brakes on housing along U.S. 40

North Village Annexation.jpg
Heber City
On Tuesday, the Heber City Council considered the North Village annexation proposal, which included several development agreements within a 60-acre parcel east of U.S. 40 north of downtown Heber City.

A few proposed housing communities and commercial spaces couldn’t cross the finish line in Tuesday’s Heber City Council meeting. 

Heber might have folded a 60-acre parcel into city limits and approved residential and commercial developments along with it Tuesday, but city council members said they weren’t ready.

Opinions were mixed about the proposals, which included a subdivision with more than 20 houses that would allow nightly rentals, a five-story senior living center and hundreds of townhomes. Ultimately, council members voted 3 to 1 to revisit the topic later. Yvonne Barney voted no, and Scott Phillips was not present.

Council members said they hadn’t had time to review some aspects of the development proposals that came up the day of the meeting.

Councilmember Ryan Stack said when it came to affordable housing requirements and other details, one development needed more time on the drawing board.

“We have to make sure that we’re being incredibly careful,” he said, “that we’re responsive to the public pressure and the public concern, and we hear them, and it’s important to them that we get this right. Some of this we are seeing for the first time. I’m not going to vote for an annexation that I’m seeing for the first time. We don’t even have a map.”

Councilmember Yvonne Barney said she opposed the proposals because she didn’t want to approve new growth.

Later in the meeting, the council also made a procedural change. Those present voted 4 to 0 to give the authority to approve public hearings to the city council.

Although Mayor Heidi Franco argued that effort circumvented the powers her position ought to have, the vote moved forward. City Attorney Mark Smedley said at the end of the day, it’s up to the council to decide how meetings are called and run.

The move appeared related to a mayor-council conflict that arose earlier in the fall.

In late September, Franco called a public hearing at a well-attended public meeting about the Heber Valley Airport. That sparked debate over how meetings should be called.

Franco said she was just following through on something that had been promised to the public but not yet scheduled. Council members said it was problematic because they had no notice and later scheduled a community Q&A in the place of the official public hearing.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.