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Heber City Council to discuss bypass, RAP tax, and drought plans

Ben Lasseter

Plans for growth, from how best to handle increased traffic to how water should be conserved during a drought, are on Tuesday’s Heber City Council agenda.

For the past several years, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has been planning a bypass to relieve traffic congestion on U.S. 40, which also doubles as Heber’s Main Street. The agency has narrowed it down to five possible routes through the valley and is now in the middle of an environmental impact study.

But last week, UDOT called a meeting with Heber City Council and Wasatch County officials to ask if they wanted to kill the project. Heber City Councilman Ryan Stack and Heber Mayor Heidi Franco attended that meeting.

On Tuesday, Stack wants to update the city council on what took place. According to a memo he sent the council describing the meeting, “UDOT does not want to be so calloused as to proceed with something that a majority of County and City residents oppose.”

Stack’s memo said everyone attending that meetingwas in favor of UDOT continuing its study, but that there was no consensus on which proposed route would be preferred.

Mayor Franco wants north fields off the table. Stack wants all routes considered. However, Stack’s memo makes it very clear that Heber City would have no involvement in a rezone of the land in question because the north fields are almost entirely unincorporated which means they’re under Wasatch County jurisdiction.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council will discuss forming an advisory committee to help identify potential projects that would qualify for RAP tax funding. The money generated by the tax will help fund arts programs and facilities, parks and trails.

Watch County, Heber City and Midway governments have entered an interlocal agreement to share the money based on population and spending in communities. This means Heber City would get the largest share, half the money collected, which could be more than $351,000 a year.

The report prepared for the council takes a close look at how Moab City allocated its RAP tax revenues and suggests Heber do the same. Under that model, 20% of the funds would be allocated to nonprofits with the remaining 80% for city specific projects. Those could include things like pedestrian trials and bike paths, arts and culture programs, murals, roundabout art, park amenities and open space projects.

The council could also adopt a water shortage plan for Heber. That was originally called a “Drought Response Plan,” but after feedback from council members has been changed to “Water Shortage Plan,” because it outlines general and emergency water shortage provisions during periods of drought, temporary water shortage and supply interruption.

The plan outlines where water will be prioritized in a shortage and at what stages residents will be forced to conserve through voluntary and then mandatory restrictions. Specific fines for not following the conservation actions have been removed from the plan.

The meeting will be held at 75 North Main Street in Heber and starts at 4 p.m. A link to the virtual meeting can be found here.