WHAT TO SAY?

  Development IS going to happen here, because homes are needed for the growing population of Heber Valley. But how much development is good and necessary, and  what kind of atmosphere should it create for the Valley?

 

  How do we achieve balance between providing homes for people and not destroying the reasons that folks want to live here in the first place?

  Perhaps you're concerned, but you are wondering what the most important issues are, and what you would like to ask the Candidates for Mayor and City Council.  You're not alone! This can be a new thing for many people.

 

                    Here are some ideas and topics for discussion and thought:

  OPEN SPACE

  PRESERVING OPEN SPACE WAS THE NUMBER ONE CONCERN of citizens who helped create

  "Envision Heber 2050."  

  We believe that the Heber citizens meant green, open space. When developers say they are  including "open space" (perhaps around 30%) in their plans, their definition of open  space includes roads, parking lots, strips of grass between apartment buildings, and in  the case of the Highlands, a 1000-seat amphitheater.  What does this do to maintain the  beloved atmosphere of Heber Valley?  

  The North Fields are the jewels of Heber Valley and the link to its rural heritage. The North

  Fields are to be protected, according to the citizens who created Envision Heber 2050.

   

  

 As you can see from the graph above (from Envision Heber 2050) over 95% of the citizens

 called for conservation of the North Fields, while only 4.39% felt there was no need.

 Because the City is situating a large portion of its population growth "across" Highway 40,  this does not mean this growth will not seriously change and damage the  North Fields.  

 

 During City Council meetings in 2020, Heber City entertained annexing

 properties WEST of Highway 40 (in the historic North Fields), and seriously considered  

 developers'   plans to collect storm water from the NVOZ for ultimate discharge into

 streams of the North Fields and/or the pristine Provo River. 

 Importantly, developers may buy up irrigation water traditionally used in the North Fields

 to provide water for these massive developments being considered by Heber City.  This

 would result in the drying up of the North Fields and paving the way for development to  follow.  

 Finally, the City may push for traffic bypass roads to go through the North Fields in order

 to handle the vastly increased amount of traffic.

  

  AFFORDABLE HOUSING

  How high of a priority is building affordable/attainable housing for the current residents of Heber?  What are citizens will to give up in exchange for affordable/attainable housing, and  exactly what do those terms mean? The vast majority the housing being approved is not  "affordable housing."  And there are problems with what little is designated as "affordable."  

 In the Highlands Development (part of the North Village Overlay Zone), where almost 1500 housing units are proposed, only 10% are designated as "affordable." That's less  than 150 units, yet the Valley will still get the fallout from thousands of units of high density development.  We need to know, when developers talk about including "affordable housing,"  exactly what percentage of the proposed housing becomes actually "affordable" to Heber City  residents, and will Heber City residents have priority access to it?" Otherwise, for example,  Park City landlords could buy it up to house their employees from ski resorts and hotels. And  what protections will be put into place to maintain the housing as affordable?  At another  development in Heber, the deed restrictions expire after two years and then the housing

 could  revert to market pricing.

  Most people do not want to see Heber become a bedroom community for Park City.

  Will there be enough jobs IN Heber Valley to provide employment  for a population double

  or triple the current size?

  POPULATION - SHOOTING BEYOND THE MARK OF ENVISION HEBER 

  Using the state's own projections, Envision Heber 2050 planned for a population

  of 31,395 by 2050.

 

  The 2020 census estimates the Heber population it to be 17,894. With the      addition of ONLY the approximately 7,300 housing units which have already been

 approved to be built in the next thirty years, and assuming an average of four people

 per household (which is probably conservative for Utah), that would bring the population  to nearly 50,000 people in Heber Valley by 2050, well over the projection in Envision  Heber. 

 

  With the additional developments that are now seeking City annexation and high density    approval, that number would increase by thousands more.

 

  This is a small valley. The rate at which Heber City is approving population growth is    unsustainable without severe degradation of the quality of life.

 

  POLLUTION AND TRAFFIC

 We need clean water, clean air and traffic management. Vigilance over these issues is  more important than ever.  Have ALL NECESSARY STUDIES been done to allow  the population of this Valley to double or triple while maintaining its environment so it is  a healthy place for people to live?

 The Provo River is in grave danger of irreversible pollution from the storm water runoff  which will come from these developments.

  (Click on the "Pollution" tab (coming soon) for more information about these issues).

  RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE CITY AND DEVELOPERS

  The Heber Mayor, City Council, and City Staff are good people, often tasked with solving

  difficult problems, which they individually sometimes approach in different ways. 

  The bottom line is that the more residential units developers build, the more money they     make.  Developers are a formidable force and influence on the City.  

  Is Heber City LISTENING AND RESPONDING to the concerns of its citizens, or yielding to  pressure from  developers?

  Does the proposed annexation code for the North Village Overlay Zone favor developers

  or the residents of Heber Valley?

 

 Why the rush to approve so many more units now (ie: the North Village Overlay Zone),

 when over 7,300 units were already approved in 2020?  Some City Council members and    Developers argue that "We've been working on these plans for a year!" Or "We've been        working on these plans for eighteen months!"  Once these approvals are given

 THERE WILL BE NO GOING BACK.  Isn't it worth taking the time to do it right?

 It is common for developers to receive entitlements from cities and then "flip" the    property, selling it to other developers. What binding assurances will the City receive

 from developers that the promises they make in exchange entitlements will actually be  kept?

  HOW THINGS ARE GOING TO LOOK

 

 The point is, we don't know. And that's a problem. We won't really know until the    buildings are up and the traffic is felt.  That is why we should not over-approve

 and over-entitle developers' plans now.  A few last things to consider...

 Do you feel that clustering higher buildings (ie: apartments, condos) with parks or  some sort of open space (real open space, not parking lots) in between is

 preferable to single family homes?  Larger building create fewer "rooftops," but    visually can create a more crowded look.

 

 What heights do you feel are acceptable for multi-unit buildings?  3, 4, 5 stories?  

 As an example, the Best Western hotel at the south end of town is a four-story  building. How many buildings like that would you like to see clustered together in  the North  Village Overlay Zone (NVOZ)?

 

 The Wasatch Commons apartments are also four stories.  How do you feel about  seeing many more buildings like those, or another story higher, across from the  North Fields?  The "Jewels of Heber Valley" on one side of the road and something  that looks like Orem or Lehi on the other?

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