Envision Heber Holds General Plan Vision Celebration

Heber City residents were introduced to the results of the Envision Heber 2050 process at an open house on Wednesday.

More than 50 Heber residents gathered to the open house at Heber Valley Elementary to share in the unveiling of the new general plan. Heber City Councilmember and member of the Envision Heber 2050 Steering Committee Rachel Kahler outlines what the plan does.

“A vision for the next 20 to 30 years for Heber City,” Kahler explained. “It’s an exciting time because we’ve never really done this as a public forum. The last year the public has met they’ve come with open houses, and with their feedback, and most importantly a vision for our city.”

The new 84-page plan is divided into six elements. Those include quality neighborhoods, centers and gathering places, open space and rural character, outdoor recreation, parks & trails, mobility and streetscapes and jobs, and economic development.

Kahler says the steering committee has been working on strategies to fulfill the citizens’ vision since September.

The 84-page plan concludes with summaries describing higher priority strategies to make improvements in those six mentioned elements.

Strategies to improve centers and gathering places emphasize improvements in downtown, south town, the tourism/recreation hub as well as architectural features.

Strategies to achieve quality neighborhoods include similar emphasis as well as mixed-use/infill, clustering and housing quality.

“I think for us the biggest thing is a mix of housing options,” Kahler said. “I know affordable housing has been a big topic for the city and we do have requirements within our development agreements. But as we move forward what we heard from the citizens is we want affordable housing, but we want a mixed variety of housing. We want condos, we want townhomes, we want single-family units, we want smaller lots, we want bigger lots. Affordable housing is just part of that mix.”

Strategies to improve mobility and streetscapes include an emphasis on new street cross-sections that promote swales and adjacent trails, improving Main Street and aiding in the completion of the bypass.

Kahler says the feedback on open space and rural character along with outdoor recreation, and parks and trails were the most informative to her.

“We learned that people really do value open space,” Kahler continued. “Of course, that’s been a hotly debated topic with the north fields, but I didn’t realize that Heber City had no open space requirements within their development agreement. So to hear the citizens say we want the city to have open space requirements. The second big a-ha was trails. Of course, we knew within our county we have a master trail plan, and then we’ve got the great trails at Wasatch Mountain State Park, but we didn’t hear that from the citizens until recently. That sidewalks aren’t enough. We want access to the mountains, and we’d love to see a lake to lake trail. That was important to our citizens.”

In addition to a trail connecting Jordanelle to Deer Creek, strategies to retain open space include a variety of techniques including bonding and the use of tourism dollars.

Finally, strategies to improve jobs and economic development include an emphasis on Main Street by creating a Community Reinvestment Agency project area, mixing uses, providing more jobs in a coordinated manner with Utah Valley University, attracting clean jobs and developing an incentive-based economic development plan/strategy.

Implementation of the plan will begin with a public hearing at Heber City Planning Commission meeting Tuesday at 6:00 pm at city council chambers. The city council is hoping to approve the general plan by mid-March. You can view the draft plan online here.