A little more than 100 residents showed up on Wednesday evening to the Public Visioning Workshop as part of the Envision Heber 2050 initiative.
The event was the first of three public input meetings for the update to Heber City’s general plan. The evening was led by a consultant for the project Christie Oostema she explained why the city is seeking public engagement in the visioning process.
“To do that because we want to help the public as a base decision makers understand the long term consequences of the choices they make now,” Oostema explained. “So, you know that opportunity to express preferences, to weigh in, and to explore ideas. We do that for our wellbeing today, but we also do that for the wellbeing of our kids and grandkids who come after us. We want to understand where we’d like to go in order to create the best possible future for those who come after us. So, the premise is is this, the public has a right to choose its future and public officials should serve that vision. The public will make good choices if presented with good options especially if those options are ones you helped shape.”
Those in attendance participated in a survey on their smartphones. The survey asked questions about the future of Heber such as, what do you want to preserve or enhance? What would you like to see less of? And How Can Heber stay a great place and accommodate growth? You can take the survey here. Oostema also noted that the general plan process will be impacted by and have impact on two other planning efforts.
“There’s the 2019 airport master plan update,” Oostema continued. “It was last updated in 2003, it’ll include significant public input processes along the way. It does run separately but parallel to this visioning and general plan update process. The FAA strongly encourages airports to have updated master plans and will withhold funding until the plan is updated. Secondly there’s the UDOT bypass study which includes a recommended route. At this point more states studies are needed in the future, it’s a multi-jurisdictional issue that’s been elevated to state level in accordance.”
After the presentation and survey the workshop portion of the evening began. Those in attendance were assigned to random groups with a map of Heber City covering each group’s table. At each table were small squares representing to-scale zoning possibilities. Residents were tasked to place these zones in areas around the valley to accommodate the projected growth. Projections by the state estimate Heber will double in size by 2050 to 30,000.
“The challenge then is to use those chips to place 12,900 households, and the same number of jobs onto your map, in a pattern that you think makes the most sense,” Oostema said.
Participants also marked what areas should be preserved as open space and where potential roads and trails could go. After about a half-hour of working tables presented their plan for the Heber Valley. The groups came up with a variety of options including making downtown Heber a densely populated district, preserving the north fields, and building along the East side of U.S. 40 north of town. Other options included creating more spread out neighborhoods even farther east of town, creating jobs south of town near the airport, and building out south of the Jordanelle.
In all 20 maps were presented all independently made by members of the community, some with similarities and others more unique. The maps were collected by the city and will be used to inform the rest of the general plan update led by the 15-member steering committee.
The next public meeting will be an Open House on May 15th
The slides presented at the meeting as well as the survey can be found here.