Envision Heber 2050 Open House January 22, 2020, 6-8 pm at Heber Valley Elementary School
As the name states, Envision Heber 2050 is about envisioning what we want our community to look like today, tomorrow, and 30 years from now.
Envisioning our futures has been the rage for decades. Professional athletes, books, psychologists, and others all tell us that visualization works. You may be familiar with the famous quote penned by William Arthur Ward: “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” However, let’s not forget the most important component of visualization – the doing. We can imagine, dream, and envision all we want while sitting on a couch binge-watching Netflix and eating chips. Sure it’s fun but we won’t accomplish any of the things we’re visualizing until we heft our carcass from the couch and start doing!
Visualize then Do could easily be the mantra for Envision Heber 2050 because that is exactly what they’ve spent the last year doing. Starting in January 2019 they held their first steering committee meeting to discuss important issues such as: what we love about Heber, what we want to see preserved or enhanced, what we’d like to see changed or improved, what are the questions that need answering, what challenges and opportunities do we face, and what is the general plan and why is it important. Notice the word ‘we.’ Unlike in the past, where only committee, council, consultant, and staff members decided what went into the general plan, Envision Heber 2050 understands the importance of addressing our community’s needs by including direct input from the community. To quote directly from Envision Heber 2050’s home page: “As we face important decisions that will shape our city for generations to come, we cannot do it alone. The involvement of our community members is vital to creating a Heber City that celebrates its history while we continue to build on our community’s limitless potential. Your unique perspective and solution-based input will help shape our community vision and General Plan and guide our city leaders in decisions for years to come.”
The clarion call was made, and many of us answered by attending open houses, drawing on maps, Q&A’s, surveys, participating online, and sharing your ideas and concerns verbally with Envision Heber 2050 staff and leaders. For those who may be reading about Envision Heber 2050 for the first time here’s a quick catch up: Section 10-9a-403 of Utah state law requires that all cities within the state have a General Plan. The law dictates that only three topics must be addressed within the plan; future land use, transportation, and housing (including an analysis of affordable housing). Heber City’s vision of a general plan aims a bit higher by addressing topics that are essential and unique to our community’s sustained growth and improvement. Over the years, residents have expressed concern about topics such as: commercial development, community culture, economic development, environmental issues, historic preservation, open space, parks and trails, public transportation, residential development, and housing options. To make this vision a reality Heber City created Envision Heber 2050, an initiative to, “. . . address our communit.y’s need for a collaborative vision and an updated General Plan.” Heber City’s General Plan was last updated in 2003. Since then, our population has more than doubled to 16,000-plus residents. Wasatch County, Summit County, and the Uinta Basin are all growing rapidly, adding to the ever-increasing pressure on our local roads, businesses and city infrastructure. To tackle the challenges of sustainable growth, determine new policy direction and define our priorities as a community, we needed an updated General Plan. But not just any revised general plan: a general plan that is updated through careful planning and public input, which brings us to the beginning and that first meeting in January of 2019.
One year has passed since the inception and initial meeting of Envision Heber 2050, and in that year community and council members, stakeholders, and residents have participated in various public collaborations including open houses, vision meetings, workshops, and surveys all with one goal in mind. To create a General Plan that is driven by a collective vision and shared goals, a General Plan that will be the guiding force behind the future we want for our city, a General Plan with the ability to be updated often to reflect current policies and innovative strategies for addressing a wide range of issues unique to our growing community, a General Plan that will clearly express our priorities, priorities that will be essential in, “. . . Influencing the present and future assessments of Heber City residents, property owners, developers and decision-makers about the improvement and development of our community for decades”. A General Plan that will ultimately help us create the legacy we want for future generations.
Everyone involved in creating the new 2019 General Plan had a vision. They imagined an even better Heber. Then they got to work. And here we are at the end and the beginning. The end of a yearlong open community effort that enabled our city leaders to create a General Plan that supports our vision for Heber City’s future and the beginning of a future where we – as a community – continue to work together to help resolve our unique challenges.
Please join Envision Heber 2050 as they introduce the results of the General Plan process to the public before presenting to the City Council at an Open House Wednesday evening, January 22nd from 6:00 to 8:00 at the Heber Valley Elementary School, 730 South 600 West, Heber City.
For those who want to know what happens next, here’s how it works. The next step is the Open House to the public on January 22, 2020. The General Plan will then be presented to the Planning Commission for approval and recommendation to Heber City Council. The General Plan is not adopted until Heber City Council approves it. Should the new plan be approved by the Planning Commission, it will likely appear in City Council at the beginning of March. If Council approves the plan, the next phase is updating city ordinances to reflect the new General Plan. This process will likely take an entire year of review and updating city code. Envision Heber 2050 will continue to make public any significant or noteworthy changes through its website, https://envisionheber.com, and social media channels. Get involved, and start ‘doing’ by becoming informed and exercising your citizen’s right to provide your vision to your dutiful elected officials, in whichever municipality that you may reside.