Monday, October 10, 2005

Welcome to Wasatch City

A little over a month ago the Wave heralded the development moratorium passed by the County Council. At last we were to take a stand about the loss of our "small town" atmosphere and rural environment. During polling on the Walmart issue the people had spoken - the consensus was to maintain the valley as it has been, in so far as feasible.

This moratorium can, by Utah law, only run for six months; during which time we would all hope for some proposals to help alleviate the perceived problems. By County law, amendments to Title 16 - Planning, Zoning and Development Code - and the Master Plan may only be amended annually before 30 November. With public hearings, notices and other meetings, there appears to be little time to prepare and approve changes. It is, perhaps, possible that "emergency" authority might be used to avoid this restriction, but, to date, little has been done (as far as I can tell) to formulate any proposals to correct the RA 1 development concerns that apparently precipitated the moratorium.

Early in September, as a member of the Planning Commission, I emailed Council members asking: " What specific problem(s) are we trying to solve?" and "What is the suggested direction for solution?" See for full text. This was met by a deafening silence. Oh, there have been a few minor general discussions at Planning Commission meetings and I have had some brief discussion with a few Council members, but the only proposal thus far set forth is a proposed Title 16 change which would allow greater "bonus" density (MORE Houses) to developers "willing" to build on SMALLER lot sizes. Instead of 100 homes on 100 acres, they would be allowed to put 125 "clustered" homes on 50 acres and keep the remaining 50 acres "open" or in a park for the use of those in the development. Is this the direction the residents of the County want to go?

To get a feel for our future "rural" atmosphere, I might suggest driving up 1200 South and comparing Cobblestone (2000E -clustered high density), then close your eyes while passing The Crossings (2600 E - very high density - 500+ homes) and continue to Stonebridge (4100E - one acre lots); then turn right into Lake Creek Farms (one + acres). Then amble over to Center Street and visit Greener Hills (4200 E - 5 + acres) and Pole Estates (6000 E -1 acre) and decide for yourself which example you might prefer as an example for future growth in the county. Consider our supposed plan to grow from the cities outward, then contact members of the County Council and Planning Commission and give them your impressions.

There is a process called Public Involvement in local planning matters, it might have an effect - if used. May I suggest attending the October 20 Planning Commission meeting. Go to the Council meetings (Oct 19, Nov 2, Nov 16) - listen and express your opinion on these issues. Take a look at where I infrequently post some items of County interest and leave your comments, please. Join a new discussion group concerning Wasatch County issues by sending an Email to Everyone is welcome. Our 2001 General Plan, which actually considers up to 91,982 homes (pg. 86) in Wasatch County, is up for review at the end of five years.

Personally, I fear that our desire for rural and small town is a long gone vision and the best we might hope for is a small town facade disguising Wasatch City. But, who knows, some of you out there may have a solution. In the meantime, I am researching the possibility of purchasing 10,000 plastic cows which can be placed strategically around the county to at least maintain the appearance of a rural environment, but I'm not sure how to provide an authentic smell - perhaps our local politicians can help.

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