Showing posts with label Planning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Planning. Show all posts

Monday, August 30, 2010

Four Way Stops - continued

Useless Stop Signs  - (and  procrastination by committee)

Just over two years ago, a proposal was made to the Wasatch County Council to consider changing four way stops to two way stops, particularly on 1200 South. The proposal included a study done by the Institute of Traffic Engineers regarding all-way stops which indicated that multi-highway stops do not control speed except under very limited conditions.   (Minutes below)

It was discussed that the stop signs were routinely ignored going east and west as many drivers recognized there was little traffic traveling north and south. Having unnecessary stop signs tends to create a general disregard for NEEDED signs.   A 'committee' was set up to discuss the issue. No one seems to know if it ever met.

Last year, in October, this item was reintroduced to the Council by Councilman Anderton, complete with a petition from local residents favoring the idea of two way stop. (Minutes below)

The Council seemed generally in agreement to consider the issue. This time there was a motion for a traffic study to update the almost ten year old previous study. Nearly a year later , there are rumors that a study was done, but apparently no one has seen it as copies do not seem to be available. 

Recently, a private study was done indicated that 86% of the traffic on 1200 South travel east and west and about 80% of the cars passing through the intersection at 2400 E fail to come to complete stop, many barely slow down.

About two weeks ago the Council clarified once again that traffic plans designate 1200 South as a "major collector," which means basically a through street designed to facilitate the easy flow of traffic through the area. Having four way stops impedes that flow, wastes fuel, spews unnecessary exhaust from the trucks and diesel buses to the LDS Girls' Camp, and creates noise for the poor souls who live at the corners. The recent plan also called for widening 1200 South to three lanes within 10 years or so. Removing the stop signs would provide more efficient movement than widening the road, which would also have a substantial cost.  "Another study (62) found that the average annual road user cost increased by $2,402.92 (1988 cost) per intersection when converting from two to four way stop signs for low volume intersections."

Reasons to Keep 4 way stop (and rebuttal):
  • They keep the speed down. "Before-After studies show multi-way stop signs do not reduce speeds on residential streets. Nineteen references found this to be their finding."  Institute of Traffic Engineers; "there is no real evidence to indicate that STOP signs decrease the overall speed of traffic. Impatient drivers view the additional delay caused by unwarranted STOP signs as “lost time” to be made up by driving at higher speeds between STOP signs. ." Institute of Traffic Engineers  If speeds DO increase, there a source of revenue in speeding tickets. ; -)
  • They enhance safety. "Unwarranted STOP signs breed disrespect by motorists who tend to ignore them or only slow down without stopping. This can sometimes lead to tragic consequences." Institute of Traffic Engineers 
  • My mother-in-law, cousin or . . .  likes them.
  • We had/have extra signs
  • The Feds made (paid) us to do it.   Show us the report, study and rationale for doing it.
It is long past time for the county to complete the study, stop the procrastination, and work towards creating a traffic plan that facilitates traffic movement rather than hampers it. If the perceived problem is speed, the answer is enforcement NOT stop signs. Heber City made an appropriate decision to raise the speed limit on Mill Road from 25 to 35 mph last year, perhaps they should also do the same on the newly renovated five lane Center Street. Roads are, or should be, for moving traffic.

AUGUST 6, 2008 County Council meeting minutes
Kent Berg, the Wasatch County Public Works Director, addressed the Wasatch County Council and indicated that the speed limits in 2001 Wasatch County was resurveyed and in 2003 when the roads in the Center Creek area were upgraded Wasatch County did another survey because the roads were made wider and gone from twenty feet to twenty-six feet.

The residential speed limit in the Center Creek area is thirty-five miles per hour with four-way stops at each one of those intersections because of ASTO guidelines. (Ed Note: No organization called ASTO was found by GOOGLE) Kent Berg indicated that having four-way stops almost eliminates accidents at those intersections and are serving a great purpose even though a lot of people don’t like them.

Robert Wren, a concerned citizen living in the Center Creek area, addressed the Wasatch County Council and indicated that he is the one that brought the subject up about the four-way stops. Robert indicated that he has watched as he has driven up 1200 South and very few people are stopping at these four-way signs and just running the stop signs at thirty-five miles per hour. Robert then went on to discuss a study done by the Institute of Traffic Engineers regarding all-way stops and the study indicated that multi-highway stops do not control speed except under very limited conditions.

Robert then asked the Wasatch County Council to make the intersections on 1200 South two-way stops instead of four-way stops.

Al Mickelsen, the Wasatch County Planner, addressed the Wasatch County Council and indicated that before Wasatch County puts up four-way stops signs or any stop signs Wasatch County has got to make sure that the roads where the stop signs are being put in don’t impede the function of that  road which means you don’t want to put a stop sign on a major collector road which is made to move the traffic. The only major collector roads Wasatch County has is Lake Creek, 1200 South and 2400 south and Mill Road.

The Wasatch County Council indicated that they would like more study to be done and instructed Al Mickelsen, Kent Bert and Councilman Anderton get together and look at the situation and then bring the matter back before the Wasatch County Council.

10/21/2009  Council Minutes  

Councilman Anderton indicated that people have indicated to me that they would like the Wasatch County Council to reconsider this matter. Councilman Farrell indicated that a  committee was formed to consider this matter which consisted of you and the Wasatch County
Sheriff and Kent Berg, the Wasatch County Public Works Director and you were to come back with a recommendation.

Todd Bonner, the Wasatch County Sheriff, indicated that his  recommendation would be that four-way stops be put in place at these locations according to the study that has been done. (Ed. note- what study. 2001??)   Kent Berg, the Wasatch County Public Works Director, indicated that a traffic study hasn’t been done since the year 2001 and possibly Wasatch County should have an up-to-date traffic study done. Kent Berg indicated that Wasatch County is working with the LDS Church to have them send all their buses that go to the LDS Camp up Center Street to take care of some of the traffic on 1200 South. Councilman Farrell made a motion that we authorize Kent Berg, the Wasatch County Public Work’s Director and Mike Davis, the Wasatch County Manager, to put an RFP out to get a bid to see what a new traffic study for Wasatch County would be. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hub Intersection Traffic Part 3

An exchange of Emails with UDOT (They DO listen):

(Here are the Email addresses to UDOT if you would care to contact them: Dave Nazare, Doug Bassett )

Nov 2009:
I would be remiss this Thanksgiving day not to thank UDOT for modifying the left turn signal at the Hub intersection in Heber.

On additional point concerning #4 (s) below, changing the green light in the left turn lane to a yellow caution arrow would further enhance the safety of that left turn. (The sign next to the light is NOT that obvious to the motorist.

I would still offer the suggestions below, in addition to removing/minimizing the center curbs to allow left turn access into the Hub/OneStop - and from Daniel Road (perhaps an auxiliary coordinated light).

Regards and thanks for the change, one down - three to go.

Aug 2009:
Thank you for your prompt response, not to belabor the point, but:

1 & 2 It appears the "one receiving lane on 189" deems to be due to the right turn lane leading into the Boyer Project (which is apparently on hold and will not be open for quite some time. Designing the wide turn lane for trucks is understandable; but having a solid white line separating the lanes indicates, generally, no crossing. Making that a dotted line would allow right turn traffic to avoid the right turn then left onto Daniel. Closing the Daniel Road access (mainly to give priority to the future development) seems a poor decision.

3 It also appears, there is a limited amount of right lane space for a limited distance north on Main. (obviously without a shoulder) Allowing a wider turn should make it easier to semis. I don't understand why that would affect the WB left turn traffic onto 1200 South.

4 I understand your point but respectfully disagree.

These are just some comments and suggestions for consideration in your further studies as you "keep an eye on the intersection." Being an engineer, but not a traffic engineer, I'll yield to your expertise. (I do get a better response from UDOT, than from local officials)

Aug 2009 From UDOT:
to respond to your comments below.

1 & 2. The free right turn from SB US-40 to WB US-189 is wide so trucks with trailers can make the turn without riding up on the curb on either side of the roadway. There is only one receiving lane on 189, so we can't have two lanes making the right turn. There is not enough room on 189 to have two receiving lanes and a shoulder anyway. We recognize the difficulty some drivers may have when they try to make multiple lane changes in order to turn left on the Daniel airport road, and if capacity or accident problems arise in that area, we have the right to close the left turn onto the airport road to eliminate the problem(s). This would require traffic to access the airport road from a different road south of the HUB intersection.

3. We cannot have three eastbound left turn lanes on 189 for traffic turning onto 40 because there are not three receiving lanes on 40, and there is not enough room for three lanes and a shoulder anyway. We believe it may take a little time, but drivers EB on 189 will figure out which lane to be in as they approach and prepare to turn left onto 40. The new lane striping is the best we can do for now. If three left turn lanes were a possibility, then the WB left turn movement on 1200 South would probably conflict in the intersection, and the split phase operation would have to be implemented again. This was one thing you said was better -- to not have the split phase operation. Because we agree, I doubt we want to do something that requires us to go back to it.

4. We understand you still want us to change the SB left turn phase to a protected/permissive operation, but we reaffirm our position and hope you understand that we don't think it is wise to make the change, even if the intersection is a little less efficient. Our preference is safety more than efficiency for this particular movement. It is safer for the N-S left turn phasing to be the same in this case. Perhaps a future project where the curve through the intersection is flattened so that the visibility issue is resolved is the time when the left turn phasing can be changed.

We will continue to keep an eye on the intersection.

Aug 2009
With the opening of the new Hub intersection in Heber, I would like to offer my thanks for retiming the light controlling the left turn from Main St. to 1200 South eastbound. It has helped with that particular intersection transit. Also, it appears the stop line southbound on Main also seems to have moved back somewhat.

Now that, as you mentioned, "we see how Boyer's reconstructed improvements work and then determine if any modifications are necessary," may I offer some observations/suggestions:

While the intersection may be slightly better in some aspects than it was, it is drastically worse in others.

In no particular order,

1 - The free right turn from Main St. to 189 appears to be wide enough wide enough for two lanes.
2 - For traffic trying to get to Daniel Rd. it becomes a difficult maneuver merging through two lanes of traffic into the left turn lane to Daniel and effectively often blocks the ONE lane of the right turn.
Suggestion: Use the two lanes, one for the Daniel traffic, and one for 189.

3 - Semis, and vehicles with trailers, proceeding North on 189 and turning left onto Main still have difficulty moving into the two left turn lane which come up as quite a surprise to many and with that lift turn. There also seems to be periodic problems with the storage are at the stop light.
Suggestion: With FAR less traffic proceeding through the intersection from 189 to 1200 S, it might be advantageous to have THREE left turn lanes and ONE through. This would afford a wider left turn radius for semis and create 50% more storage area.
Suggestion 2: In the opposite direction, as there is relatively little traffic turning South on US 40 from 1200 S westbound, the left turn light timing should reflect that, thus expediting the eastbound through traffic.

4 - There is still a great deal of (relative) time that left turns from Main to 1200 S could be made if that left turn would be allowed when the northbound through traffic light is green. There is sufficient visibility heading south to permit that. That would also expedite traffic into the Hub and OneStop Station which were adversely affected by the various concrete dividers which are quite detrimental to access to the various businesses on Main St. (It's a shame those dividers were added a year (or more) before they might have been "needed" because of the Boyer development.)
Thank you for your consideration of these suggestions.

Click here for more history

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hub Intersection Traffic part 2

December 2008
Dear UDOT:

As it appears the Hub intersection is nearing completion for the new right turn from Main St. down the Canyon, I humbly suggest a reevaluation of the LEFT turn from Main St. onto 1200 S. I just drove home via the Hub intersection, as I regrettably often must do.

There were six cars waiting to make that left turn, four of them were able to turn on the green. one snuck through on the yellow (/red). I was required to sit at the intersection an additional 80 sec. (after a minute or so waiting on the original red left turn signal).

Most of this time waiting while the through green lights were on, most of the cars could have made it through a yellow left turn signal as there was very little Northbound traffic on US 40.With the current timing of the light, there is less than one chance (10 sec. of turn light) in eight (80 sec.for full cycle) of making a left turn without stopping. I wish a reconsideration of these to two suggestions below could be made.
  1. Allow left turn on Green light for the southbound traffic. We arewaiting through an entire traffic light cycle now even at 2 AM
  2. Move the left turn stop line back 20 ft or so to make the left turn from 189 to Main St. a little 'rounder' - This would especially speed upthe semis which now have to be careful in the turn to avoid those cars waiting to make the left to 1200 So.

Jun 2008 From UDOT

Regarding your number 1 recommendation, as the Region Director, I'm very uncomfortable overriding a decision by the Traffic and Safety Engineer and don't want to do that. However, when reconstructed by Boyer there will be dual left turns, which must be protected (no permissive allowed).

The dual lefts, combined with a change in signal timing should correct the problem.Regarding number 2, I think we see how Boyer's reconstructed improvements work and then determine if any modifications are necessary.

Thanks again for meeting with us.

To UDOT June 2008

It was a pleasure to meet you today in Heber, thanks for listening to ourconcerns about the intersection traffic and the drastic increase which is forthcoming.

We didn't get to discuss this relatively minor suggestion, so I'd just liketo reiterate a potential short term (and inexpensive, IMHO) solution to makethe intersection a little better NOW. I frequently drive through theintersection making a left turn from Main St. onto 1200 South.

It frequently takes two signals to do so already. With the increase insemi-truck traffic coming up Provo Canyon, it is even a bigger problem nowthan last year and is not safe to be parked in the first position in that left turn lane.

1 Allow left turn on Green light for the southbound traffic. We arewaiting through an entire traffic light cycle now even at 2 AM

2 Move the left turn stop line back 20 ft or so to make the left turnfrom 189 to Main St. a little 'rounder' - This would especially speed upthe semis which now have to be careful in the turn to avoid those carswaiting to make the left to 1200 So.

Click here for more history

Sunday, November 16, 2008

North/South Fields Rezone

The move is on to rezone the North Fields. The first step appears to be the rezone of the South Fields, this was recommended by a 4-1 vote at the recent Planning Commission meeting.

A public Hearing on the matter is scheduled for 6 PM on 19 Nov. It is item #9. Items #7 and #8 are also rezone requests (P160 to M zone or 1 house per 160 acres to a potential 1 house per 2.5 acres - a 64 fold increase)

Several arguments were presented in opposition to the change, to no avail:
  1. The Wasatch County General Plan (See Chap. 4, pg 159) indicates the area is "highly prized by many local residents" and is "identified as having a public benefit as open space." The area has been called the jewel of the valley and its current zoning A-20 (Agricultural with one house allowed per twenty acres) protects the "desired green belt separation between Heber and Midway" (Policy 1.1.1)
  2. The area is NOT included within the Proposed Heber City Annexation Policy. Several member of the Heber City Planning Commission attended the meeting and spoke against the rezone.
  3. The area is in the "Inundation Area of Sudden Jordanelle Dam Failure" - approval of more houses could present potential danger to those house and liability to County taxpayers.
  4. There are currently only 6 large land parcels (>20 acres) in the 464 acre proposed rezone area and another 12 parcels between 5 and 20 acres which, as "lots of record," could already be built upon. Some parcels already have houses built. Of ten parcels less than 5 acres, 7 current have residences.
  5. A zone change from A-20 to RA-5 would increase the number of allowable houses from 33 to 92.
  6. The long proposed ByPass road passes through several of the parcels, a rezone would likely increase the cost of property acquisition.
  7. An Open Space, Transferable Development Right ordinance was recently passed allowing a "bonus" sale from rights in this area. Rezoning would adversely affect the goals of that ordinance.
  8. While presented as a "County initiated" rezone, it was clearly introduced by the land owners and not necessarily for the "health, safety and welfare" of the community in general.

In 2000, a well written resolution was introduced to "protect" the North Fields - regrettably it was never really considered for passage:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Removing Four Way Stops

Open Letter to Wasatch County Council:

I would like to strongly urge the removal of the Stop Signs on 1200 South at 2400 E, 3600 E, 4800 E and, possibly, 1200 E.

These intersections are currently all 4 way stops.

Reasons for removal:

  1. 1200 S is designated a major collector and the recent General Plan called for upgrading and less access.
  2. I'd guess 90% of the traffic at the intersections is on 1200 S vs. crossroads. Four way stops are generally used for "equal" traffic for intersection scheduled for traffic lights.
    "Total vehicular volume entering the intersection from all approaches must average 500 vehicles per hour for any eight hours of an average day and the combined vehicular and pedestrian volume from the minor street or highway must average at least 200 units per hour for the same eight hours, with an average delay to minor street vehicular traffic of at least 30 seconds per vehicle during the maximum hour."
Institute of Transportation Engineers.
  • The traffic is getting much more worse.
  • Many are already using 'cowboy' stops. I've witnessed a few totally full speed running the 1200 S stop signs now.
  • 1200 S is the main road for access to the LDS girls' camp with lots of buses Mondays and Fridays.
  • Removal of the signs would decrease the pollution and noise of requiring the buses to make 3 extra stops.
  • No stops would create a better flow of traffic and would be much more fuel efficient.
    "Multi-way stop signs have high operating costs based on vehicle operating costs, vehicular travel times, fuel consumption and increased vehicle emissions. " . . . "The cost to install two stops signs is $280. The cost to the traveling public is $210,061 (1990) per year in operating costs. This cost is based on about 8,000 vehicles entering the intersection per day. "
    Institute of Traffic Engineers
  • Reasons to Keep 4 way stop (and rebuttal):

    • They keep the speed down. "Before-After studies show multi-way stop signs do not reduce speeds on residential streets. Nineteen references found this to be their finding."
    Institute of Traffic Engineers "there is no real evidence to indicate that STOP signs decrease the overall speed of traffic. Impatient drivers view the additional delay caused by unwarranted STOP signs as “lost time” to be made up by driving at higher speeds between STOP signs. ." Institute of Traffic Engineers
  • If speeds DO increase, there a source of revenue in speeding tickets. ; -)
  • They enhance safety. "Unwarranted STOP signs breed disrespect by motorists who tend to ignore them or only slow down without stopping. This can sometimes lead to tragic consequences." Institute of Traffic Engineers
  • Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Hub Intersection Traffic

    Email to UDOT 3/15/2007 10:23 PM Suggestion for the intersection of 189 and 40 ( or 1200 S and Main St. in Heber. This is one of the busiest intersections in Heber City (Soon to be made worse by the proposed Big Box/Boyer development to be located there.)

    An improvement to the flow of traffic could be made by allowing South bound traffic on Main St. to make the left turn onto 1200 S (heading East) at any time traffic is allowed to continue straight through. Currently the green left turn signal turns to red while the continuing through traffic continues to flow - often with little or no northbound traffic to impede the left turn.

    Many drivers avoid the left turn signal by cutting through the commercial property (Hub or Arby) parking lots to avoid the lengthy light change. Secondly, when the left turn lane is repainted, the stop line should be moved back several(20) feet as the left turns from Hwy 189 onto Main frequently cut the (135 deg) corner creating an unsafe condition.

    This intersection needs a lot of redesign, a plan is being formulated by the County and the City for a bypass around the West side of Heber City and cutting East to regain US 40 somewhere around the intersection. The large commercial development will hinder that plan.

    Response: March 21, 2007 6:58 AM As you are aware, UDOT recently upgraded the traffic signal at the subject intersection by installing protected left turn phasing for traffic on US-40. This was done as a safety improvement because of the horizontal curve through the intersection.
    We understand that it may reduce the capacity and level of service of the intersection, but we believe the safety benefits outweigh those other factors. We have heard about potential development east of the intersection, as well as the big box development northwest of the intersection, and as that area grows the protected left turn phasing will be even more justified, so we plan to keep it the way it is for now.
    It is unfortunate that some drivers are resorting to making either illegal or improper movements through adjacent business property to avoid the signal. Perhaps you could speak with the Heber City Police and ask them to monitor the issue and enforce the necessary laws to reduce or eliminated the problem.

    We are also aware of a request to completely overhaul the intersection,including straightening out the curve, which would be a dramatic impact on local businesses. We have not made any plans to do so at this time, but may consider it if discussions with the City and County continue to include this matter. If it ever is reconstructed, the location of all the stop bars would be included in the design.

    3/23/2007 Thank you for the prompt response. I again drove through the intersection today - as I frequently do. I fail to see any "safety" benefit to restricting the left turn to only being allowable on the green turn signal. It seems to me quite rare to restrict a left turn in this manner. The road curve on US 40 does not hamper any sight restriction involving that left turn or hamper it in any way that I can see.

    The North bound traffic into Heber City nearly always leaves adequate space to turn AFTER the red (no left turn) light appears while South bound traffic continues through the intersection. By stopping the left turn traffic prematurely, it creates a more dangerous situation because there is a greater chance a car will be present in the left turn lane on US 40 which IS a potential danger from cars making left turns from 189 onto Main St.

    This two lane left turn is a far bigger safety problem than from Main St. to 1200 S. I think someone needs to analyze that flow again!! NO RESPONSE

    It was a pleasure to meet you today in Heber, thanks for listening to our concerns about the intersection traffic and the drastic increase which is forthcoming.

    A SECOND ATTEMPT 6/23/2008 : We didn't get to discuss this relatively minor suggestion, so I'd just like to reiterate a potential short term (and inexpensive, IMHO) solution to make the intersection a little better NOW. I frequently drive through the intersection making a left turn from Main St. onto 1200 South.

    It frequently takes two signals to do so already. With the increase in semi-truck traffic coming up Provo Canyon, it is even a bigger problem now than last year and is not safe to be parked in the first position in that left turn lane.
    • Allow left turn on Green light for the southbound traffic. We are waiting through an entire traffic light cycle now even at 2 AM
    • Move the left turn stop line back 20 ft or so to make the left turn from 189 to Main St. a little 'rounder' - This would especially speed up the semis which now have to be careful in the turn to avoid those cars waiting to make the left to 1200 So.

    The UDOT response 6/27/2008 :

    Regarding your number 1 recommendation, as the Region Director, I'm very uncomfortable overriding a decision by the Traffic and Safety Engineer and don't want to do that.

    However, when reconstructed by Boyer there will be dual left turns, which must be protected (no permissive allowed). The dual lefts, combined with a change in signal timing should correct the problem.

    Regarding number 2, I think we see how Boyer's reconstructed improvements work and then determine if any modifications are necessary. Thanks again for meeting with us.

    Dave Nazare, UDOT Region Three Director 801-227-8001

    I guess one can admire consistency, but anyone wanting to try further might Email David Nazare

    Thursday, November 29, 2007


    What determines a "Conflict of Interest?"

    A conflict of interest is “A situation in which a person’s individual interests are in opposition to the interests of his duty to others. As an example an elected public official who owns real estate may approve a ruling or a change in zoning that would increase the value of his property.” (Quoted from The Plain Language Law Dictionary)

    There are various specific laws on conflicts depending on the position held, one of the more restrictive 'rules' applies generally to Planning Commissions.

    The Planning Commission (CPPA, U of U)

    The work of the planning commission influences the future of a community, and through certain planning measures can have impact upon the value of property. It is therefore important that the actions and behavior of commission members are at all times legally sanctioned and completely ethical. (pg 2-15)

    Conflict of Interest:

    A planning commissioner to whom some private benefit may be derived as the result of a planning commission action should not be a participant in the action. (pg 2-16)

    The private benefit may be direct or indirect, create a material personal gain or provide an advantage to relatives, friends or groups and associations which hold some share of a person's loyalty. (pg 2-16)

    State law requires that a public official experiencing a conflict of interest declare the conflict publicly. It is strongly recommended, however, that a planning commissioner with a conflict abstain from voting on the action in question and leave the room during consideration of the action. The commissioner should not discuss the matter privately with any other commissioner. The vote cast by a planning commissioner who has a conflict of interest, but who has not excused him or herself, shall be disallowed. (pg 2-16)

    ********** Wasatch County has even more specific rules:
    By-Laws of the Wasatch County Planning Commission

    - Sect XI: (C) No member shall act or vote on any matter which he or she has a direct financial interest, which involve a conflict of interest as found in he Utah Code, or which a member cannot fairly and impartially act or vote on any matter before the Commission.

    Any member declaring a conflict of interest shall be disqualified and shall leave the room and not participate in the discussion and vote pertaining to that particular matter.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Update on County RA-1

    The Plan to "encourage innovative site planning" with the objective for "Achieving a Rural Landscape Character and, specifically, to "maintain and protect Wasatch County's rural character" and to promote a rural feel along county roads" and all sorts of wonderful platitudes is nearing completion and passage by the County Council.

    This proposal was discussed here in September. It hasn't improved in the interim and will allow a near certain guarantee of an increase in RA-1 density over pre-moratorium (2005) days by 30%.

    Growth has been the prime election issue in Wasatch County for years and county (and city) government continues to lead in allowing MORE density.

    Consider this, for each average house built a NEGATIVE fiscal impact of $1 to 2,000 must be imposed on all of the taxpayers. A ONE house increase to a developer is worth about $100 to 200,000 in profit. So who is looking out for the taxpayers and who is maximizing the developer profit? (answers - NO ONE and your elected officials)

    What are the potential results of this change?

    Current number of houses existing in the Eastern Planning Area (EPA) = 625
    • potential houses under current law ca. 4700
    • potential houses under new law ca. 6250
    • A potential 33% INCREASE in an area with a current approval of about 1500 houses
    NOTE: this is only in the Eastern Planning Area (Center/Lake Creek area) and only in the RA-1 Zone.

    NOTE also that there are currently development approved in Wasatch County (not including municipalities of Heber, Midway, etc.) of over 13,000 housing units
    which are yet to built. There are currently about a total of about 10,000 houses in the County. Oh, the 13,000 does not include an additional 3,600 recently awarded to the Sorenson development (Jordanelle Ridge)

    Where are we being led and why are being led there? Answer - Wasatch City and I have no idea.

    Click here
    or on the zoning or planning links in the left column for more information.

    The current downturn in the real estate market may provide us with the breathing room to do a little proper planning - of we would only use it!!!

    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    Here We Go Again - Development History

    Once again the County Council has understood that the current RA-1 zoning ordinance is in need of repair. Since the moratorium of September 2005, the County has enacted two RA-1 laws to maintain our "rural" atmosphere. At that time (2005) a group of citizens tried to suggest a solution to the growth, as usual it was met with a gaping yawn of indifference.

    The first try called for 50% open space, a convoluted "clustered" development, and various bonuses to achieve a "one unit per acre density" which would provide for a increase in density (number of houses) of 30%. (Historically RA-1 meant each house requires one acre of land, and each lot required 200 ft of road frontage; meaning on a ten acre parcel, about seven houses could be built after the roads were put in.)

    A few short months under the new ordinance brought the realization that the ordinance was virtually unworkable, somewhat equivalent to trying to place eight pounds of substance in a five pound bag. A second moratorium was called and a second plan formulated, nearly as bad as the initial change, both proposing/allowing/encouraging a large increase in the number of houses (a 41% increase in density over pre-moratorium, with 40% LESS open space than the previous ordinance). This also included the subjective bonuses amounting to a possible 70% or so with only30% needed to maximize.

    Needless to say, a minor flood of pent up development demand jumped on the bandwagon, with the usual disastrous result - more houses on smaller lots with a generlaly serpentine nominal "open space" winding it way between the potential McMansions. The Planning Commission generally approved near the maximum density, Council often cut it down somewhat.

    Result - further erosion of the universal desire for rural, small town environment. The increased workload on the Planning Department and subjectivity of the bonus system, brought us to the current dilemma - and solution (NOT). After the Planning Commission decided to recommend the worse of two options, the Council opted for a third option. Basically, just give the developer one unit per acre by jumping through some small hoops or coughing up a little cash.

    The hoops:

    • 30% "open Space
    • 20% of lots with animal rights (= over one acre)
    • trails, enhanced minimum landscaping (which may be required by any development)
    • I think that was it folks!!! (as no written copies were available, it may be slightly different and, as always, the devile is in the details)

    An option was being offered to buy out of the open space requirement for 50% of the raw land cost. For example, on ten acres parcel, the three acres of open space could be avoided by paying ca. $150,000 (half of raw land cost). Although this was presented as a open space buy out, it certainly appears to be an increased density purchase. The $150K would provide for three lots to sell for $250,000 each PLUS the profit in the building of the McMansion.

    That amounts to 3 lots at $200K plus 3 houses at $50K (??) profit or roughly $750,000 - a five to one return on investment.

    One more step on the road to Wasatch City. The County has added to their website a new listing of developments, with a map and their size, density and status. It's a well conceived report which should be helpful to those wanted to follow the progress of citification.

    More later, maybe.

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Open Letter to County Council

    A few comments on the developments discussed in the County Council meeting 7/11:

    I believe it should be noted that the County is NOT required to approve any bonuses for RA-1 developments, such approval is purely a discretionary legislative act for planned unit/performance developments and, if considered, the subjective ratings for the bonuses are completely at the discretion of the County. The 'simple' RA-1 of one lot per 1.3 acres does not have that discretion.

    Grand Haven: Development was approved under the previous code at 91 ERU's. Under the new code the base density would be 101 (a 10 percent increase), the requested approval is for a bonus of up to 40%. This proposal was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission, 7-0 with a density of 121 ERU's. There is apparently now no "public" open space, but a substantial portion of the 30 % (min. required) open space is planned for farm/grazing and is located along 2400 E which will, at least, give some visual "rural' open area for the neighborhood.

    Staff suggested (and PC approved) a large bonus (8%) for "10% usable open space within the 30%." That 8% bonus would equate to 8 bonus lots at a nominal $300K per lot for about $2 million in lot sale profit alone to the developer. That usable 10% would be a landscaped private park for the use of the development residents. Some mention was made of public use as a soccer field, which may warrant a small "public use" bonus - if guaranteed in the development agreement.

    Staff suggested a landscape bonus of 5% or 4.5 ERU's ($1+million in lots) for $250K (?) of trees. A "large animal" bonus of 1% was suggested for animal use on 21 lots (15% of development). While animals might maintain some semblance of rural, that might be high for the percentage of available lots.

    If this openspace is deemed beneficial to the county a total bonus of perhaps 12 lots might be more appropriate; even that would still be an increase of 23 over the prior approval of 91 - a 25% increase.

    As Councilman Neil Anderton commented, "I think we are heading in the wrong direction." (concerning density awards)

    Eagle View: While this nominally may meet the 30% open space requirement, it is nearly totally within the development and is made up of blocks of space connected by trails, with little functionality for the public in general. It does not seem to meet the code designated intent for "achieving rural character" and does not "promote a rural feel along country roads" (The 50 ft buffer strip is a general requirement for all RA 1 developments)

    Saddlebrook: Still contains NO open space and there is currently NO code enacted to allow for opting out of that requirement.

    Sleeping Indian: This will be the first proposed development in the M Zone and may set a precedent for M Zone developments and awarding of bonuses. With the possibility of up to 115% bonuses, the M Zone will effectively become an "RA-2.3 zone" allowing twice the density of the RA-5 zones on the valley floor. M Zone is theoretically a transition zone from the valley floor to the P160 preservation zone and was nominally created for "clustering" which doesn't appear to have occurred in this proposal.

    The M Zone PPD Performance Chart (16.29) is even more subjective, complicated and confusing than the RA-1. Planning Commission discussion on the bonuses, in general and specifically for the Indian Ranch project was very limited.

    The first graded category "Extra unusable Open Space" refers, in this case, to the constrained land (30%+ slope) (unbuildable) and specifies "For each ten percent of extra open space that is unusable, the bonus density would apply as written." With a range of 1-10%, I have no idea what that means. As a maximum of 10 is allowed this would seem to say that 35.35 acres would yield 4 "10% of open space" or a 4% bonus, or does it mean that 8.9 acres of unusable space would be worth 10% bonus??.

    "Density bonuses may not be stacked upon each other and more than one bonus given for the same item." Items 7, 8 and part of 10 seem to be giving duplicate credit for the same 10 acre park of which 8.9 acres (10% usable open space) is a basic requirement to get any bonus consideration. The concept of a 0.5% sales fee on lots (item 10) for construction of a fire station is an interesting concept. 150 lots at $300K x 0.5% = $225,000 Is that worth a 15% bonus or 5.6 ERU's at $300K = $1.6 million in lot sales??? That same park also may be a consideration for a bonus in the RA zone portion. The fee/tax on lot sales (a transfer tax) is something the County might enact to offset some of the costs of new developments - without awarding any bonus to developers.

    While the 10 acres park and land for a fire station would be great assets to the County, it needs to be asked if the benefit is greater than the cost in extra density.

    Items 11 through 16 are basically enhancements to the development and its residents. The bonus starts at 5% rather than 0% Is the mere request for a bonus worth a 30 % bonus? (6 categories at 5% minimum).

    The RA Bonuses are also suggested by staff for internal non public parks and land and street scape for large bonuses. See comments above on cost vs. benefit to developer.

    This entire M Zone bonus system needs to be reworked, IMO.

    North Village Code amendments: 'Minor' modifications are being requested by the developer to allow maximizing the number of potential ERU's available for the Wasatch Commons development. Without the proposed changes to maximum lot size and width requirements, perhaps 5 to 10% fewer units (of 393 proposed) could be built and it would necessitate a few small "parks" especially on corners which may not be able to conform to current North Village Code. Wasatch Commons is forecast to have a negative fiscal impact of $900,000 (primary residences) to $300,000 (secondary). This impact is 'planned' to be offset by a commercial development on the lower mixed use area which forecasts a positive fiscal impact of $900,000 - IF a Big Box were allowed (current NOT allowed under Wasatch Code) or $230,000 as other retail.

    Spring Hollow/Summit Creek: This is another development that had received approval under prior code for 19 lots. It is now back with a request for 25 on 26 acres. (a 32% increase) It has many similar problems as Grand Haven and Eagle View above, but no agricultural open space. The integral open space may be beneficial to the development, but little to the community. It does not yet have the required secondary access. The fiscal impact went from +$44,000 in Aug '06 to negative $66,000.

    As County Manager Mike Davis has asked,"Is it the function of the County to maximize the profit of developers?" click here for audio

    Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    Report of recent Planning Commission meeting:

    The current "standard" development in Wasatch County is described in 16.27.09 and more specifically 16.27.10(2). (regrettably not available on the County Website) "Bonuses" above the "standard" of one house per 1.3 acres, with an average lot size of one acre, may be available at the discretion of Wasatch County by following procedures described in 16.27.10.

    It appears that since the passage of the bonus system, virtually every development, as reflected by applications, expects to be able to attain the "full" allowable density of one unit per acre. The County Council and County Manager have repeatedly (and the Planning Staff has dutifully recorded in staff reports) stated that "a full density bonus will not be easy to attain. . . grading should be tough . . . and full density would need to be the best that could be proposed" (Or similar terminology)

    At recent Planning Commission meetings in May and June, several developments were recommended by less than a unanimous vote that did not comply with the Land Use Law.

    There are certain specific guidelines, requirements and objectives written into 16.27.10 concerning Rural Landscape Character, Open Space, cluster developments, etc. to attain any bonus density. Many (most) of the recent proposals did not meet the intent of the law, much less the actual wording thereof.

    The problem of the requirement of 30% Open Space requirement now seems to be acknowledged and clarification are now being considered. The subjectivity and amount of the bonuses is now apparently being reconsidered.

    I would again strongly suggest that approval of any development desiring densities above the standard be discouraged or not allowed for consideration. Any bonus density is at the sole discretion of the County as a legislative act in approving the development.

    A few specific comments:

    Eagle View: has open space but, while nominally contiguous, runs snake-like through the property and is of far more value to the development than the County as a whole.

    Falcon Ridge: All but ten acres of the open space is unbuildable land, but receives credit and extra bonus. A substantial bonus is being suggested for "minimal" expense on landscaping, etc.

    Grand Haven: It was approved last year at 91 ERU’s and failed to qualify under the previous ordinance for 131 ERU’s with 50% Open Space is now "qualified" with 30%. Base density increased by 11% and total by 44%. It has a large negative fiscal impact to the remaining County taxpayers (based on primary residences.)

    Lakeside at Deer Valley: Previously had been awarded 62 ERU’s, a new request was made for an increase to 325 and they were awarded 362 per a last minute recommendation change from Planning Staff.

    Pine Shadows was recommended by the Planning Commission to the County Councel without the required 30% Open Space. The developer was told by the Planning Commission that it was not needed, even thought the developer planned (an offered) to purchase additional open land elswhere.

    Saddlebrook was approved with the standard density with a provision for a bonus if "fee in lieu" was adopted. It had NO proposed Open Space.

    Sleeping Indian Ranch has brought us into the question of the desirability of the massive bonuses allowed in the M Zone, which effectively creates a denser (1 per 2.3 acre) zone the RA-5. While a nicely designed project with a ten acre park and proposed "fee" on land sales for a firehouse, it appears that multiple bonuses may have been given in several categories for the same items.

    Summit Creek or Spring Hollow is another previously approved development (19 on 26 acres) to return to take advantage for the increased densities allowed under the new (RA-1 code.) Base density up 5% and total up 32 %. Again the bonuses proposed are for items that greatly benefit the development but add little to the County other than a trail, more houses and traffic and an increase in negative fiscal impact of $107,000 from the 19 original (may be partly due to parameters of the calculations)

    Wasatch Commons in the North Village is requesting a change to the code because it is too restrictive to allow them to receive their "allowed" density under the current restriction. It has a negative fiscal of over $800,000 which is supposed to be offset by an adjoining commercial development which may produce over $800,000 if a "big box" is allowed (currently NOT allowed under County Code).

    These are just developments under consideration by the Wasatch County Planning Commission for May and June, more to come in July and . . .
    Heber City and Midway have also recently approve a bevy of annexations and subdivisions.

    Click on the link for some of the developments approved Pre 2003 and in 2004-2006

    Eagle View05/10/071617
    Falcon Ridge06/14/0766102
    Lakeside DV06/14/0736038
    Pine Shadows05/10/072222
    Sleeping Indian06/14/07151295
    Summit Ck06/21/072526
    Wasatch Commons05/10/07393112
    Woods Cobblestone

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    Wasatch City - Part 27

    Many of you long-time residents of delightful rural Wasatch County remember the good old days of green fields, pastures and open spaces that you cherished about the lovely Heber Valley. Many of you newcomers were enticed to this area because of the same features.

    Most of you are aware that we live in one of the fastest growing areas of the country, partly because of the valley's desirability that is recognized by new and old alike. About two years ago, some county officials finally seemed to realize that we were losing the small town atmosphere that everyone seemed to agree was desirable - as shown through polls, comments and, even, campaign speeches. A moratorium was placed on development in the county.

    The supposed purpose was to provide for open space on the valley floor to attempt to retain some of that desired and elusive open space and rural character. The resultant law from that 2005 moratorium was a convoluted "cluster" requiring each development to have 50% open space, with bonus density for pretty landscaping. This was quickly found to be unworkable for various reasons, mainly because it tried to put eight pounds of stuff in a five pound bag.

    A second moratorium was enacted and the RA1 development law was again changed to now require only 30% open space in each development, again with bonuses for cosmetics. A possibility of a "fee in lieu" was included, as a teaser, to allow the purchase of additional density (building lots) above the base of one lot per 1.3 acres.

    Land developers are very shrewd in interpreting law and configuring their acreage to maximize their investment. Very quickly the idea arose that "each proposed cluster development shall provide thirty (30%) dedicated open space" did NOT mean 30% of the land must be open space, but it meant that open space could be someone's back yard, or a road, or unbuildable land, or anything that would allow the maximum number of houses to be built and maximum profit to be made. Recent (maybe two months ago) INTERPRETATION of this development law indicated the REQUIRED 30% open space could be offset by a fee - for which there is NO LAW to allow this to happen.

    The end result to date: Before the 2005 moratorium, in the RA1 zone, one acre was required to build one house. Meaning, quite simply, on 100 acres about 69 houses could be built, because of required roads and lot layouts designed of a minimum of one acre. The first resultant RA 1 law changed this to a base density of 76 houses on that same 100 acres (a ten percent increase); or, with 50% open space, 100 houses could be built (a 40 % increase). That second law kept that density increase but required a 30% open space.

    The latest INTERPRETATION: The open space may be someone's backyard and is contained in the 1.3 acre per house calculation - which will now allow 1 house per acre and NO open space is required. This amounts to a 40% increase in density before the moratoriums to increase open space and "To maintain and protect Wasatch County's rural character" - the avowed and expressly written purpose of section 16.27.10 of the County Land Use Code.

    Thus the continuing slide towards Wasatch City continues, not even considering the massive and growing density increases caused by city annexations. Is this 40% density increase really in the interest of the "health, safety and welfare of the community?"

    In rural Wasatch County, is this truly the desire of the residents?

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    NEW RA-1 Code = MORE houses

    On 11/29, the Wasatch County Council passed a new RA-1 development law again accelerating the march toward Wasatch City. This was a joint public hearing of the Council and the Planning Commission, which was not widely advertised. Changes to Title 16 (Land Use code) generally have two separate public hearings separated by 14 day public notice periods for the public to consider and comment on the proposed changes.

    Approval of the change was first recommended by the Planning Commission by a vote of 5-1, after discussion and minimal public input. Perhaps some residents had missed the legal notice in the Deseret News.

    The Council then approved the measure with a few changes, which further increased the allowable density. Approval was by a vote of 4-3, with Bangerter, Price, Draper and Farrell voting in favor and Anderton, Crittenden and Kohler voicing opposition.

    Current number of houses existing in the Eastern Planning Area (EPA) = 625
    • potential houses under current law ca. 4700
    • potential houses under new law ca. 6250
    • A potential 33% INCREASE in an area with a current approval of about 1500 houses

    Below is an analysis of the potential effects on the EPA(Center and Lake Creek area) from Wasatch County GIS data.

    below 5.0 acres maximum houses acres/1.3 minus one for the current house
    5.0 to 15 acres: maximum houses = acres - current houses
    empty parcels will more likely approach the max allowable
    parcels with current houses may be less likely to subdivide
    current law: 0.75 houses per acre

    A few lots are P160
    Timber Lakes development NOT included
    For reference, Red Ledges development proposal was for a total of 1400 houses. In 2004, Wasatch County had 7,853 housing units.
    This analysis does not include P160 and M Zone
    This analysis covers ONLY the EPA and does not include other areas of Wasatch County, including Jordanelle (which may have a build out of 15,000 houses).

    The primary cause of the increase under the new law results from now allowing credit for area used by roads in the computation of density. This has historical never been done. Under the current law, recently under moratorium, 25% of the area was removed for roads yielding a maximum density of one lot per acre for 75% of the buildable land in a parcel. (40 acres allowed 30 houses)

    No solution was offered to the Transportation Plan for the area to accommodate this future growth. The recent citizens' General Plan review of the EPA was not presented or apparently considered.


    RA 1 No Houses Built547372147682116106141201

    total acres buildable

    avg lot size?2.277.0910.7117.7125.8131.4044.0088.86
    maximum added houses?650104272837241331426412445027

    under current law


    likely new houses ??

    RA 1 with a House183333781582222625

    total acres buildable

    avg lot size0.732.326.0011.8017.1326.0032.5045.5097.50
    maximum added houses02602821621295063891931228

    under current law


    likely new houses ??

    Total Parcels73070522583291812816391

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Red Ledges requests Heber Annexation

    Despite the 4-3 approval for a Zone change from the County Planning Commission, the Red Ledges apparently has decided to request annexation to Heber City.

    "Todd Cates/Lauren Knowles – Annexation Petition – Red Ledges Recreation Community – Consisting of 1,515.73 Acres and located at approximately 2300 East to 3600 East Lake Creek Road on the northern side of Lake Creek Road" Heber City Council agenda 11/16/2006

    The City Council gave their preliminary OK and advised them to continue with their submission to the Heber City Planning Commission.

    This might be an excellent time to review the Joint County/City meeting of August 14, 2006. A paraphrased transcript may be found on this blog dated 9/16/2006. Better yet, a podcast of that entire meeting can be heard by clicking here or here and then click on the download link.

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Red Ledges Zone Change Approval

    A news story reported on the "ritzy venture" on Thursday, discussing the Red Ledges development and its effect on Wasatch County.

    The first step in the approval process came before the Planning Commission on 11/9, after an initial 3 to 3 vote in an earlier meeting. At this meeting, traffic studies indicated a threefold increase in traffic on Center St. from new developments - without some alternatives being implemented.

    After extended discussion of the potential traffic which and introduction of various possible traffic plans, several of the approximately 75 citizens in attendance expressed their opinions. About 15 people spoke, with over two-thirds expressing displeasure with proposed zone change. Previous meetings had also brought vocal opposition to the project. A few residents have indicated their approval of the proposed 1500 new houses which the project might bring.

    After all of the discussion, a motion was made to deny the approval for the zone change, which was defeated by a vote of 3 to 4. A subsequent motion to approve was passed 4 to 3. The issue now goes to the County Council for their consideration. The change for P160 and RA-1 will allow an increase from less than 50 house to about 500 under current Mountain Zone regulation. An further request has been made to change the law concerning the zone to further increase the allowable houses to nearer the desired 900 plus.

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Red Ledges Development Survey

    A new internet poll has been posted concerning the Red Ledges development at This survey is open to Wasatch County residents and is totally anonymous. It will take about five minutes to complete and has ample room for personal comments. Please feel free to weigh in with your opinion.

    The Red Ledges development is proposed as a large gated community with a private golf course and other amenities for its residents. I would be located on the former McNaughtan farm on the eastern edge of Heber City just north of Center St and would include the adjoining property located in Wasatch County.

    More information can be found on the developers' website by clicking HERE.

    The project is currently planned to be jointly developed in coordination with both Heber City and Wasatch County. Several hearings have been held on the issue. One joint meeting was reported HERE.

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    What to do about growth

    1 Educate Yourself

    To find the rules of growth, planning and zoning, see County Title 16, the County General Plan for Wasatch County. For Heber City, see the Heber City Code (particularly Titles 17 & 18).

    To read the City survey, click here - Big Box for the presentation and results

    Other contacts, Wasatch County Heber City and we mustn't forget Midway

    2 Inform your Neighbors

    In Wasatch County, Empty land has Property Rights, People in HOMES do not! The avowed purpose of "Zoning" is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community. That must include the current residents who have repeatedly expressed their collective desire to maintain a rural, small town environment.

    They have built and purchased homes at least partly predicated on promised zoning. Regulations are being continually modified toward higher and higher densities and more and more growth in defiance of the expressed desires of the residents.

    3 Express your Opinions

    To contact your elected officials, see County Council and Heber City Council and/or the Mayor or City Manager

    Mike Davis Wasatch County Manager, 654-3211 fax 657-5116

    Mark Anderson Heber City Manager, 654-0757
    Alan Fawcett Planning Director, 654-4830

    4 We need to understand, we ALL live in Wasatch County!

    (The recent growth survey was posted at Preliminary results were posted below in this blog.)

    Saturday, August 05, 2006

    The BIG BOX survey - May 2005

    Talking about consistency of opinions, here a some from Heber City's "Big Box" survey. Many of the elected officials, appointed board members and associated bureaucrats are attempting to say that it was a clarion call for more retail stores, shopping and, of course, the ubiquitous BIG BOX.

    When asked in for an open answer (#6) "What do you like best about living in the Heber City are?" about 60% specifically responded with terms like "rural," "small town," "peaceful," "remoteness," and "beauty."

    When asked (#7) for desired "major improvements," 28 % said "more shopping facilities." Reading the comments, one finds that means "mom and pop" stores, restaurants, movies, small retail stores, etc. - a mere 4% suggested a Big Box.

    In answer to (#42) "What projects or services would you like," only 12% called for "more retail shopping" and, again, a mere 4% (9 out of 236) indicated a desire for a Big Box.

    "How important is it to you that Heber City have that small-town character?" (#43) gets an astounding 89% answering somewhat (27%) or very (62%) important.

    Other interesting responses:
    69% seldom or never buy groceries "OUTSIDE of Wasatch County." (#58)
    63% seldom or never buy gasoline "OUTSIDE of Wasatch County." (#63)
    49% seldom or never buy hardware "OUTSIDE of Wasatch County." (#61)

    61% supported an ordinance on retail store size. (#83, 84)
    65% agree that "Large retail stores negatively impact local businesses." (#91)
    55 % say "Large retail stores negatively the character of Main Street." (#93)

    68% say Big Boxes will increase tax revenues, to which I respond Big Box Baloney.

    Anyone wishing to read the entire results, the dusty archive of Heber City may be able to produce a copy - be sure to get the comments, too.

    Survey Comments - Define Rural

    These are VERBATIM comments submitted be survey participants:

    3. Please define "rural" in respect to growth in Wasatch County.
    Property used for livestock or crops.
    Generally Farms and ranches intermixed with low density housing. With recognition that some very limited areas will need to be set aside for affordable housing.
    open space
    the areas surrounding provo River that has not been developed but is now in horse farms and meadows. Use the hillsides and East of Heber for development but keep the areas between Heber and Midway green.
    low housing density, large open spaces
    Robust agriculture thrives on a siginficant portion of the county's inhabited land. Large tracks of open, virgin, untouched forest and brush land where wild life florishes.
    Agricultural land interspersed with residentual. Limited (be careful of the big box business) although I enjoy shopping at them, "rural" is the opposite of their nature.
    Wasatch County has already defined it----it is one home per acre in a subdivision and one for every five acres outside of a subdivision. Does the public keep having to remind you in the face of the barrage of developer pressure?
    you can see and smell the cows
    small town feel. Knowing that big stores, some services will not be available. Slow growth, open spaces, animal rights on some property. Lack of big developments. Government that assists us in keeping the small town feel, a government that does not feel like they need to provide all the services of a big city. Keeps costs in check.
    Wasatch County up to 5-7 years ago
    Definable communities with open space seperating them so they don't all run together. A community where their is a sense of belonging and knowing your neighbors.
    Even if hard to define, we know it when we see it - and where we are going is not rural!
    Use a formula of present developable acreage in the county divided by the present population = persons per acre, and do not allow future development to increase this factor and to only allow new developments to sustain growth to a predetermined build out date.
    Homes that have more than 5 acres or farming area for either food or animals
    Open Fields, such as a farming comunity, along with areas that might have small 5 acre homesteads.
    We need to keep the open field/space feeling. Keep some breathing room, and recreation and horse property.
    Designated open space that the taxpayers have to bond for to purchase from the farmers. Keep North Fields WETLANDS regardless of a new septic system being approved. Cluster lots to allow open space. No one wants to water and maintain a 1 acre lot that's not horse property.
    To many fields disappearing into subdivisions. I can't go four wheeling anywhere we used to just a few short years ago.
    Open space in neighborhoods and in areas throughout the community. Clustering is probab;y a good idea.
    People in rural areas live on farms and in other isolated houses
    Rural is being able to sit on your back porch with an unobstructed view of the country-side be it mountains or fields instead of an ocean of homes. Rural is not being able to see what your neighbors are having for dinner. I have been there and done that.
    Many open fields, many containing animals
    Out side of the city limits, usually with a small farm, cows, chickens, etc.
    slow responsible growth based on needs and not on money. Rural is open spaces, homes on large lots. People with animals. Small businesses. views from the hillsides and views of the hillsides that are open and uncluttered.
    Websters defines "rural" as "sparsely settled or agricultural country". To apply that to planning and zoning regularions in the County, some portion of space, i.e., 35%, 40%, perhaps even 50%, within the County needs to be reserved or designated as "sparsely populated agricultural" space. A portion of this "rural" space could, and should, be the hills sides, but a major portion should also be the flatlands, that could feasibly be considered agricultural.
    more open space in developments- not so condensed
    rural to me means open space used for agriculture and animals such as horse pastures. It can mean large 5 acre lots or if smaller, open space for parks, etc.
    Rural in respect to growth in Wasatch County appears to include building construction on any site in the county that has a willing seller and a willing buyer.
    Rural=pasture land or farming land with a home or two on a minimum of 5 acre parcels.
    Maintain the horse/pasture land as you enter from the North. This really sets up a "rural" feel for the valley.
    a country lifestyle (this includes open space, right to have animals/livestock, room for large gardens or farmland). Wife says "wildlife habitat" should be included here; husband disagrees; he feels open space covers "wildlife."
    No stop lights anywhere but main, no shopping on 12th S. east of Heber, or on Center East of Heber. At least half of the existing farms east and west of 40 remain in agrucultural use or open space.
    Lots of pasture land, open fields. Few ammenities such as sidewalks and Wal-Mart.
    rural signifies property not immediately bordering a major housing development
    Rural is a small town or small farming community.
    Rural was when it was farm land. We are no longer rural in the sense of agricultrural dependency but rather gentlemen farmers or back yard farmers. Our land is used to house families and recreational animals tho ride on trails rather than pl;ow the fields. Times have changed and we are that change.
    There no longer is "rural" in the unincorporation areas of Wasatch County.
    Wasatch county is rural in the sense that the streets do not have side walks and the road ways are narrower than Salt Lake. We are rural in the fact that people own horses and cows and you can hear a rooster crow. We are rural that we know the difference between a rooster and a hen.
    For a metropolitan dweller Wasatch County is frightening and way too far removed from civilization. It is all in the eye of the beholder. We are rural because we board our own animals.
    Rural means you can't see or smell what your neighbor is having for dinner
    Being rural means you are from a small school and have to go to town to get a bigger selection of goods and services.
    Houses on farms or ranches. Not PUDs.
    My definition of rural is the way this town was before Lynn Adams sold us down the river.
    There is no rural any more. Not the same place I grew up in.
    Homes with 5 + acres.
    Where farmland, houses, and animals coexist. Not where farm land gets filled in with huge homes with big driveways.
    Rural is going to no more at the rate of growth Im seeing. Small town businesses that are unique to our area. Specialty shops, we dont need big box stores!
    where ther are no subdivisions, and there are at least 5 acre lots for each house.
    Farmland/ space in between homes / livestock
    Rural to me means that there is more land in agriculture than in residential areas and that people are more concerned about their natural resources than shopping and eating out and driving fast.
    open space,large building lots,trees,streams,
    WE all ahave to know and understand we are growing planing is MOST inportant and staying wirh the plan after it is made we can not have a plan with out a vision and we did that in 2001 and then it was changed. So lets all get on the some page.
    To maintain its rural character, Wasatch County MUST preserve the open spaces between municipalities. This includes both the North and South Fields as well as the traditional agricultural activities connected to them. This must be based on something more tangible than a "gentelman's agreement." If we value the rural character of the valley, we must do what we can to preserve it. If growth is inevitable, we should not assume that well-managed growth comes along with it automatically. I'd rather end up looking like Jackson Hole (managed growth)than Park City (overdeveloped); or Ogden Valley (still essentially rural) rather than Star Valley (haphazard planning).
    We need to keep the wetlands and some open spaces, that is why many of live here and/or have choosen to move here.
    "rural" should mean larger parcels, and less density
    Open space--Farm land and ect..
    can't see neighbors or hear traffic
    You can see wife next door taking a shower
    the sound of crowing roosters in the morning
    Have balance between endless, cluttered subdivisions and pastures, agriculture and openess.
    Rural means agriculture and open space are apparent

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Another Moratorium!!!

    Lo and behold, Wasatch County has discovered that the "solution" to the previous moratorium was unworkable and another moratorium has been enacted at the Wednesday Council meeting 7/12.

    Trying not to gloat, I'll simply refer the reader to this posted on Feb 22.

    Citizens of Wasatch have another opportunity to speak up about growth - if they will take it. Otherwise, I fear more of the same - or even worse.

    Wasatch County Population 2005 - 18,974

    Projection based on already approved developments - at very conservative 8.000 approved (probably 9 to 10,000) - add another 24,000 to 30,000 plus all of the other developments not yet introduced.