Heber 2050 Public Visioning Workshop Allows Residents To Show Where And How They’d Like To Develop

A little more than 100 residents showed up on Wednesday evening to the Public Visioning Workshop as part of the Envision Heber 2050 initiative.

Read the original story at KPCW.org.

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.

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.