Heber City Council

Where do our candidates stand on important issues?

Heber City is the third-fastest growing micropolitan city in the nation. With that comes great pressure to grow responsibly and to stay focused on what makes this area so special. Numerous surveys completed in the last decade reflect the residents’ desires to keep our small-town feel, open fields, clean air, trails, recreation and quality of life we’ve all come to love.

Eight candidates originally ran for the three open seats on the Heber City Council, but only six made it through the primary election held on August 13, 2019. As the residents of Heber head to the polls on November 5, it’s important to remember that this next term may determine what Heber City will look like in the near and distant future — and how the largest city in the county will affect the rest of Wasatch County.

To help better inform our community on where these six city council candidates stand on some of Heber’s most pressing issues, we asked the candidates three questions that get to the heart of the quality of life we so enjoy.

  1. Would you vote for an airport expansion?
  2. Do you believe Heber needs a western bypass road,
    and if so, where should it go?
  3. Do you support Form-Based Code?

A Little Background on the Issues

  1. The Heber Valley Airport, also known as Russ MacDonald Field, has been an issue of concern for many Heber Valley citizens. The airport started out as a local, modest option for enthusiasts. As Wasatch and Summit counties grew and attracted many second homeowners, our local airport has grown bigger and noisier due to its increase use for larger planes and leer jets. The affect on our valley’s air quality has also been raised as a concern.

Since the airport is owned by Heber City, only Heber City citizens are able to decide its fate. Currently, an update of the airport master plan is underway and community involvement will be vital in shaping its vision. In the next year or two, decisions about the airport will have to be made by the Heber City Council.

  • The Heber Parkway — also known as the western bypass — has been discussed and planned for by local officials for over 20 years. Now, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is getting more involved. UDOT will have a say in the location of the bypass and is conducting an environmental study over the next three years. Heber City and Wasatch County officials will need to work together to present a unified front and jointly state our preference for the location of the bypass.
  • The Form-Based Codes Institute defines Form-Based Code (FBC) as “a land development regulation that fosters predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code. A form-based code is a regulation, not a mere guideline, adopted into city, town, or county law.” FBC typically addresses architectural and neighborhood design, landscaping, signage and environmental regulations. 

Heber City Council Candidate
Jeffery M. Bradshaw

  1. Would you vote for an airport expansion?

I would not vote for an airport expansion.

  • Do you believe Heber needs a western bypass road, and if so, where should it go?

Heber City definitely needs a western bypass road. The Environmental Impact Study will by and large tell us where it should go and where it should not go. I believe that for the most part, it will be along the same general route that has been proposed on numerous occasions in the past. I believe the city and the county should have a say as to exactly where it should go.


3. Do you support Form-Based Code?

In speaking about Form-Based Code, I don’t believe there is a simple yes or no answer as to whether one supports such a code. If one wants a walkable community with residential and commercial properties interspersed, that is a form of Form-Based Code. If the community doesn’t want that in some areas, I don’t see why those areas couldn’t remain as they are.

The facts of the matter are, the city studied adopting a Form-Based Code, but instead of adopting parts of that which made sense and not other parts, the whole idea was voted against. Yes, I was the only council member that voted not to throw out the baby with the bath water.

To learn more about Jeffery Bradshaw and his platform, please visit his council member page online. To contact Jeffery directly, you can email him at jbradshaw@ci.heber.ut.us.

Heber City Council Candidate
Ronald R. Crittenden

  1. Would you vote for an airport expansion?

I committed prior to my 2016-2019 election to NOT SUPPORT AIRPORT EXPANSION. I have kept that pledge. I authored a Heber City Resolution opposing airport expansion unless the majority of city residents, after being informed of the financial implications, voted in support.

I still stand behind that resolution, which was passed in 2016 but withdrawn by three city council votes, NOT MINE.

  • Do you believe Heber needs a western bypass road, and if so, where should it go?

I believe we need a western bypass. In coordination with the current UDOT study, but if practical, it should go as near as possible in alignment with the considerable property already acquired by Wasatch County and Heber City. It should NOT include a relocation of Highway 189 onto 1300 South.

  • Do you support Form-Based Code?

ABSOLUTLY NOT! As soon as I was on the council, and learned what it was, I expended considerable time and energy to assure its defeat (against the vote of two of this year’s candidates). 

Why not? Because it was an onerous usurpation of property rights and our citizens RIGHTS to build to their style and preferences – instead of some planners’ subjective idea of Utopia. Problem is, elements of the “code” are creeping back into our codes and it will take the election of the right people to stop its encroachment.

To learn more about Ron Crittenden and his platform, please visit his council member page online. To contact Ron directly, you can email him at rcrittenden@ci.heber.ut.us.

Heber City Council Candidate
Michael Johnston

  1. Would you vote for an airport expansion?

Nobody wants the airport to expand. Neither do I. Nobody wants larger jets, more noise or more air pollution. Neither do I.

I would vote to keep the airport safe for everyone involved and for the minimum improvements required by contractual obligations with the FAA.

  • Do you believe Heber needs a western bypass road, and if so, where should it go?

Heber City absolutely, positively, no-doubt-about-it needs to move Highway 40/189 off of Main Street, or else Main Street will eventually devolve into a horrible place to be. Heber City’s downtown cannot thrive, or even survive, unless the federal highway is moved. 

UDOT will ultimately determine the route for the realigned highway, with input from the community, the city and the county. It probably will be similar to the route previously identified by Heber City and Wasatch County on their master transportation plans, and I generally support that. I absolutely support moving the highway and I will also advocate for mitigation of negative impacts to nearby properties along the new route.

  • Do you support Form-Based Code?

There are very few people in Wasatch County who can explain what a Form-Based Zoning Code is and how it differs from the current development code Heber City uses. What people actually care about is the quality of the spaces they live in, work in and hang-out in. 

Our current Heber City layout and form is a result of 1970s zoning codes based on the distinct Separation of Uses and total reliance on the automobile to move between those uses. If we want more of that car-dependent sprawl, then let’s stick with the zoning codes that we have. Or MAYBE we could think seriously about the livability of Heber City in 30 years and make a better plan to build quality spaces we actually love. 

I will support development codes that promote green spaces, public plazas, shared parking, more parks, connected trails, better streets, a lot more trees, pedestrian- and bicycle-oriented projects, civic spaces, diversity of housing sizes and ownership options, connectivity and integration of mixed uses, and preserved open lands around the city.

If we get that, then who really cares what the name of the code is?

To learn more about Mike Johnston and his platform, visit
ilikemike.cc. To contact Mike directly, you can email him at
mike@summiteg.com.

Heber City Council Candidate
Rachel Kahler

  1. Would you vote for an airport expansion?

I believe it is the city’s responsibility to maintain a safe B-2 airport. Heber City is legally and ethically responsible to provide an airstrip that meets the requirements established by the FAA. An airport master plan will provide guiding principles for the future of the airport.

  • Do you believe Heber needs a western bypass road, and if so, where should it go?

The Highway 40 bypass conversation has been around for over 40 years, so long that many long-time residents believe it will never happen. Yet, we can’t ignore the safety concerns that the increase in population and growth has now created, nor can we dismiss the recent fatalities on that stretch of road.

It’s not a matter of if, but a question of when, in terms of the implementation and construction to occur. While many believe the bypass will move the semi-truck traffic off of Main Street, the reality is the passenger car traffic accounts for 90% of the increase. Semi-truck traffic has remained a steady 10% of the daily traffic in recent years, but their size and noise get our attention when they are rumbling down the road.

We have the attention of the governor of the state of Utah. He recognizes that our Main Street currently divides our historical Heber City into two parts, and is failing when it comes to the traffic congestion. Main Street traffic has increased to over 32,000 annual average daily trips, a jump from 25,000 just a few years ago, and it will only continue to grow as our local population increases. Inflow of traffic into the valley on a daily basis includes some 3,008 vehicles, while 8,489 travel outside of the Heber Valley commuting to work, school or other important aspects of living life in the mountains. Which leaves 3,664 vehicles circulating within the valley daily*.

UDOT has begun the environmental study to determine the impact a bypass may have on our community. This study will proceed with guiding principles for the project including: defining the need, avoid, minimize and mitigate. Meaning UDOT evaluates and determines prior to constructing roads, and takes great effort to not interfere with houses or destroy property, plants or animals, but to determine the best course of action for the community. At this point, it is too preliminary to determine the best route option.

*Information provided was previously written by me for an article in Heber Valley Life, Winter 2018. Data provided by Shawn Seager, director of Mountainland Association of Government.

  • Do you support Form-Based Code?

I do not support the Form-Based Code planning model. Heber City currently plans from Use-Based Code, of which, could be modified to create design standards and increase our architectural standards. We should guide our city’s planning process with more emphasis of creating beautiful spaces, that would be applied to commercial and residential standards, increase landscape and parking standards, and aesthetically guide new construction. Design guidelines could help to create cohesive neighborhoods that are active, walkable places with a mix of uses and housing types. These standards could be applied to our commercial areas in the design of new buildings, remodels, parking lots and open spaces.

To learn more about Rachel Kahler and her platform, please visit @KahlerForHeberCouncil on Facebook. To contact Rachel directly, you can email her at kahlerforhebercouncil@gmail.com.

Heber City Council Candidate
Perry Rose

  1. Would you vote for an airport expansion?

My answer is NO! We have a city 27 miles away that is trying to become a commercial airport and we have one in Salt Lake that we the public have spent a lot of money to upgrade. We do not need to make ours bigger, we just need to do other things that will make it feasible and not a money drain for us. Expanding is not the answer.

  • Do you believe Heber needs a western bypass road, and if so, where should it go?

It is important that we get the bypass in for the future, but do it the right way by looking at every option. In the meantime, come up with ideas to take some pressure off of Main Street – better walkways, bike trails, private transportation, carpooling – there is a lot we can do to help in the meantime.

It is very important that we do not let traffic find its own way through our back streets, like what is going on now, putting our children at risk during their outside time.

  • Do you support Form-Based Code?

No, I do not support Form-Based Code. I have not got into it real deep, but everything I have seen and looked at is not what I think will be in the best interest of Heber. There are so many other things more important we need to put on our forefront before Form-Based Code. The majority local citizens have said “NO, we do not want it” and that is who I stand for and represent.

To learn more about Perry Rose and his platform, you can email him at piman1298@yahoo.com.

Heber City Council Candidate
Ryan P.C. Stack

  1. Would you vote for an airport expansion?

While Heber City must operate a safe airport, I do not support any action that will invite more jets or larger jets into Heber City. The current situation surrounding our airport is a complete mess, but we must 1) complete the legally-required master plan process, and 2) honor our existing commitments. 

From there we must stop stepping into costly litigation and instead proactively solicit sound legal advice to run the airport in the best interest of Heber City and its residents.     

  • Do you believe Heber needs a western bypass road, and if so, where should it go?

Congestion on Main Street is a real problem and I believe the proposed Heber Valley Parkway is the only viable answer. The bypass is also necessary to save Main Street and allow it to prosper as a vibrant downtown core.

Our Main Street should be a place people want to drive to instead of through! UDOT representatives recently mentioned that UDOT may ultimately recommend against the bypass. If so, I will carefully consider all proposed alternatives. But our traffic planning must be based on current information and projections, not outdated and stale information from a 16-year-old transportation plan. Heber City should continue to work alongside UDOT during its environmental study to identify the best possible route that will impact the least amount of people.

  • Do you support Form-Based Code?

I do not support the imposition of Form-Based Codes onto existing developments. That said, we must plan proactively with an eye toward the future — that means having better plans that positively influence livability within the city. 

This is why we should consider Form-Based Codes for targeted new developments and annexations — even the county’s current zoning for the North Village area is Form-Based. Such a code makes sense for new areas to establish an overall design aesthetic, maintain high architectural standards, and encourage mixed use and walkability where desired. There is a great deal of misinformation circulating about Form-Based Codes, so I encourage everyone to study the issue and reach your own conclusions!

To learn more about Ryan Stack and his platform, visit stackforcouncil.com. To contact Ryan directly, email him at stackforcouncil@gmail.com.