Looking to the Past to Prepare for the Future
As Warren Buffett once stated, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone else planted a tree a long time ago.” For more than a century, Heber City leaders have created a myriad of plans to address various community issues. Some of these plans hit the mark and created the proverbial shade that so many people presently enjoy. Other, less-than-perfect plans lacked the foresight to address many of the challenges of today.
The Need for an Updated Plan
As one of the fastest-growing communities in the United States, a lot has changed since Heber City’s General Plan was last updated in 2003. The city’s population has more than doubled since then, growing from approximately 7,500 people to more than 16,000 residents in 2019. During this same period of time, the populations of Summit County and the Uintah Basin have also increased dramatically — thus adding more pressure to local roads, businesses and city infrastructure.
With even more population growth on the horizon, the need to update the general plan is paramount to creating a successful future. “Our city and the world around us have changed significantly since our last general plan update,” said Heber City Mayor Kelleen Potter. “This effort will help elected officials and staff implement the vision shared by the citizens of this community.”
The Process of Updating the General Plan
In January 2019, Heber City officials and community stakeholders — led by Mayor Kelleen Potter — convened to begin the process of updating the city’s general plan. While the core group of nearly 20 stakeholders come from diverse backgrounds and industries, they all share a common love for the Heber Valley.
One of the main roles of this group of stakeholders is to build cooperation and awareness with other members of the community. Rather than forcing a top-down approach to updating the general plan, this process will involve an inclusive, more collaborative effort that places great value on public input. In addition, the group will also provide critical analysis and recommendations to help shape the initial phases of the general plan.
During the months to come in 2019, Heber City staff and the stakeholders will host a series of community open houses, workshops, public surveys and meetings. These important meetings will help the steering committee gather public input, conduct community research and create momentum to implement the goals of the general plan.
The process of developing the general plan will place emphasis on the following three steps:
Values: What do Heber City residents want for their city?
Vision: How will Heber City provide the desired values of the community?
Strategy: How will Heber City implement the goals and strategies of the general plan?
In addition to becoming a planning tool for Heber City officials, the general plan will also become a standard for Heber City residents — a standard for the city that they helped create.
The Importance of a General Plan
If you have an opinion about what you think Heber City should look like in 30 years, now is the time share your thoughts. Some of the key elements of the updated general plan — as previously voiced by the public — will include strategies to address transportation, affordable housing, economic development, residential zoning, historical preservation, parks and open space.
As Benjamin Franklin, one of our Founding Fathers, once stated, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Our citizens’ guiding questions for the general plan will help shape what our city looks like in five, 10, even 50 years — and will help Heber City prepare for prosperity, rather than failure.
Have a Say in the Future of Heber City
Whether you live in, work in or just love spending time in Heber City, please share your input regarding the future of the community. Help us plant more trees that will provide shade for generations to come. Learn more at www.envisionheber.com, the primary hub for information about the general plan, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates, survey questions and feedback.
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