Midway City Council To Discuss Potential New Homestead Developer, And A One Lot Subdivision

Midway City Council meets Tuesday evening. Items on the agenda include discussions about a transfer of rights for the Homestead Master Plan, a rural preservation subdivision and an update from the Open Space Committee.

Midway City Planner Michael Henke says If city council votes in favor of the master plan transfer of rights the potential new owners of the Homestead Resort will be able to develop the property according to the 2007 approved master plan.

“We have a master plan agreement with the owners of the Homestead,” Henke explained. “Whenever there is a group that would like to come in and become the developer of the Homestead there’s an official transfer of rights that needs to happen according to that agreement. We recently went through this with the Russ Watts proposal that fell through. So, this is a new group that’s coming in and would like to develop the Homestead under the terms of that agreement.”

Henke says in preliminary conversations with the potential new owners of the Homestead Resort the buyers said they would keep historic structures in the resort and use a hotel model to run the business.

“If they ever want to change this master plan then they would come through and apply for an amendment to the master plan agreement that we have,” Henke continued. “There’s really no indication that they’re going to try to change the plan right now.”

Part of the reason the Watts project to revitalize the Homestead did not go through was because of an inability to reach an agreement with a landowner inside the Homestead. Henke explains that there is no issue with the landowners should the 2007 master plan be carried out.

“The current master plan from 2008 build around those four condominium units,” Henke said. “So those are really incorporated into the master plan.”

Changes to the master plan could suggested by the interested buyers. Henke says if that conversation were to happen, the city would hope to engage with the public soon.

Another item on Midway City Councils agenda is a request for subdivision approval for Walker Farm. The subdivision would have just one home on 7.89 acres. That’s possible through a rural preservation subdivision.

“It’s a way of really keeping more open space and a rural atmosphere in Midway,” Henke explained. “Really the trade off from the city side is, instead of requiring frontage like we normally do with a subdivision—which is really one of the most expensive parts of building a subdivision—we would allow access through a private driveway with the proper easements. So, it makes some properties easier to develop with this current code but in return we end up with a deed restricted property. Where the density is never higher than one home for every five acres and that remains in perpetuity.”

Henke says the process allows developers to not build infrastructure that is normally required. He says its been a popular choice since it was adopted into the code. Henke also notes that these rural preservation subdivisions are not eligible for Midway Open Space Bond monies.

Midway City Council will also have a discussion regarding a subdivision on the land Wasatch County School District is purchasing for the new Midway Elementary School.

“They’re trying to take a larger piece of property and split it into two lots,” Henke continued. “One of those lots would be for a future elementary school if a bond is approved for that elementary school. So, we’re just going through the very preliminary stages of the land use process to just subdivide the property. So, we’re not specifically looking at the school that would be the future step in the process, but just to look at the land use code for that particular zone. Make sure they’re meeting the requirements to be able to subdivide the property.”

The Midway Open Space Committee will also give an update on their progress

“We’ve had a number of applications apply for that open space bond money,” Henke said. “We’re going to present just the preliminary of those first four applications that have gone farthest along in the process. Just talk about what our timeline is for having a recommendation send up to the City Council.”

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/.