Midway Residents Hear From Four Candidate Running For City Council

Midway residents heard from the four candidates running for Midway City Council on Thursday evening.

The Midway Boosters sponsored the event. During the October 10th meeting residents heard from the four candidates running for the three available seats on Midway’s City Council. For an hour and a half, they answered questions and discussed issues in Midway.

One question they were asked was how they would make the development process in Midway more ideal, and should the city stand up to developers even when legal action is threatened?

Here’s Incumbent Bob Probst.

“The ideal development situation–I’m not sure there is one,” Probst continued. “One thing that maybe could be done—it seems like we see a lot of development agreements made and then later on down the line they’re back in wanting to amend it. Change things and tweak things around and some of it seems logical, but some of its overboard. It’s almost like they get an inch, they’re going to go and try to get mile. Maybe one thing we could do is make the development agreement a little more stringent to begin with. It seems like we get overrun with developers coming back wanting to tweak and new amendments and stuff and it is a little frustrating. Like, why did we even make an agreement? Maybe there’s some work that could be done there.”

Candidates were also asked about their vision for Main Street, particularly how to resolve the parking issue. Candidate Kevin Payne is currently serving on the Midway Planning Commission, he says it’s an issue that organization is also attempting to take on.

“The issue in my opinion is not so much that we’re short on parking spaces; it’s a user problem,” Payne explained. “We eat out at the Mercantile for example. There’s plenty of spaces there. You just have to walk a block on Main Street or half a block. People are pulling off and getting into the residential neighborhood. It’s a user issues, it’s an enforcement issue. Again, I don’t think throwing a bunch of parking spaces is going to solve the issue. Increasing the parking requirement for these restaurants–we’ve already increased it by 66%–increasing it further is really going to discourage them to come in. The Mercantile wouldn’t have developed under even the current code today, based on the parking requirements. Additionally, we end up with too much parking, that’s going to have to be maintained by the city. We’ve suggested at the Planning Commission level for example to require a new development coming in to pay some fees for annual leasing of spaces. To allow us to create these spaces off of Main Street so we’re not filling Main Street with parking lots behind and kind of cluster them; that businesses can share and use.”

Candidates were also asked about how they plan to maintain Midway’s Rural Character. Retiring Attorney Steve Dougherty says that quirks such as goats in residents’ backyards help create a rural feel.

“I know developers,” Dougherty said. “I represent them, I oppose them sometimes. They have a way of doing business to maximize profit, that’s density, that’s anti rural if you will. We need to discourage that to the point we can without getting sued for taking property rights; but we need to encourage that rural atmosphere. One of the great things that I think we did, you can disagree with me Bob, but passing the open space bond allowed a planning tool. I say of last resort because we need to stretch those dollars as far as we can, but a planning tool that allows us to take away the incentive to develop a large piece of property by buying up those development rights. The people keep the property and it’s not taking the property, but it’s buying those development rights to maintain that rural character. Yes, we have to pay the bond, but those are the costs of keeping what you want.”

Connecting Midway’s many trails also was an issue discussed. Incumbent Lisa Kohler Orme says it’s one of the reasons she ran for office and has been a focus of the council for the past few months.

“We’ve really been addressing trails,” Orme continued. “We’ve been looking at those trails to nowhere. Some of them are going to continue to be to nowhere, but we’re trying to make it so that you can walk all the way and that those trails will connect to somewhere. I think there will still be those trails to nowhere, but you won’t go on those, you’ll go on the ones that actually go through. But they all can’t go through. I was involved in a piece of property and the trail it was actually a lot that was taken from two building lots to one. Because they called that the development process, they made them put a trail across the front. Well it’s the only one there. It’s been there, it’s kind of been something that I’ve watched before I ran and felt like it’s part of the reason I ran. I felt like that was not the right thing, because it should have been a trail that continued. So, hopefully we’re addressing that and that will continue as well. That’s something that’s on the agenda almost constantly.”

Candidates also discussed power lines, open space and potential conflicts of interests as well as other things. To hear all the candidates answers to these and other questions you can go here.

Ballots will be mailed out to all active registered voters on October 16th. Residents can also vote at the polls on November 5th. To check your registration statues and register to vote go to vote.utah.gov.

Read the original story at KPCW.org