Review Board Sets April 20 Hearing For Rocky Mountain Power’s Complaints Against Midway City

The Utah Utility Facility Review Board held their initial hearing regarding Rocky Mountain Power’s petition against Midway City on Tuesday.

The Midway City Council unanimously approved in December the joint conditional use permit submitted by Rocky Mountain Power and Heber Light & Power to construct new transmission lines to carry power through the southern portion of Midway. The permit’s approval was conditioned on a few items, the key one being that the lines be buried—if Midway can secure the funds to pay for the additional costs.

Now, Rocky Mountain Power is challenging the city’s conditions of approval.

On Tuesday the board held an initial hearing regarding the complaint Rocky Mountain Power filed against Midway for the issuance of their conditional use permit.

One of the main points of contention at the hearing was whether evidence beyond what was presented to Midway City Council will be allowed in the hearing. Midway City attorney Corbin Gordon outlined what he believes Rocky Mountain Power will have to prove and how that will require a ton of evidence.

“You have to determine if the conditions that we’ve put on them impair their capacity to provide safe, reliable, and adequate service,” Gordon explained. “That’s what we’re here to decide, and they’re the ones that have to prove that. They’re insistent that this has to go in by 2020 and that we shouldn’t have the time to raise money to bury it. In order for you to make a decision to say well is this going to impair them or not they’re going to have to come in with that evidence. Your duty is to listen to the evidence that they have and if they can prove that they’re going to have rolling blackouts, well then you can make the decision. But if that’s hyperbole, if that’s just something that they’re saying, and there’s no evidence for it and we can get additional time and no one’s going to get hurt by it. Then that’s part of your duty as well.”

Rocky Mountain Power representative Bret Reich says that the key issue of the complaint is the excess costs to bury the lines and Midway’s obligation to pay that difference.

“The board is created to resolve disputes between local governments and Public Utilities regarding the siting and construction of facilities as provided in this part,” Reich said. “So, the dispute is more general than it’s not limited to a conditional use permit, but the very issue, in this case, is going to be the excess costs.”

At the hearing members of the review, board determined they would allow for additional evidence from Rocky Mountain Power and Midway City. The formal hearing to take place the week of April 20th, with deadlines throughout March for submission of additional evidence and testimony by the entities.

Reich also confirmed at the hearing that Rocky Mountain Power will be delivering bids to Midway soon.

“It’s in our best interest to get those to Midway City as soon as we get those,” Reich continued. “So, that is certainly what we’re going to do and we’re certainly going to make every effort to resolve this without the assistance of the board and I think Midway city feels the same. I mean we filed this just because we had to for statutory deadline, so hopefully, we won’t be back. So, yes we’re going to provide those bids as soon as we get him to review and make sure they are adequate for our purposes will get them to Midway City.”

Earlier in the hearing, Reich said they expected to receive the bids by February 28 and intend to turn them over to Midway by the end of the next week.

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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: