Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lone Peak Fire District Selects a New Chief

2017-11-21 Reed ThompsonThe fire district board tonight approved a contract with Reed Thompson to be the new fire chief. Mr. Thompson was the unanimous pick of the board plus the fire chiefs of Lehi, American Fork, and Pleasant Grove, who were part of the selection committee. The local chiefs all said that we be hard pressed to find a better candidate no matter how long we looked.

Mr. Thompson comes to us from the S. Jordan fire department where he currently serves the deputy fire chief. He has an Master's of Public Administration from BYU, serves as the chair of the Utah State Urban Search & Rescue Advisory Board (SUSAR), and the vice president of the National State Urban Search and Rescue Executive Board, and He has over 20 years of fire department experience. He will start on or before December 29th.

For those who had or have concerns about the process used to hire Mr. Thompson, we started with national search and received 16 applications from across the nation. As soon as Mr. Thompson submitted an application, his father, Mayor Mark Thompson, resigned from the fire district board. A selection committee comprised of the city administrators from Alpine, Cedar Hills, and Highland, plus board chief Sheldon Wimmer (Mayor of Alpine), and Brian Gwilliam (acting Fire Chief) with some assistance from local fire chiefs selected 6 applications to interview. From these the top 3 were selected to be interviewed by members of the board, the 3 local fire chiefs, and members of the Lone Peak Fire District. One of the top 3 candidates dropped out before the final interviews. Reed Thompson was the unanimous pick of the board members, who participated in the interviews, the 3 local fire chiefs, and was unanimously approved by the fire district board. Note, I did not participate in the interviews due to a schedule conflict (my mother-in-laws funeral).

I am excited that we have a new chief, who has the full support of the board, and look forward to seeing the district move forward in a positive direction. Click here to view Reed Thompson's resume.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Issues Raised in 2017 Highland City General Election

Sound BitesSeveral issues were raised during the campaign that require more than sound bite responses. Here our what I think are the top four issues and my thoughts on them. Feel free to share your point of view.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mann for Mayor: Endorsements

logo-large_thumb4Highland residents from all across the political spectrum, including some who disagree with me on issues that are important to them, talk about why they support my run for Mayor. So why do they support my candidacy? The biggest reasons are transparency, sharing information, and a willingness to engage.

Renee Braddy

Renee Braddy and her husband Kevin are actively involved in the community. They have made a difference in education, local and county politics as well as simply serving their neighbors. Renee reviews their interactions with me and my efforts to communicate with the residents of Highland..

Friday, October 20, 2017

2017 City Candidate Debate Video

2017-10-12 Debate

On Oct 12, 2017, the city sponsored a debate between candidates for city office. The format of the meeting was that each candidate was given time for an opening statement. Then candidates were given between 30 and 90 seconds to respond to questions. Following the question period each candidate was given the opportunity to give a closing statement.

City council candidates (Chris Kemp, Dennis LeBaron, Kurt Ostler, and Scott Smith) went through the process first followed by mayoral candidates (Jessie Schoenfeld and me – Rod Mann).

Saturday, October 14, 2017

East-West Connector–What Can You Do Today?

Background

The East-West or Murdock Connector is a road which has been under discussion for about 40 years. When built, it will connect N. County Parkway (4800 W) with Alpine Hwy (5300 W) south of Lone Peak High School.

Friday, October 6, 2017

An Open Meeting Violation is Being Referred to the County Attorney’s Office According to Senator Dayton

Stop Corruption - smThe East-West connector and development of the land south of Lone Peak High School continues to be most interesting. Was the meeting Senator Dayton expressed concern (my 15th “Issues and Information” meeting held at city hall on 5-Oct-2017) a violation of the Open Meeting Act. Good question. Let’s start with Senator Dayton’s email:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Why Am I Supporting Rod Mann For Mayor?

logo largeHere are five Highland residents discussing why they support my run for Mayor. In the group are those who did not vote for me when I ran for city council, are members of different political parties, and disagree with me on issues. Some I have known for twelve years others a just a few. These were recorded during the primary. More will be coming.

City Council 5-Sep-2017: Dry Creek Park, Library Expansion

Sixty-three residents were in attendance most were there for the Dry Creek Lake or the Library Expansion presentations.

Presentations

  1. Dry Creek Park – Lorin Powell, Lehi City Engineer. Lorin gave a presentation (click here to open the presentation) on the current status of the Dry Creek Park plan. Before I do a brief overview of the presentation let me first go over some background info:
    2017-09-05 Dry Creek Google Map

Saturday, September 30, 2017

City Council 1-Aug-2017: Safety Enhancement 11800 and Highland Blvd, Preliminary Approval for Ruby Estate, Urban Deer Control Discussion

imageThirty residents and guests attended the council meeting. I don’t believe there was one single issue that brought most of the residents although I believe a number came to see the 11800 N  / Highland Blvd Intersection safety construction motion approved.

APPEARANCES

  • David Larsen, a junior cabinet member, from Lone Peak HS, proposed putting an image of the LPHS Logo in the intersection of N. County Blvd and Cedar Hills Drive. The council indicated that they would support the initiative but that N. County Blvd was a state road and UDOT would need to authorize the project.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

City Council 18-Jul-2017: Country French No Build Zone, Preliminary Plats for Dr. Larsen Dental Office and Oak Ridge, Financial Sustainability Study, R-1-30 Zone Application

Forty-two residents and guests attended the council meeting. Most were there because of the No Build setback question in Country French Estates. 

APPEARANCES

  • Anne Hansen: Expressed support for proposed fireworks ban and indicated she would support a complete ban in the future.

  • Neal Evans: Asked that item 9 (R-1-30 zone application) and 3 (Oak Ridge Preliminary Plan) be discussed together.  Request was denied as they were independent issues (i.e. the result of a vote on one has no bearing on the other).

Monday, September 4, 2017

City Council 20-Jun-2017: Final Plat approvals, Fireworks and Open Fire Restrictions

10 residents plus Scout Troop 1128 were in attendance.

APPEARANCES

  • None.

CONSENT

  1. MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for the City Council Regular Session – June 6, 2017 Click here to view the minutes. Approved unanimously with minor changes.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lone Peak Fire District State Auditor's Report

Utah State Auditor LogoWe received the final report from the State Auditor’s office regarding the Lone Peak Fire District. There are a number of things that the district can improve on and I am thankful to the state auditors for putting together a  comprehensive list of items to work on.You can read the report below (click here to view the official pdf version of the report).

Here are links to stories in the media that cover the report:

Friday, August 4, 2017

Deciding Which Boxes To Check On Your Ballot

Mr Bean - Confused

I occasionally feel like Mr. Bean looks when it comes to deciding whose box to check on the ballot. Let me share some thoughts on what I believe is important based on having served nearly four years on the Highland City council.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Questions from Highland Residents

Questions-Sitting

I’ve knocked on nearly 10% of the doors in Highland, and talked with many of you at various events. Here are responses to three of the questions and comments I frequently hear:

Sunday, July 30, 2017

City Council 6-Jun-2017: Annexation, New Veterinary Office Permit, 2017-18 Budget Approval, and Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Plan

2017-06-06 Gen Fund Rev vs Exp

Sixteen residents attended the meeting; three were candidates, the rest had items of concern on the agenda or were there for scouting. We were done in less than an hour – most likely a record for an annual budget meeting. We were able to get through the budget “quickly” because of the discussions that we had in prior council meetings/work sessions, staff’s thoroughness in preparation and the mayor who moved things along.

APPEARANCES

Monday, July 10, 2017

16-May-2017: Funding Road Rehabilitation

2017-05-17 Highland Road - All Segments

Fifteen residents attended the meeting. Not many considering the nature of the conversation, the Road Fee.

APPEARANCES

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Why is Rod Running for Mayor?

RunningRod_white - croppedSo why the heck I am running? Wasn’t four years as a member of the Highland City council enough? My council experience actually exceeded my expectations. Granted they were low, however I found I enjoyed learning, responding to questions and writing about city issues in my blog. I also found that if I didn’t get push back on positions I ended up being unsure of them. When challenged I listen and do more homework. I find that my convictions are strengthened by the process or I modify my position based on new information.

The council and staff has “moved the ball” forward during the last four years.  I want to be involved in continuing to make improvements on how we operate as a city.


Why I am running for mayor of Highland City.

When I ran for council I initially had to push myself out  the door to walk neighborhoods. But as time went on I found that I really enjoyed talking with Highland residents. This time I was excited to go “tracting” again and I am enjoying the opportunity to meet people like you.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me via phone, text or email. Below is a copy of the content of a flyer I am handing out when I go out and knock on your doors.



Banner Medium

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

2-May-2017: Tentative Budget, Cemetery Fee updates, Political Signs

2017-05-02 Gen Fund Comparison 17 v 18 comparison
There were a limited number of residents present (7) at the meeting. Don’t know if that is good or bad :). The conversation with Rob Smith was interesting and informative. Thanks to ASD for being proactive and communicating with the city without any specific item in mind.

APPEARANCES

Sunday, May 28, 2017

18-Apr-17: Rezone of Property to the West of the new Car Wash

2017-04-18 11020 N 5500 W Parcel sm
Once again the most “popular” item on the agenda was a final vote on a rezone request for property located just to the west of the new car wash on Timpanogos Hwy from residential to professional office. This time only 22 residents attended the meeting (as opposed to 67 last time).

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

21-Mar-2017: Rezone of Property at 11020 N 5500 W to Residential Professional, 2017 Resident Survey Results

2017-03-21 Reasons for Living in Highland

The hot topic for the night was a rezone request for property located just to the west of the new car wash on Timpanogos Hwy from residential to professional office. This and a related issue brought about 67 residents to share their views with the council. I was the swing vote twice.

Staff presented the results of the 2017 Resident Survey. It was interesting. I’ve included a link to the charts and graphs that staff put together as well as the raw data with summaries and additional charts.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Murdock Connector: An Analysis of the 2017 Traffic Study

Another milestone was reached last month when a road study was completed on impact of constructing an East-West Connector. Below is a brief summary of the report, my analysis of the information provided, and suggestions on how you can impact the decision going forward. According to the study (click here to see the report).

  • 80% of the traffic on a connector would be local traffic while 20% would be commuter.
  • While all of the proposed routes have a positive impact on traffic, the central option has the best overall long term impact.
  • All connector options would reduce traffic on both SR-92 and 700 N in American Fork.

2017-04-14 Connector Options

There are issues with each of the locations for a connector which were analyzed (see the map above).

  • The northern connection is not really possible because of the Alpine Country Club and existing homes.
  • The southern connector goes through the American Fork golf course. This routing would also skirt the the northern boundary of the development center and likely create safety issues for the residents.
  • The central connector threads its way between the American Fork golf course and Highland Glen park, minimally impacting both. It would have a negative impact on some homes in Pheasant Hollow.

According to the study the central routing will provide the most overall benefit to the local communities. This is the route that Highland City has proposed and that MAG (Mountainland Association of Governments) has funded. The proposed road will connect Alpine Hwy and North County Blvd. The connection on Alpine Hwy will be at Canal Blvd/9860 N. The North County Blvd connection will at Harvey Blvd (just north of Highland Gardens). You can locate these on the Google map below – just follow the top of the state property highlighted in yellow east and west.

The charts below show the impact on three key measures of effectiveness of roads for the central connector option (aka Murdock Connector). Both the initial impact and projected 2040 impact are shown.



The Bottom Line

  1. A connector road will primarily benefit the local community, which donates over 30,000 hours of service annually to the state development center  (an estimated 1,789 adults and youth donate 31,461 hours – click here for details) . Note, given the amount of time donated by the local community to serving the development center one could argue the state should provide an easement for the road to the city/county at no cost.
  2. The road will shorten the commute for many of the Development Center’s employees, volunteers, and visitors.
  3. The road will also improve access to the offices and retail businesses that the state is in the process of developing south of Lone Peak HS, thereby increasing revenue generated to help support the Development Center (click here to view the initial approved long term plan). 
  4. The connector will save drivers nearly 44,000 hours of travel time per year by 2040.
  5. Annual total vehicular miles traveled by residents in the area will be reduced over 1,800,000 miles by 2040. Assuming the road is constructed in 2018 Utah residents will have saved over $3,500,000 in vehicle related costs by 2040 (see 2017-04-15 Murdock Connector Benefits spreadsheet for details).
  6. The reduction in miles traveled will of course also have a positive impact on the environment. A total of 8.7M less metric/tons of CO2 between 2019 and 2040 (see 2017-04-15 Murdock Connector Benefits spreadsheet for details). 
  7. The Murdock connector (central option) will initially reduce traffic on SR92 and 700 N in American Fork by about 14% and 22% respectively.
  8. Because access to the Development Center is improved, public safety personnel will be able to respond more quickly to emergency situations thus improving the safety and security of the residents.
  9. Although it was not cited in the report a significant part of the local community will be able to get to the American Fork hospital faster with the connector in place.
  10. As mentioned there are some homes in Highland which will be impacted by the road. The city and county will need to work with them so the impact is mitigated.

In the end if you care about the safety and security of development center residents, care about its employees, visitors and volunteers, want to increase the chances of success for the commercial development that will help fund the center, want to improve the environment, and benefit the surrounding community that strongly supports the center, constructing the Murdock Connector is the right thing to do!

Note, in a Highland City survey taken in January of 2017 of 991 responses to the question do you support the Murdock Connector 79% said yes. The poll has an estimated 3% margin of error.

Below is a map showing the undeveloped state land between the proposed Murdock Connector and the north boundary of the Development Center. It is a 165 acre parcel that is about 0.6 miles long.

What Can You Do?

In order for the connector to be built the Utah State Development Center Board must first make a recommendation to the state legislature on the road and then the state legislature must approve it.

The following individuals are members of the board:

Let them know your view on the connector and remember your comments will have much more influence if they are respectful.

Our state legislators are (I’ve included the cities they represent which are most impacted by the connector):

  • Mike Kennedy, state representative, district 27 (Alpine, Cedar Hills, Highland), mikekennedy@le.utah.gov, 801-358-2362
  • Kay Christofferson, state representative, district 56 (American Fork, Highland, Lehi), kchristofferson@le.utah.gov, 801-592-5709
  • Brian Greene, state representative, district 57 (Cedar Hills, Pleasant Grove)  bgreene@le.utah.gov, 801-358-1338
  • Jake Anderegg, state senator, district 13 (Highland), janderegg@le.utah.gov, 801-901-3580
  • Dan Hemmert, state senator, district 14 (Alpine, American Fork, Cedar Hills, Pleasant Grove),  dhemmert@le.utah.gov, 801-380-8262.
  • Margaret Dayton, state senator, district 15 (Pleasant Grove), mdayton@le.utah.gov,  801-221-0623.

They are all good representatives and are willing to listen to your point of view. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Again, whatever your view, please be respectful.

Please note, the city councils of Alpine, American Fork, Cedar Hills, Highland, and Pleasant Grove all passed resolutions last year supporting the construction of the Murdock Connector.

If you support the Murdock Connector please click here to sign an online petition to let our legislators know how you feel – many signers have also left comments.

You may find that reviewing a brief history of the connector (click here) will help in formulating your input to the board or legislative members.

Links

Friday, April 7, 2017

14-Mar-2017: Joint Work Session with Planning Commission on R-1-30 Zone Use

R-1-30 and the Council a Brief Overview

Before I discuss the work session  I want to review the history of the lot sizes in Highland, then R-1-30 zone and its implementation.

Highland Lot Size Info

Lots sizes of developments approved since 2014. As a point of information the estimated density of all Open Space subdivisions (this includes park land and other open space) is ~1.6 lots/acre.

Zone Avg. Lot Size Median Lot Size Avg. Density
R-1-20 0.48 acres
20,835 sq. ft.
0.46 acres
20,167 sq. ft.
1.65 lots/acre
R-1-30 0.60 acres
25,941 sq. ft.
0.58 acres
25,132 sq. ft.
1.33 lots/acre

R-1-40

0.78 acres
34,491 sq. ft.
0.75 acres
32,756 sq. ft.
1.06 lots/acre

* All

0.47 acres
25,276 sq. ft.
0.58 acres
20,386 sq. ft.
 

* This lot size data was derived by using the lot sizes of all property using pressurized irrigation where the parcel was larger than 0.10 acres and smaller than 6 acres. The data represents ~95% of all property in Highland.

Timeline of R-1-30 Actions:

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Way of the Reformer – William George Jordan

“The Way of the Reformer” is one of my favorite essays by William George Jordan. In it he discusses the challenges faced by those who seek to make the world a better place. They are not always popular and on more than one occasion have given their lives for their cause. William Tyndale comes to mind. He  translated the Bible into English in the early 1500’s. His work so displeased the King and other prominent leaders that he ended up fleeing to Antwerp to continue his work. He was eventually captured, tried for heresy, and put to death. Below is a short video which summarizes William’s inspiring life work.

Jordan’s essay below is dedicated to those who, like Tyndale, labor to make the world a better place in the face of opposition.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

City Council 21-Feb-2017: Cemetery Fee Work Session, Staff Pay Grades, Public Info Plan for Roads, Water Conservation Plan

15 residents (9 scouts) were in attendance for the council meeting; none were at the cemetery work session. We again were able to accomplish a fair amount of work during the meetings Smile.

Cemetery Fee Work Session

2017-02-21 Cemetery Plot Price ComparisonThe cemetery work session was the 2nd one we’ve held to understand what we need to charge for cemetery plots so that we end up with a fund that will generate sufficient interest income to cover the cost of cemetery operations once all the plots are sold. Note, Tim Irwin brought this up as an issue we should work on last year.

Zion’s Bank was contracted to do an analysis of what what our options are. Matt Millis of Zion’s Bank reviewed a model which they developed to help us determine an answer to this question. We also needed to provide some guidance on three questions so that the analysis could proceed:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

City Council 7-Feb-2017: Wimbelton Trails, Library Report, Park Use Fees, Mid-Year Budget Adjustments, Highland Blvd & 11800 N Intersection Redesign

2017-02-07 Close to HomeWell over 50 residents attended the meeting.  Most were there for one of four items: the Library Strategic Plan Presentation, Wimbelton Trails, Roads, and the Highland Blvd / 11800 N Intersection.

Prior to the meeting we learned that the petition to dispose of the Wimbelton neighborhood option trails did not have sufficient signatures to meet the threshold required to have the council consider the request. A public hearing on the issue end up not being required and so the item was removed from the agenda.

My understanding is that  those who wish to dispose of the trails argue that they are not well maintained by the city and although they are used, usage is not necessarily by those in the neighborhood and thus pose a potential safety hazard. A secondary issue is that many of those living in Open Space developments feel that the open space fee they pay is too high or not well used.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

City Council 17-Jan-2017: Economic Development, Pressurized Irrigation, Park Use Policy and Fees

2017-01-17 Lone Peak LacrosseFour residents attended this meeting where we discussed economic development, pressurized irrigation and park usage fees. Those attending wanted  to share their views on the proposed park usage fees. The “final” proposal on park fees will be discussed and voted on at the next council meeting (Tuesday Feb 7). 

Fun Facts

The following charts on lots sizes in Highland was derived from PI billing data, a summary of which is also shown below. Since there are a few parcels of property in Highland that are not served by PI it is not entirely accurate but it does provide a good picture. Here a few interesting stats:

Friday, January 27, 2017

R-1-30 Rezone Referendum Update

On Thursday, January 26th  Highland received the county’s report on the referendum signatures. After reviewing the report our city recorder issued the final certification report which states the following: Of the 2,778 signatures submitted 2,404 were certified. This is 109 fewer signatures than the 2,513 which were required and there for the referendum will not be placed on the 2017 ballot.

2017-01-26 Referendum Chart

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

City Council 10-Jan-2017: Road Plan, Youth Council, R-1-30 Moratorium, Spring Road Projects,

If you support the construction of the Murdock Connector (an east-west road between Alpine Highway and North County Blvd) please indicate your support by signing an online petition (click here to sign). This petition will be shared with Utah State legislators as they will need pass a bill this year to allow the road to cross state owned property. Also, our new State Senator, Dan Hemmert, and State Representative, Mike Kennedy, both have short constituent surveys that include a question on this issue. Please let them know how you feel on this and other issues such as education, internet sales tax, medical marijuana …. Click on their respective pictures to complete their survey’s .

Dan Hemmert - 1 Mike Kennedy - 1
State Senator Dan Hemmert State Rep. Mike Kennedy

Now on the the meeting. It was a productive meeting with a good exchange of information. Two residents attended the Roads Work Session and over sixty were present for the Council Meeting. Most of the Council Meeting attendees were there to support the 2017 Highland City Youth Council members who were sworn in. It is great to see so much interest in local government.

Friday, January 6, 2017

City Council 6-Dec-2016: Cemetery Work Session, Murdock Connector Resolution, Open Space Maintenance Agreement

Sixteen residents and others attended the council meeting none were at the work session.

2016-12-06 Cemetery

Work Session: Cemetery perpetual Care fund

The Cemetery Fund currently has a balance of $10,000. Plot fees are presently being used to refund the city for the purchase of the cemetery land. The goal of a perpetual care fund would be to build up a balance that would generate enough interest to cover all or most of the cost of maintaining the cemetery. Matt Millis, Zion Bank, walked us through multiple scenarios for increasing the lot and burial fees in order to reach a fund balance that would be self-sustaining. We generally agreed to build a balance to that would cover some of the maintenance cost of the cemetery. The fees needed to be reviewed periodically. We felt that the city should pay some portion of the costs as the cemetery does fill a “park role” for some residents. The estimated percentage of “park”  was not fixed (10% to 15% was discussed). Staff will work with Mr. Millis to further refine the model and finalize initial fee recommendations. These would need to be approved at a future council meeting. Click here to review the presentation we were given.