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

42 attended the council meeting. Most were there because of the No Build setback question in Country French Estates. 


  • 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).


  1. MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for the City Council Regular Session – June 20, 2017 Click here to view the minutes. Unanimously approved.


  1. PUBLIC HEARING / MOTION: Amend Country French Subdivision Plats A and B – No Build Restrictions. Click here to view background info from the agenda. Residents of Country French Estates who live on lots that border Bull River have an 80 ft. No Build recorded on their plat (see lots with the red line in the background below). The city has enforced this restriction by not approving any structures which require a building permit. The No Build restriction was proposed by the developer as a means of mitigating the impact of building homes adjacent to Bull River which sit on lots that are substantially above the existing Bull River homes. Country French lots that border Bull River range from 0.69 to 1.25 acres compared to the pre-existing 2 to 4 acres lots in Bull River (see lot size info in Highland Zoning and Lot Size spreadsheet – scroll to the right until you see Country French).

    Highland City has historically enforced the No Build restriction by not approving structures (except for fences) that required a building permit. Matt Bowman, a Country French Estates owner, is contesting the validity of the No Build restriction as it relates to pools. Pools are below ground structures which have no impact on the view shed.
    2017-07-18 No Build Zone Satellite
    A number of Bull River Residents expressed their view that the no build restriction should remain and expressed their disagreement with several of the arguments made by the Country French home owner requesting a change to the policy. Part of the argument against the no build restriction was that it was invalid because when it was discussed in the planning commission a member of the commission who supported the restriction was a resident of Bull River and therefore had a conflict of interest and should have recused himself. Prior to the meeting the request from the home owner changed from a removal of the no build restriction to the allowance of below ground pools in the no build area. Following the public hearing and a brief discussion I moved to deny the application to amend the plats and ask the residents of Bull River and Country French to meet and see if they can come up with a compromise that protects the interests of both parties and then bring the agreement to the Sept 5th council meeting.

  2. MOTION: Preliminary Plat Approval for a 37 lot single family residential subdivision located at 6475 West 11800 North – Oak Ridge, Patrick Ord. Click here to view background info from the agenda. A resident requested that items 3 and 9 (how the R-1-30 zone is to be applied) be heard together. The council decided to keep with the current agenda. I assume the request to discuss the items together presumed that if it was decided that the R-1-30 should only be used in on the boundary between Highland and other cities that this plat approval could be denied. That is not the case, the zone change for this parcel of land was already approved and this decision was an administrative one to ensure that the plat conformed to city code.
    2017-07-18 Oak Ridge Preliminary Plat
    The only substantive changes from the initial design to this one was that a detention basin on the southeast side of the property was replaced with a drainage easement and some lots along the south border had been widened. A resident asked that there be additional dimensional changes made to lots on the southwest. The city attorney advised us that since the plan complies with city code mandating any additional changes was beyond the scope of our authority. Note, the planning commission recommended approval of the preliminary plat 7 to 0. The council unanimously approved the plat. 

  3. PUBLIC HEARING / MOTION: Conditional Use Permit and Site Plan Approval for a Professional Office Located in the R-P-Zone at 11020 No. 5500 West – Garon Larson. Click here to view background info from the agenda. The plan presented was for a 2 story 13,000 sq. ft. building. The architect indicated that they were considering reducing this to a 10,000 sq. ft. building but would keep everything else the same. The city engineer confirmed that we would be narrowing the road at the entrance to the residential area to the north as a means of mitigating flow-through traffic. The permit an site plan were unanimously approved by the council.
    2017-07-18 Dr Larsen Office Layout
    2017-07-18 Dr Larsen Office Elavations

  4. MOTION: Approval of a Contract for the Highland City Comprehensive Financial Sustainability Plan - Lewis and Young Agreement. Click here to view background info from the agenda. After reviewing proposals from two vendors on an economic study staff and councilman Dennis felt that Lewis and Young’s comprehensive financial sustainability plan proposal would provide the most useful information to us with the budget we have available. It was unanimously approved.

  5. ORDINANCE: The Adoption of a Franchise Agreement - Rocky Mountain Power. Click here to view background info from the agenda. The new franchise agreement has a ten year horizon rather than the previous 25 year. Rocky Mountain felt that 25 years was too long. The  new agreement will have no impact on residents. Brian Braithwaite asked that Rocky Mountain look into landscaping possibilities for the substation at 5600 and SR 92. The representative agreed to investigate. The council unanimously approved the  agreement.

  6. ORDINANCE: Amending the Telecommunication Service Provider Gross Receipt Tax and the Municipal Energy Sale and Use Tax. Click here to view background info from the agenda. We need to amend the agreement to comply with state regulations. Residents will not be impacted. The council unanimously approved the amendments.

  7. MOTION: Approval for Extension of Franchise Agreement – CenturyLink. Click here to view background info from the agenda. The current agreement with the city expires soon. CenturyLink requested a 5 year extension of the current agreement. This was unanimously approved.

  8. PUBLIC HEARING / ORDINANCE: Amendment to Section 3-4251 related to the applicability of the R-1-30 Zone. Click here to view background info from the agenda. The planning recommended that the zone be applied only to properties adjacent to higher density zone in adjacent cities 7 to 0. Residents commented that Highland wanted to maintain the  R-1-40 zone within the city. Personally, I was not sure because the recent survey (see my notes from the March 21, 2017 meeting for complete survey responses) had conflicting results.

    This confusion from this chart is that the average lot sizes for Highland’s three standard zones are:

    R-1-20: 20,835 (0.48 acres)
    R-1-30: 25,941 (0.60 acres)
    R-1-40: 33,757 (0.77 acres)

    The question in my mind is what zones were people thinking of when they said 40,000 and 30,000 sq. ft.? R-1-40 and R-1-30 or did they know that R-1-40 lots averaged 33,757 sq. ft. and R-1-30 averaged 25,941? If the former it means that a significant majority of residents perceive R-1-30 to be a large lot. Because the question was not clear I can’t trust the response. A better survey question would have been to list the three zones along with their average sizes and ask the question.

    Although the question did align itself with zoning, again I don’t know if residents understood the implication of their response. Assuming respondents understood the questions then it is clear that R-1-30 is the clear winner. Here are the densities by zone:
    R-1-20: 1.65 average – 2.19 allowed
    R-1-30: 1.33 average – 1.46 allowed
    R-1-40: 1.07 average – 1.09 allowed

    When the council voted those who supported utilizing R-1-30 without restrictions felt that this was what residents wanted and those the sided with the planning commission did not or as in my case were not sure. The motion to approve the amendment restricting R-1-30 use to properties adjacent to higher density properties in adjacent cities failed in a 2 to 3 vote. (Yes: Brian Braithwaite, Rod Mann; No: Dennis LeBaron, Ed Dennis, Tim Irwin).

  9. RESOLUTION: Approval of a Notice of Firework and Open Fire. Click here to view background info from the agenda. The council unanimously approved adding the following areas as restricted zones with respect to fireworks: Bull River drainage areas, Highland Hollow Subdivision drainage areas; Dry Creek drainage areas, and Town Center Splash Pad


  • Development Center Property: Councilman Dennis expressed concern that the Development Center board recently met and supported a boundary change that would move the property south of the High School from Highland to American Fork. He cited Sunday closing as an issue and mentioned that if we lost the property to American Fork we would be losing potential revenue. Note, subsequent to this meeting I had lunch with Bill Exeter, the Dev Center project manager for land development. During lunch he stated explicitly that regardless of Sunday closing they would like to deal with only one municipality. Since, American Fork already serves the Dev Center and could readily provide sewer and water to the land being developed they are planning to ask for a boundary change so that all of their property resides in American Fork.

    Here is information from a draft version of a report done by Zion’s bank to estimate the impact of the Dev Center development on Highland’s general fund:
    • Fiscal impacts are positive over 20 years by over $1.2 million. However, the first four years of development are roughly breakeven
    • The last few years of the project timeframe studied (20 years) show net negative revenues. This is because inflation is projected to increase more quickly than an increase in revenue.
    • Sensitivity testing of Scenario 1 shows the following:
      • If grocery retail is not included, net revenues over 20 years are estimated at $127,000.
      • If grocery retail is included, but all other commercial is deleted, the net revenues are negative at ($712,905).
      • If residential and commercial are at full market value1 (as identified in the ZPFI study), then net revenues over 20 years increase to nearly $1.6 million.
    Mayor Thompson indicated that he had been given a deadline of August 10th to the Dev Center for an estimate of the revenue we could expect from them in terms of fee in lieu of taxes, since the state does not pay taxes on property it owns. Scott Smith stated that this was an arbitrary deadline.

    Note subsequent to the meeting we learned that the Dev Center is requesting a boundary change and that the legislature will make a determination in the 2018 session.

  • Library Open House: The library director said that a open house would be held for the leaders of both Alpine and Cedar Hills. She mentioned that any discussions about a tri-city library were very preliminary.


Monday, September 4, 2017

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

10 residents plus Scout Troop 1128 were in attendance.


  • None.


  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


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.


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.


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.


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).

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


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.