Tuesday, August 18, 2015

City Council 04-Aug-2015: Town Center Moratorium

2015-07-21 Town Center MapThe council chambers were full again (~55 residents). Many attended the meeting to see how the vote on the Town Center Moratorium ended up.

Soap box alert: I would like to share a personal frustration regarding much of the recent discussion regarding the town center. Now that another town home development is being considered (Blackstone)  I have consistently heard how terrible the Toscana town homes are for the city. The specific complaints include; the internal streets are too narrow and seem confining, parking, and people who walk their dogs and do clean up after them. Other than the narrow internal streets (which I’m not sure how the visual issue impacts anyone other than those living in Toscana) the other issues can be found all over town. Parking is a problem near churches, parks, when neighbors have receptions, homecomings … . Owners not cleaning up after their pets is a problem everywhere. Just ask my neighbors. I’m sure my dogs have left deposits in the neighborhood when they’ve escaped.

What I have not heard is anything positive about either Toscana or the new development. If Toscana is as bad as I’ve heard, why have nearly all 200 units been sold? Obviously, something about the units are attractive to buyers.

I know several Highland residents whose children and grandchildren live there. No one has mentioned how it is nice to have a place in town that their children can afford to purchase so that they can live close to family.

If the vacant land is developed then the city will get additional tax revenue. Additional residents mean additional customers for town center businesses … .

Of course there are potential issues but there is always more than one side to an issue I’m just a bit disappointed that I’ve heard only the negative. For those interested in influencing council decisions please read my post “Tips on Influencing Local Government.”

One other item. We have another upcoming decision on a development in NW Highland called Highland Oaks. Unlike the Blackstone decision which is largely administrative (the council’s decision is is largely dictated by city and state laws) this one is legislative (the council has discretion). There are two components to  this one: 1) Will the city annex the property and 2) what will the zoning be. The developer requested either PD or R120 (1 lot per 20,000 sq. ft.) but the council could require R140 (1 lot per 40,000 sq. ft.) which is the default zone for the city or even create a new zone (e.g. R130). The choice is up to the council and what it feels is best for the city as a whole.

OK … I’ll get off my soap box and move on to my notes.


  • Public Comment:

    • Jeff Clyde: Urged the council to look at the original town center vision not to succumb to pressure
    • Kyle Fielding: Wants to be involved in the discussion on changes to Town Center. He is an attorney representing the MKG 1, 2 & 3 LLC. They own the property West and North of the UCCU.
    • David Beck: Opposes high density (3 story housing). Wants town center to be a pleasant place to come.
    • Robert Usleck: Owner of Timp Tire. Asked to step up the pace in finding businesses.


  1. Highland History Committee – Charles Greenland: Committee is dedicated to preserving history; written history, historical artifacts, … and displaying them. They to use the 1st floor of the community center to display artifacts. The council was friendly to this.


  1. MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for City Council Regular Session – May 19, 2015 Approved Unanimously.
  2. MOTION: Approval of Contract for City Administrator – Nathan Crane. Approved Unanimously.

  3. MOTION: Ratifying the Mayor’s Appointment to the Highland City History Committee – Ray Buhler. Approved Unanimously

  4. ORDINANCE: Adopting a Temporary Land Use Regulation to Prohibit the Approval of New Residential Development for the next Six Months - Town Center Overlay. Because this is an ordinance it could not be part of the consent agenda but was discussed separately and approved unanimously. See council agenda pages 19-20.

  5. MOTION: Request from Questar Gas for an Extension of Existing Agreement for use of City Owned Property as a Staging Area – 4361 West 11000 North. The city will get $15.2K for allowing Questar to use the property for another 7 months. Approved Unanimously. See council agenda pages 21-26.


  1. MOTION: Request to Expand the Parking Lot for Lone Peak High School by Acquiring City Owned Land – Alpine School District. The council unanimously declined the counter offer and asked to continue negotiating with an eye to finding a win/win solution. The district representative attending was very polite and accommodating. See council agenda pages 27-30.

    Current City Property Adjacent to Lone Peak High School

    Current Alpine School District Property Adjacent to Heritage Park

  2. MOTION: Selection of a Consultant for preparation of Construction Plans - Dry Creek Phase 3 Trail. Unanimously approved design by Hansen Allen and Luce at $10,9K (former bid by JUB 15.8). Following design city can determine what parts can be done in-house. See council agenda pages 31-40.

  3. MOTION: Approval of a Mountain BMX Bike Track in Highland Glen Park – Bobby Seegmiller. The council unanimously approved using the land for a bike track to be constructed by volunteer labor. We also agreed to have staff look at providing additional clay soil from other land we own and looking into running a pressurized irrigation line to the area. The Seegmiller’s did ask if the city would be willing to kick in $10,000 to fund a more expansion bike trail system with additional funding for maintenance. The council declined. Carson Seegmiller did walk through Hidden Oaks with document detailing the project and asked for signatures indicating that the neighbors were OK with the bike trail. No negative feedback was received although there are still a few homes that need to be contacted. See council agenda pages 41-48.

  4. RESOLUTION: Amendments to the Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual for Highland City Employees – Adopting a Catastrophic Leave Policy. The council approved a policy which will allow city employees to donate vacation time (not sick leave) to help another staff member who has used up their leave due to serious illness or injury. See council agenda pages 49-53



  • Park Maintenance Building – Justin Parduhn.
    Justin reviewed the options available to us for storing equipment this winter. They included leasing storage space at Highland Hideaway, and buying temporary storage trailers, using the garages of the two homes in S. Highland that the city owns plus making some minor improvements to the old water building on 5700 W to create additional storage space. The council approved using the garages of the city owned homes and updated the old water building.

  • I discussed the following either in the meeting or with staff afterwards:
    • Website upgrade status update: We’ve set up conference calls with new vendor (Govoffice.com) to determine how we move forward.
    • Do we have a compliance issue with when draft and approved minutes are published? Yes, and we are working on improving turnaround times.
    • Can recognize the park maintenance staff that mitigated a fire issue? Yes
    • Question on when neighbors violate in home business rules how do we enforce it. An investigation is initiated when someone reports a possible violation. This can be done anonymously.
    • I talked with staff about the 500 ft. notification rule when new development applications are being processed. Should we look at extending the distance by statute? The answer was that the 500 ft. rule was a minimum. Staff makes a judgment call on where to draw the line. If we extend the limit legislatively we guarantee higher costs. Note, there will always be a line and the question can always be asked why did you not go one street further.

Staff and Council Action Item List



Due Date


Road Capital Improvement Plan for FY 15-16. Prioritize and Communicate to Residents

City Council


Continued discussion

Determine Park Use for Recreation

City Council
Parks Staff


Staff to make recommendations
Building Use Policy - Fees



In progress
HW Bldg. – PW Storage Status

City Council

End of 2015

In progress



  1. Rod, how about putting in soccer goals at Beacon Hill on one of the large fields. Those huge grassy areas would be ideal for soccer games and we could definitely use more soccer fields around the area. :)

  2. Reviewing parks and their usage us on our to do list for the fall. If we are able to strike a deal with ASD regarding a land swap we will end up with an addition soccer field or two near the Jr High.


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