Thursday, December 29, 2016

City Council 15-Nov-2016: Oak Ridge Rezone Decision, Open Space Maintenance Agreement, 10400 Sewer Project

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

About 40 people were in attendance. Most were there to discuss the rezone issue. This has been a somewhat controversial issue and we’ve had a lot of resident input. I ran a poll starting in September to better understand how residents feel about lot sizes (results shown below). Additionally, residents were not happy about the final vote and are petitioning for the matter to be on the 2017 election ballot. While technically the referendum can only overturn the decision to rezone this specific property a large majority decision on either side would be an indicator of the publics view of future R-1-40 to R-1-30 rezone requests. Anyone wishing to help gather signatures or sign a petition can contact Natalie Ball at I will discuss this further below.
2016-11-15 Oak Ridge Concept Plan

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

No Room For Them In The Inn—William George Jordan

No room in the inn 2The following is a chapter from William George Jordan’s book “The Crown of Individuality.” As always, his writing is filled with profound thoughts and great analogies.

No Room For Them In The Inn

The world’s attitude towards the birth of every great truth is focused in a single phrase in the simple story of the first Christmas, the greatest birthday since time began. Mary laid the infant Christ in a manger—“because there was no room for them in the inn.”

For worldly success, fame, social prestige, laurel-crowned triumph, the inn is illuminated; welcoming music fills the air; and the inn doors are thrown wide open. But struggle towards sublime attainment, heroic effort to better the world, simple consecration of soul to a noble ideal means—the manger and a lonely pathway lit only by the torch of truth held high in the hand of purpose.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

City Council 1-Nov-2016: Retail Building in Town Center, Quick-Quack Car Wash Site Plan.

2016 LogoAbout 8 people attended the council meeting at which we approved (1) the final plat for the Edge Home development on the south west side of town (R-1-30), the architectural plan for Quick Quack car wash, a site plan for a new building west of Wendy’s, and a sewer connection for a Golf Training Center which will be built in American Fork adjacent to Highland..

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Thursday, December 1, 2016

City Council 1-Nov-2016: Road Repair Plan Work Session

2016-11-01 Road Distress

Background: In 2011 a road study was begun which ended up projecting that the cost of repairing Highland’s D & F rated roads would be $16.2M. As the sturdy was reviewed by staff, residents, and council members a number of issues were uncovered which council and staff felt warranted a second opinion.

Earlier this year we executed a contract with PEPG Consulting to reassess C- through F rated roads in Highland using a core sampling methodology. Coring gives engineers a much better ability to assess the condition of a road segment and recommend an appropriate treatment. While the study was underway a committee composed of residents, staff members, and council members met monthly with PEPG to review the progress and provide input. I really appreciate those who participated.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

City Council 18-Oct-2016: N. County Aquifer Council, Open Space Maintenance Agreement Discussion

About 20 people attended the meeting. Most were there to participate in a discussion on maintenance agreements on open space land. Note, If you haven’t done so already please share your opinion as to what constitutes a “large lot” by voting in the poll below. Feel free to add comments.

In a survey conducted earlier this year the most frequently cited reason for living in Highland was large lots. The city now has three residential zones; which one meets your minimum criteria for large lots? free polls

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

City Council 4-Oct-2016: Apple Creek (rezone request), Budget adjustments.

There were ~30 residents at the council meeting. A decision on whether to rezone 5.76 acres of undeveloped land in the town center to allow an age restricted (55 and older) condo/lease with commercial development to be constructed was the issue which brought most of the residents.
2016-10-04 Apple Creek Elevation
Note, If you haven’t done so already please share your opinion as to what constitutes a “large lot” by voting in the poll below. Feel free to add comments.

In a survey conducted earlier this year the most frequently cited reason for living in Highland was large lots. The city now has three residential zones; which one meets your minimum criteria for large lots? free polls

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Monday, September 26, 2016

City Council 20-Sep-2016: Bike Trail Completed, 2017 Utility Projects, Code Enforcement, PI Rate Discussion

There were less than ten residents present. One stayed through the entire meeting (thanks). We approved two final plats one R-1-30 and one R-1-40.  As lot sizes continue to be topical I have started to put plat approvals into a Google Spreadsheet so that I can better understand the issue. Below is a chart and table that summarizes the data I’ve collected so far:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

City Council 6-Sep-2016: Splash Pad Fence, R-1-40 to R-1-30 Rezone Request

2016-09-06 Splash PadPrior to the meeting the council received numerous emails regarding the zone change request on the agenda. Most of the attendees at the meeting came to share their views on this issue. We had also received several emails regarding a small parking area in Canterbury that was recently cleaned up. I was surprised no one attended to bring up this issue given the number of emails. I also was a little surprised that there were no public comments on the water quality issue that’s been in the news of late. About 50 people were present.

Because one of the issues on the agenda was a rezone from R-1-40 to R-1-30 I would be interested in your response to the following 1 question poll.

In a survey conducted earlier this year the most frequently cited reason for living in Highland was large lots. The city now has three residential zones; which one meets your minimum criteria for large lots? free polls

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • One resident spoke to the rezone issue in the public comment portion of the meeting when other rose to speak on this issue we deferred them to the public hearing portion of the agenda for this specific issue.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

City Council 16-Aug 2016: Fling, NUERA Landfill purchase, Selling City Water Shares


2016-08-16 Fling 1

About 30 residents attended the council meeting.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • Residents asked the dead trees which pose a safety hazard be removed. This is was a long-standing request. Note, staff already has quotes to have the trees removed. The council later encouraged staff to act as soon as reasonable and to take advantage of the offer to help with the project by the residents.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

What Really Peaks the Interest of Highland Residents

I thought you might find it interesting to see the relative popularity of my Highland City posts during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Below is a chart of the showing the top and bottom five posts in terms of numbers of views:

2016-07-30 Highland Post Stats

Friday, July 22, 2016

City Council: 19-Jul-2016: Surplus of Property, Office Hours

2016-07-19 SoL 1

In total about 130 people attended the council meeting. Around a 100 attended to participate in the public hearing on whether or not the city should sell land to the east of the police and city hall buildings.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • None


Monday, June 27, 2016

Highland Road Study Open House Review

2016-06-23 Env v Struct Distress

On May 23rd the city held an open house to review the outcome of a recent road evaluation study we commissioned. Below are copies of the poster boards which were on display along with some short comments.

City Council 14-Jun-2016: 16-17 Budget, Utility Rate Increases

2016-06-14 Budget Expenses

Seven residents attended the meeting to approve the the 2016-2017 budget and utility rate changes. Perhaps the fact the process has been very transparent with multiple meetings open to residents early in the process contributed to the low turnout. As always feel free to reach out to me via phone or email with questions or comments. I really don’t mind being challenged on decisions or opinions. It always makes me think.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

City Council 07-Jun-2016: Edge Homes, Bike Trail, Multiple Re-Zoning Requests both Commercial and Residential

2016-06-07 Quick-QuackjpgThe council meeting ended at 12:30 AM. There was lots of discussion with residents, which I always view as positive, and I therefore didn’t mind that we ran late. Several residents stayed till the bitter end and then talked afterward with council members for another 30 to 40 minutes.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • Dave Krammer, Head Coach of the Lone Peak mountain biking team introduced a proposed project and then let team members Levi Kammer, Cade Nielson, and Kyle Randall describe it. They want to create a  bike trail system on City property off of the Murdock Canal trail
    and Canterbury Drive. The project would be done as multiple Eagle Projects, grants would be sought to fund the project, and then the team would assume much of the responsibility for the maintenance of the trails. These would be available to all residents. The council expressed support. Brian encouraged them to address parking concerns when they bring this back to the council for a vote. Click here to see the presentation that was shared with the council.

    2016-06-07 Bike Trails Eagle Scout Project

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

City Council 17-May-2016: Tentative Budget, Mortuary Conditional Use Modification

About 10 people attended the meeting. Representative Mike Kennedy gave a brief legislative report (see my notes from the East-West Connector meeting for more detailed comments on the most topical item discussed). The East-West connector will be an item that will be worked on over the course of the next year. It does look like this is a difference of opinion between Senator Dayton (see article posted on and the city and county on this item so we will have to see how this resolves itself over the next 9 months.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • No appearances

Utah Property Taxes: What Is A Certified Tax Rate?

property-taxEach year each county in Utah calculates a new certified tax rate for all taxing entities (i.e. cities, school districts, and service districts) within their jurisdiction by taking the property tax revenue collected the previous year and dividing it by the current assessed property value within the taxing entities (exclusive of new growth). This is the tax rate is then applied to all assessed property (including growth) and the new total becomes the base for next year. Another way to say this is if our home value doubles then our tax rate will be reduced by half. Confusing? I know! Let’s try walking through an example to clarify.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Issues and Information 26-May-2016: East-West Connector and State Land, a Discussion with Senator Dayton

2014-02 USDC Road HierarchyThanks to those who attended the meeting last night, especially, Senator Margaret Dayton, Rep Mike Kennedy, Rep Kay Christofferson, and State Auditor John Dougall. I counted over 60 people in attendance. Lots of questions were asked, most were answered, and everyone was very respectful.

For a background on some of the history related to the land and the east-west connector please see my earlier post entitled  “Highland East-West Connector History“.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

City Council 19-Apr-2016: Roads Work Session, Spring Creek Park–Sell Land, R-1-30 Zone …

Highland Mitchell ParkAbout 65 people attended the meeting. At least half were there to speak during the public hearing on whether or not to declare the 12 acres that comprise the undeveloped Spring Creek Park as surplus. This was an interesting discussion.

Roads Work session

We reviewed the work to date on the road study. PEPG confirmed that their final report would include an estimated timeframe the work should be done to a road after which the cost to repair would increase. Click here to view a copy of the presentation made by PEPG. Their general findings were that:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Gender Politics: Bathrooms, Locker Rooms …

Ready Fire AimI attended a local school board meeting (Alpine School District) today and made the following comments to share my views on the recent edict from the Federal Departments of Justice and Education (click here to see their Letter on Transgender Students). This is what I wrote in advance and not necessarily the exact words I used.

I would like to speak to the issue of gender identity based usage of bathrooms and locker rooms. With the assumption that students are being harmed by the current birth gender policy and without regard to whether this is a federal  overreach I have several concerns:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

City Council 5-Apr-2016: Utility Rate Study, Library Re-write …

imageAbout 30 people attended the meeting. Most were there to participate in the discussion on a rezone request for 7.25 acres of land located in the northeast quadrant of Highland. One of the most interesting items on the agenda was the library report. The other was the Utility Rate Study update. 

As a preamble to the meeting notes I would like to give some background and share personal thoughts relative to the Utility Rate Study underway which will recommend rate increases for each of the utilities. Please note that since I am publishing this so late I’ve included the utility rate data from the May 3rd council meeting which has the final recommendations (see item 10).

Saturday, April 30, 2016

10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

I just listened to a 12 minute speech by NPR Radio Host Celeste Headlee entitled “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.” I’ve never heard of her but love her thoughts. If you’d don’t have 12 minutes to listen here is brief a summary.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Public Safety Board 31-Mar-2016: 2016-17 Budgets

Police and Fire

Public Safety board Meeting (April 8th)

Tim Irwin could not make it to the meeting so as the Highland alternate board member I attended. The primary discussion item was the 2016-2017 proposed budget. Both the fire department asked for a 2.7% increase and police for a 4%increase.  During the meeting I made the comment that from Highland’s perspective I could not support percentage increase greater than our projected general fund tax revenue increase. Note, if police or fire request a 2% increase Highland will end up with a +2% increase because for both police and fire we are growing faster than the other cities that share in the cost (Fire: Highland, Alpine, and Cedar Hills, Police: Highland and Alpine).

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My Perspective on a Meeting with Governor Herbert

2013-05-23_Gary_R_Herbert - sm

I was invited to participate in a breakfast meeting with Governor Herbert along with a few other N. county residents, some of whom were state delegates and most of whom had differences with the Governor on important issues. Kudo’s to the Governor for meeting with those who don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with him.

The governor responded to questions regarding Common Core, SB-54 (Count My Vote Compromise), testing, local control and more local control.

Governor Herbert was an active listener and acknowledged that there were issues to be addressed. It was a good experience for me and I believe most of those involved. One item that came out of the discussion was the need for him to hear from a broader set of voices on education related issues and his willingness create a vehicle for doing that.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

City Council 15-Mar-2016: Annual Report, City Survey, Annexation, Apple Creek (Town Center Project), Utility Rate and Skydrop sprinkler controller

Survey SaysThere were +14 residents at the council meeting on March 15th and just a couple at the Work Session held the week prior. The work session had two agenda items:

  • (1) An update on the Utility Rate Analysis being performed by Zion’s Bank
  • (2) A presentation on a potential water conservation program.

Both items were interesting and I will cover them briefly before getting to my council notes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

City Council 16-Feb-2016: Utility Rates, Park Land Purchase, 11800 N/Highland Blvd …

ArgueThere were 15+ people at the meeting. Not sure if it was because I was still recovering from the flue and that the meeting ran from 6 pm to nearly midnight but I managed disagree at some point with all presenters but one, plus all those offering public comment, all councilmen, and the mayor. I think that has to be a record of some sort. We held a one hour work session focused on the utility rate study followed by a 4+ hr. council meeting. Here is a brief summary of my disagreements. You’ll of course want to read the details that follow.

  • Challenged the Zion’s bank representative on information he presented during the Utility Rate Study progress report.
  • Opposed the city subsidizing insurance for the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra.  Note, our insurance provider declined to cover them under our policy.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

City Council 19-Jan-2016: Work Sessions, Utility Rate, Road Reconstruction, Annual Deer Report, Road Work, Canyon Resolution, Severance Pay

Below are my notes from the Jan 12th Worksession. I think you’ll find them interesting.

Work session Jan 12

Utility Rates

We recently contracted with Zion’s ban to do a study analyzing our utility rates. In the last year staff has completed long term maintenance and capital requirements report for each our of utility services -- Culinary water, Pressurized Irrigation (PI), Storm Sewer, and Sewer). The rate study will provide give us insight into what our options are to ensure that we have sufficient funds in the various service accounts to meet the needs of the city (all of us). Zions’ provided a snapshot of where they were on the project which is scheduled to be completed by the end of March (click here to see the presentation). Given the information Zion’s has now here is the fund balance projection.

2016-01-12 Utility Rate Study_thumb[4]

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

City Council 2-Feb-2016: Moratorium on Final Plat Approvals N of 11800 N,

Over 50 people attended the council meeting. We held an executive work session prior to this meeting.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

City Council 05-Jan-2016: 11800 N Intersection Study, Utility Rate Study

Brian Braithwaite Tim Irwin Ed Dennis
Brian Braithwaite
Tim Irwin
Ed Dennis

Brian Braithwaite, Tim Irwin and Ed Dennnis were sworn in for their third, second and first terms respectively prior to the start of the council meeting. Please note, I lost my notes from the meeting and so won’t have as much detailed information as usual.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES