The late Roy O. Disney, the older brother of Walt Disney and co-founder of The Walt Disney Company, reportedly once said, “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”
That little truism may now apply to current and future land-use decisions in Grantsville City.
On Jan. 15 the Grantsville City Council unanimously approved a new General Plan that has been in development for more than a year. As reported in last Tuesday’s edition, the new plan includes sections on land use, community design, economic development, transportation, housing, recreation and open space, and infrastructure.
Produced with a $60,000 grant from the Wasatch Front Regional Council and $6,000 from the city, the 59-page document, “will serve as a framework for Grantsville decision makers on future land use, development and other decisions,” according to Grantsville City Councilwoman Jewel Allen. “The plan will provide a formal policy, foundation for enhancing community relations, pursuing economic development opportunities, coordinating infrastructure planning and fostering city/county/state cooperation.”
Formal work on the new General Plan began in November 2018 with Rural Community Consultants of Springville, Utah. But city officials made it known years before that a new plan was needed in response to the community’s growth. In fact, the City Council in October 2017 imposed a 180-day moratorium on new subdivisions, multiple unit residential facilities and planned unit developments.
In the moratorium, the City Council cited the need to update its General Plan and subdivision regulations as a reason for the halt on new developments. In a public hearing, the City Council heard support for the moratorium so the city could review its master plan to maintain its small town, agricultural feel and avoid becoming a bedroom community for Salt Lake.
The City Council lifted the moratorium in April 2018 after approving amendments to the city’s land use and development code. Those amendments — reworking the subdivision approval process for developers and creating a development review committee — could be considered as the city’s first steps toward creating a new General Plan and reviewing current zoning regulations.
General Plans for cities and counties in Utah are considered to be guiding or advisory documents. But the Utah Legislature does give them some teeth. In section 10-9a-406 of Utah Code, it states, “After the legislative body has adopted a general plan, no street, park, or other public way, ground, place, or space, no publicly owned building or structure, and no public utility, whether publicly or privately owned, may be constructed or authorized until and unless it conforms to the current general plan.”
Which is the big reason why new General Plans are vital to communities such as Grantsville that are experiencing significant growth and are projected to do so for years to come.
Grantsville City officials are commended for developing a new General Plan and using a highly transparent process that gave citizens ample opportunity to be involved and have a say. Several town hall meetings and public hearings were held throughout.
Although making land use decisions are never easy, Grantsville City officials may now find them easier to make because they and citizens have taken the time to determine and establish clear values that are important to them and the community.