Four challengers vie to replace Judd in Coalville
July 28, 2007
The retiring of longtime Coalville City Councilwoman Joan Judd left a vacancy on the board four political newcomers aim to fill.
On Nov. 6, incumbent City Councilmen Brent Scholes and Steven Richins will vie against political newcomers Kelly Ovard, Tyson Collins, Trisha Beames and Karen Brostrom for three seats on the board.
"The thing that interests me the most is that we’ve got six people, so we should have some good debate and discussion about the direction that we’re going," Coalville Mayor Duane Schmidt said.
Those elected in November could decide whether millionaire developer Ian Cumming is allowed to build a roughly 300-home subdivision in Coalville.
"The small town is starting to die," said Ovard, who insisted he is in the race with "no agenda at all." "To me, that is the biggest issue. It’s that 25 years from now, none of our children will be able to afford to live here."
Situated halfway between Salt Lake City and Ogden, Coalville is becoming a Wasatch Front bedroom community.
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"I think it’s a balance," Ovard said when asked if the town needs more commercial development. "We’ll never be a Snyderville Basin, there is just not enough landscape, and I don’t think that is what we want."
Ovard, a 38-year-old North Summit native from Henefer, is employed by Summit County Public Works.
"The growth on the business side needs to happen I definitely want to see more business growth," he said.
Carefully analyzing what impacts new development will have on sewer and water systems is critical, Ovard said.
Meanwhile, he praised Heber and Midway officials for beautifying streets in their towns with landscaping and lampposts as officials in Coalville debate similar changes.
The incumbent Scholes agrees improvements must occur on Main Street.
"We need to take a little more pride in the city," Scholes said in a telephone interview Friday. "How far we need to go, that’s up to the citizens."
But discussions about revitalizing Main Street and creating a historic district in Coalville have been divisive, he acknowledged.
"[A historic district] is a wonderful idea, but, I think we’re 20 years too late," Scholes said about proposed zoning rules to preserve architectural styles.
Scholes, who is 43 years old, has served two years on the City Council after replacing Bill Weston who retired from the board.
New board members must determine the impact growth will have on sewer and water systems in Coalville, Scholes explained.
"We’re going to have growth, but we can’t have it too fast," he said. "We’ve got water issues. We’ve got to make sure we have enough water."
The builders of large subdivisions must compensate taxpayers for impacts new neighborhoods have on infrastructure, Scholes said, adding that "it shouldn’t be on the citizens of Coalville."
According to Scholes, neighbors’ opinions are mixed about how quickly Coalville should grow.
"Some of the merchants in town would like to see growth because we don’t shop at home," he said.
Collins, a 53-year-old political newbie, said he is "not running to change anything."
"I’m running to improve the quality of life for Coalville citizens and visitors to town," Collins said.
He also insisted builders pay impact fees to improve roads, water and sewer systems.
"If somebody wants to come in and put in a new subdivision, then they must be willing to pay," he said.
As the owner of a historic house near Main Street, Collins said he supports revitalizing downtown.
"The beautification of Main Street is a very good thing," he said. "Coalville was a very lively city at one time and I think it’s going to come back to that."
Brostrom, 38, is a former member of the Coalville Planning Commission who in the past mixed it up with North Summit natives about how economic development should occur downtown.
Brostrom, who is employed by the Summit County Community Development Department, could not be reached because she was traveling.
Beames also wasn’t available for comment for this story.
The biggest issue Coalville citizens face in the next four years is growth, incumbent Richins said in a recent telephone interview.
Developers, not Coalville citizens, must pay for impacts of new subdivisions, he added.
A proposal from Cumming to develop a large subdivision in the Allen Hollow area could become the polarizing issue in the campaign.
"That has to do with change, and change is the one thing that is never going to stop," said Schmidt, whose office isn’t on the ballot this year. "How do we manage the change? I think that is a critical thing to discuss."