Growth and water: East Side candidates discuss issues | ParkRecord.com
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Growth and water: East Side candidates discuss issues

Mayoral races in Coalville and Oakley highlight slate

Growth and water: These issues come up in nearly every conversation with candidates on Summit County’s East Side ahead of the Nov. 2 election.

The mayor’s office and at least two city council positions are up for grabs in municipalities across Utah. In Summit County’s East Side, there are unopposed mayoral races in Kamas, Francis and Henefer, but voters will choose the person to fill their city’s highest post in Coalville and Oakley. They will do so, as well, in the Wasatch County town of Hideout, which has inserted itself recently into Summit County politics by attempting to annex county-controlled land.

There are also contested city council elections in Coalville, Oakley and Kamas.



Kamas candidate meet-and-greet

The Kamas Valley Business Association is sponsoring a candidate meet-and-greet for the Kamas City Council and South Summit Fire Commissioner races. It is scheduled at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, at the Kamas City Hall, 170 N. Main St.

Coalville

In Coalville, after a multi-year, contentious approval process involving a golf course development, nearly a dozen candidates filed to run for office this year. Mark Marsh and Lynn Wood emerged to compete for the mayor’s office, while four people remain to vie for the two City Council seats available.

Both Marsh and Wood, as well as multiple City Council candidates, discussed the need for a community conversation about how the city should grow. City officials were recently told they would have to significantly expand municipal infrastructure to contend with new growth.



Marsh said one of his first priorities would be to invite a “fairly large number of people” in the community to a sort of priority-setting conversation. He said he ran a similar program as the president of the North Summit Board of Education and the input he received surprised him. He indicated the community’s priorities would inform the direction he would lead the city.

Coalville mayoral candidate Mark Marsh
Courtesy of Mark Marsh

Marsh said he’s served on many local and state boards, including the State Board of Education, and touted his leadership experience.

“I think I have as much — I have more leadership than all the other candidates put together,” he said. “It gives me an idea how to govern people.”

He said his top three issues are growth, water and infrastructure.

He also said he’d like to work with the business community and try to entice a light industrial manufacturer to come to town.

“I’m a problem solver and I have lived here my whole life,” he said. “I understand where our water comes from, how it gets to us and how it gets back to us. I understand property rights from the residential side and the ag side.”

He said it was a key priority to “balance” growth.

Wood said she would pursue a community visioning project to collect data about what the community wants and use that to create a strategy and plan for handling growth.

“Right now, it’s just happening to us,” she said of the development coming to town. “We’re having random acts of development, is how it feels.”

Coalville mayoral candidate Lynn Wood
Courtesy of Lynn Wood

She said the city’s general plan is over a decade old and its land-use plan is outdated.

“I’m very concerned that we need to really evaluate all that and just create a new plan,” she said. “We just need to direct this growth.”

Wood rose to prominence during the community conversation around the Wohali golf course development as a leader of an opposition group.

She said her leadership style would be more collaborative than city officials have been. Wood said her skills as a certified professional accountant and financial professional would be useful to the city.

She cited growth and water as her top two issues, and floated the idea of a building moratorium until “we get our feet under us.”

“First and foremost, we need to know where we’re going,” she said.

For the City Council, Louise Willoughby, Steven B. Richins, Stefanie Bowen and Christopher Horne are vying for two seats.

Willoughby cited growth as her No. 1 issue, especially how it affects the city’s water use. A particular concern is a provision in the city’s development code that allows land with a commonly used zoning designation to be a site of resort development, the type that was used in the Wohali project, which she vocally opposed.

She also said the City Council hasn’t played the role it should in making decisions, indicating that too much power rests with city staff.

That’s a point echoed by Richins, who previously served 16 years on the City Council.

“I received quite a bit of pressure from people to run again because there’s things people don’t like going on,” he said. “… Council needs to have more power, more say in what’s going on, than in the past several years.”

He said he would work to include more input from residents, saying many people “feel kind of ignored.”

Bowen said ​​water and growth are “hot topics,” but also cited “rampant misinformation on social media” as a factor in the race.

She prided herself on her work ethic and said she has been a title and escrow officer for more than 15 years.

“If I don’t know something, I educate myself and find out,” she said.

Horne also cited growth and creating a coherent community vision as important issues in the race. He said that he was not for or against the Wohali development, but that he’d try to ensure the city would reap as many benefits as possible now that it has been approved.

“It is very important that a community understands the disadvantages and advantages that come from decisions, and that we have educated, unbiased officials working for the city to help guide those discussions,” he said.

Oakley

Two men whose families have long pedigrees in positions of power in Oakley are matching up in the contest for mayor. Growth and water, again, were two of the most important issues candidates cited. The city is under a building moratorium until next month, with officials pausing construction due to a lack of water.

Joe Frazier is competing with Zane Woolstenhulme for the mayoral seat currently held by Wade Woolstenhulme, Zane’s brother, who has decided not to run again.

Oakley mayoral candidate Joe Frazier
Courtesy of Joe Frazier

Frazier is a current city councilor, former planning commissioner and the Summit County historian. He said his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were each Oakley mayors, with the latter being the city’s first mayor in 1934.

“I just really care about the town and I feel like I have some time to put into it and I’ve spent … time on council so I feel like I know what the issues are, what we’re having problems with and what has gone well,” he said.

He said growth and infrastructure were key issues and that the two were entwined, with increasing development leading to more pressure on the city’s roads and water and sewer systems.

“Planning for (growth) and having a good master plan and zoning ordinance in place is important, because I think we know, if growth isn’t here already, it’s coming,” he said.

He also cited the importance of maintaining the town’s sense of community.

“It’s a small, tight-knit community, and people like that,” he said. “And trying to maintain that as we do grow is going to be a challenge.”

Zane Woolstenhulme said his grandfather, father and uncle were mayors, in addition to his brother.

Oakley mayoral candidate Zane Woolstenhulme
Courtesy of Zane Woolstenhulme

He said his earliest memories are of working with his father and other relatives on service projects in the community.

He served on the Planning Commission for 20 years over two stints and has served on nonprofit boards, including that of an affordable housing nonprofit. He is the Ogden City School District business administrator and said those skills, including maintaining budgets, could serve Oakley well.

He cited the city’s water source as the most important issue, in addition to aging infrastructure and preparing for a wave of growth he said the city hadn’t seen for about 20 years.

“We know that we’re probably in for some growth in the next few years,” he said.

He also spoke of the importance of creating affordable housing opportunities locally and of developing the city center. A master plan was created in 2008 and “nothing ever happened with it.”

“I think my experience and background in public administration have given me a good foundation to bring to the table some skills probably that haven’t been there for a long time in that regard,” he said. “Maybe I can just help move things forward and do things for good.”

There are four Oakley residents running to fill two City Council seats: Marissa Dillman and Clayton Page and incumbents Steve Wilmoth and Kelly Kimber.

On a meet-the-candidates portion of the city’s website, Dillman said she was raised in Oakley and has volunteered in the community, including working on landscaping around City Hall and building trails. She said her three focuses are “building unity in our community, improving our water resources, and making a sustainable growth plan.”

She added that the city should be smart about how much and what type of growth it invites.

“Growth is needed but needs to be established to ensure the farming community’s feel remains,” she wrote.

Page said he grew up in Oakley and is proud to call it his hometown. He said he would endeavor to listen to city residents while making decisions as a councilor.

“Individual rights and freedoms will always be a gauge against which I will measure any consideration I make on your behalf,” he wrote.

He said he has 25 years of government accounting and budgeting experience and served for more than a dozen years as the Oakley precinct Republican chair.

Wilmoth touted his leadership and relationship-building abilities. He said the council has worked diligently to better equip the city for the future.

“Water supply has been at the forefront of our discussions for some time, we have hopefully turned a corner on this challenge and have some realistic solutions that have the ability to sustain,” he wrote.

Kimber said his experience, education and skillset are needed on the council. He said he has a master’s degree in public administration and is a senior human resources professional with 40 years of leadership, management and organizational experience.

He said water and wastewater are critical to the city and that he’s worked in the wastewater field for decades.

“One of my main objectives is to see that Oakley doesn’t change what it is, but that it develops like Oakley,” he wrote.

Also on the Oakley ballot, as well as for every other South Summit resident, is the South Summit Fire commission race, in which incumbent Craig Fry and Tyler Lewis are running for a seat on the board.

Kamas

While Kamas Mayor Matt McCormick is running unopposed, there are four Kamas residents vying for two spots on the City Council: Jessica Allen Bateman, David W. Darcey, Natalie Ruth Souza and Kandilee Sauter.

Bateman said there were three big issues in the race, listing protecting the watershed as the primary concern and discussing how it relates to development.

“I’m by no means an environmentalist — I’m all for taking care of what we do have and maintaining it,” she said. “With that comes the fight of development to take over the Kamas Meadows.”

She cited her experience as a real estate agent for the past 16 years as providing experience about how different governments operate and deal with developers.

The third issue she highlighted was the importance of reaching out to the Kamas business community.

“Our small town is thriving but you’d never know it looking at our Main Street,” she said.

Darcey said the big issue in the campaign is development, particularly projects that have recently come forward requesting annexation into the city.

He has vocally supported Summit County’s open space bond effort and its potential to prevent development of the Kamas Meadow.

He cited his experience and ability to dedicate himself to the work of being a city councilor.

“I spent 30 years over strategy and market intelligence for a Fortune 350 company and successfully retired,” he said.

He said he had finance-related degrees as well as a master’s in business administration, and has the time and resources to devote to the position.

Souza is a former Kamas City planner and cited growth as a primary issue in the race.

“The council has to make decisions: Are we going to annex along (S.R.) 248? What are we doing with that?” she said. “… We need to have a plan.”

She also said the city should do more to support the business community, saying business owners lack a voice in the city process.

She said she called and emailed every person on the city’s business license list to let them know of federal grants related to the pandemic, and was able to connect 45 people to that funding source.

“Why didn’t the council care? Why didn’t the mayor care?” she said. “It absolutely wasn’t my job.”

She also said she was running to support city staffers.

Sauter said she was running to preserve the small-town feel she had while growing up. She said development and affordable housing were two key issues the city faces.

“I feel I would be an asset to Kamas City Council being a Kamas Native,” she wrote in an email to The Park Record. “I care about my community and want to see it thrive as the beautiful city it is. Preserving our small town values and taking care of our city, its employees, businesses, and residents.”

Hideout

Hideout Mayor Philip Rubin filed to run again just before the deadline this spring and is facing challenger Dean Heavrin.

The town has attracted regional attention for its attempt to annex hundreds of acres near Richardson Flat in Summit County, a project Rubin supports. He has said the benefits the annexation would bring, including the addition of commercial businesses, are crucial for Hideout.

In an emailed response to a Park Record inquiry, Rubin said “I am working to continue down the path to deliver the key priorities as selected by the community.”

Multiple phone calls and emails to addresses associated with Heavrin went unanswered. Rubin said, to the best of his knowledge, his opponent was still running for mayor.


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