The Park Record Editorial, Sept. 23, 2009 | ParkRecord.com

The Park Record Editorial, Sept. 23, 2009

East Side should take advantage of Envision Utah's expertise

The mayors and elected officials of Summit County’s East Side towns should welcome the opportunity, offered by the Summit County Council, to meet with representatives from Envision Utah. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose from listening to some of the state’s top experts in land-use planning and community development.

The town fathers would be under no obligation to adopt any of the principles put forward by Envision Utah but could learn a lot from the group’s vast experience with other communities. They might hear something they’d like to try in their own communities, or they might look at another town’s experience as a cautionary tale to be avoided at all costs. Either way they would better serve their constituents by accepting the offer to meet with this highly regarded, state-sanctioned think tank.

The mayors’ reluctance to meet with Envision Utah may have been based on a misunderstanding of the group’s intent. While the group, initially, may have been formed to address concerns about the state’s rapid growth and concerns about over-development, it is not a conservation organization.

Essentially, Envision Utah spent two years polling citizens about their hopes for the future of their communities, about what they wanted to grow into and what they wanted to avoid. Then they synthesized that information into a set of broad strategies aimed at guiding growth while also anticipating and mitigating its effects.

Isn’t that exactly what the leaders of Henefer, Coalville, Kamas, Oakley and Francis hope to accomplish for their own growing communities?

Most town council members are laymen, usually they are not urban planners, hydrologists or traffic engineers. Their strength is in knowing the heart and soul of the neighborhoods within their jurisdiction. But actually implementing what they want their town’s Main Street and side streets to look like in 25, 50 or 100 years requires expertise. That is what Envision Utah has to offer.