The safety of Lehi residents is paramount to me. A few of the most meaningful plans I’ve seen come through the Planning Commission have been increasing the number of our fire stations and the new public safety building. The men and women who serve us need to have the buildings and equipment for them to do their jobs safely, effectively, and efficiently. But having the best public safety infrastructure doesn’t mean anything if we can’t maintain competitive salaries for those who serve the city in our public safety departments.
Commercial and Residential Growth
Property ownership was one of the pillars on which this country was founded and the rights associated with ownership are jealously protected by our founding documents. A municipality may impose zoning and other reasonable restrictions on land use and development; however, restrictions that are too tight or arbitrarily deny development are unconstitutional. The city has done remarkably well managing the recent boom in commercial and residential growth. As a planning commissioner, I’ve been involved in and know the gears of municipal land use planning. I will continue to press for thoughtful growth that honors the legacy of the city and that doesn’t run afoul of the constitution. I will also keep in mind critical infrastructure coordination among the city, neighboring cities, the county, and the state. We need to continue to allow growth, but we shouldn’t shy away from ideas like Transit Oriented Districts or other development overlays that can accommodate growth in transportation-centric ways.
I firmly believe that we have a responsibility to protect and respectfully use our natural resources. This also means looking at reasonable and realistic ways to help improve our collective impact on sensitive areas of the city in any first-step environmental municipal code modification.
Not every city has a bond rating of AA+. That tells us a very good story about the fiscal stability and discipline of the city. Additionally, Lehi’s elected officials maintain multiple channels for quick and open dialogue with residents while also being very transparent. I will continue with those traditions of fiscal responsibility, accessibility, and transparency. I also understand the role of government and limitations placed on government. I understand the powers trusted to elected officials and what can and can’t be done as well as what should and shouldn’t be done.
While smart traffic engineering can alleviate some of the short-term traffic concerns, we can’t just build more roads, widen roads, and add more traffic signals as the sole means to accommodate getting from one point to another. I want to find ways to increase the adoption of alternative transportation to alleviate the ever-increasing traffic issues in the city. I also want to keep looking for alternative development ideas to address transportation issues as well. A great example is the recent Transit Oriented District we put in place as overlays. Consolidating retail, higher density housing, and other commercial uses in these areas that align with planned TRAX stations is a great way to build walkable areas that also have mass transit outlets to reduce reliance on automobiles. I also want to review and revise the Development Code as it relates to minimum parking requirements; we have large parking requirements for some uses and parking demand never comes close to the required minimum parking, and we have other allowed land uses where required minimum parking isn’t nearly enough.
Lehi Main Street is part of a Historic Commerce District designation that includes a great purpose statement: “… to revitalize the heart of downtown Lehi by creating a walkable downtown characterized by unique retail, restaurants, entertainment, and small artisan businesses; and to celebrate Lehi’s Pioneer heritage.” To revitalize, we need to attract private investment that aligns with the vision and the design standards of the Historic Commerce District. That’s the chicken. Traffic and parking are the egg. In addition to strongly considering a parking structure, we should also look at other easily-accessible ways to move people in and out of the historic Main Street area. I would like to explore a public-private solution to mass transportation to and from historic Main Street rather than wait on the state.
Open Space and Parks
According to data provided in a Planning Commission meeting some time ago, Lehi is “under parked”, and that doesn’t relate to automobiles. Generally accepted municipal development guidelines demonstrate that we don’t have enough recreation space. City residents rejected the bond that might have solved that issue, and I think we must continue to push to create meaningful partnerships with companies and organizations regarding procuring land for, and ultimately building out, open space and parks to be maintained by the city. Before raising taxes, I’d want to exhaust that private-public partnership paradigm. And before it’s too late.