Fairview City Council moves ahead on general plan update with review of survey

Fairview general plan survey select results

FAIRVIEW—A general plan update for Fairview City moved ahead another step Thursday, July 15 as the city council reviewed responses to a recent survey.

The current general plan was last updated in 2001. A community survey is a standard early step in the update process. It allows the city to gather input from residents to help guide planning for land use, housing development and other municipal needs.

One hundred seventeen residents from Fairview and the surrounding area offered concerns, praise and opinions on topics presented by the Planning Commission. Among other topics, the city asked about annexation, agriculture, growth and park development. Respondent-initiated topics included the look of State Street, code enforcement, water concerns, surveying discrepancies and communication issues.

“The survey was really eye-opening,” said Mayor Cliff Wheeler.

The number of respondents surprised Councilman Michael MacKay. “There was a lot of good input,” he said. “There are some concerns from the citizens of the city, and on some of the things I think we can do better.” 

Changes to the plan stemming from the survey have yet to be decided, but the council did begin discussing the citizens’ feedback. The council expressed gratitude for resident participation as well as concern about how to implement certain pieces of the input. Effective communication with town residents and adequate funding for projects emerged as requirements in any actions the city might take.

MacKay summarized the survey’s key takeaways during the meeting. He shared comprehensive results with the council members in a private document but did not make that document available to the Messenger before publication.

“Some of the things were just really interesting,” MaKay said. General topics of concern/interest centered around agriculture, water, growth, code enforcement, recreation and city communication. “It was just some good information.”

Citizens brought up a range of recreation ideas. Amenities like trails, bike paths, dog parks, new ballfields and more shade trees were mentioned. McKay said respondents were excited about completion of pickle ball courts and new restrooms at the sports park. When asked about the future of the old ball fields, “the majority by quite a ways” favored fixing them up as a picnic space with pavilions and walking paths.

Eye sores—especially along State Street—were a big concern, MacKay said. “Probably 95 percent of the people” mentioned unsightly properties and city-wide cleanup. Residents are concerned about what town looks like as people come through on State Street, said MacKay.

And while 77 percent of respondents expressed support for smaller lot sizes to accommodate growth, 55 percent said they would not support developing “more obtainable housing” (such as starter homes). Responses about supporting population growth in general came in at “about 50/50,” said MacKay.

Another concern impacting property owners is standardizing property lines. According to MacKay, Fairview has two different places in town that serve as starting points for surveys. “People lose property,” he said. “Off of the Canyon Road, there’s some issues about where the property lines are.”

When they came to requests for improved communication, the council agreed with the public—there’s room for improvement. MacKay said some concerns raised by citizens have already been resolved. But because citizens didn’t know that, they brought them up in the survey.

“We do need to be better about our communication with the public,” Mayor Wheeler said.

While he’s in favor of improving communication from the city, Wheeler believes residents have a responsibility as well.

“Our public should be aware that they can come to this city council and actually hear what’s going on.”  (Five individuals were in attendance who were not council or press.)

Wheeler also pointed out there would be costs connected to many of the residents’ ideas. “Most of the concerns that I saw on this all take lots and lots of money,” he said. “Like finishing the sports park takes lots and lots of money. Our water upgrades take lots and lots of money.” 

While upgrades sound nice, Wheeler said, “If we don’t get complete grants, that will probably either raise your taxes or raise a fee of some kind. And we really don’t want to raise fees or rates any more right now.”

The council also mentioned the city manager position will remain open until July 22. The city has received multiple applications for the position, according to Wheeler.

Wheeler also extended a special thanks to city employees for their hard work, both in general and for this week’s Pioneer Day celebration.

Councilman Brad Welch, who has headed up Pioneer Days preparations, expressed thanks to “Thrive 125,” the initiative of the Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement to celebrate Utah’s 125th year of statehood. Thrive 125 is a major sponsor of Pioneer Days.