General plan foresees ‘real stresses for increased development’
By Rhett Wilkinson
MT. PLEASANT—The Mt. Pleasant City Council has adopted a new general plan for 2021 to 2031, a period expected to be characterized by brisk population growth.
The council adopted the plan at its Tuesday, Jan. 26 meeting. The consultant for the planning effort was Dr. Lynn England, a faculty member in history and political science at Utah Valley University.
The plan made some interesting observations:
- The median household income in Mt. Pleasant jumped from $33,603 in 2010 to $54,745 in 2016
- The city government acknowledges that it is not always transparent enough
- There are no plans to annex additional land to the city
- Mt. Pleasant has developed its own definition of what it means to be rural, a statement that enlarges on the definition from the Utah State Community Development Office.
- The population of Mt. Pleasant is projected to double in 20 to 35 years.
At the Jan. 19 public hearing on the plan, Councilman Kevin Stallings raised questions about the section stating the city did not intend to annex land. But the plan remained as it was after the council’s vote.
According to the plan, Pleasant is considered an “urban cluster” by the U.S. Census because it has between 2,500 and 50,000 residents.
The plan mentioned that agriculture, especially sheep and cattle, remains an important part of the Mt. Pleasant economy and culture.
It noted that an effort is underway to replace an aging secondary irrigation system with a pressurized and metered system, and that the city is working toward creating a new culinary water well, a water treatment plant and a storage pond.
Nonetheless, the plan said, the culinary water and irrigation systems are inadequate for the current population, especially under present drought conditions, and a “slow-the-flow” campaign will be necessary.
Results of a survey of residents showed that more than 50 percent of are satisfied with most dimensions of city services and infrastructure. There was one exception: road maintenance.
The category with the highest percentage of residents (20.9 percent) who were willing to pay higher taxes for a service was road maintenance.
About 80 percent of residents favor increased commercial and industrial growth; 72.3 percent of respondents favor a population between 4,000 and 5,000 by 2030; 55 percent of residents rated road improvement and water resource preservation as essential; and most residents favor keeping land use as it now stands, with 63 percent of lots zoned residential-agricultural and 75 percent occupied by single-family homes.
Results also showed 79 percent of residents support the historical/commercial zone on Main Street; 41 percent of residents want to keep the industrial park size the same as at present; and 39 percent of residents are opposed to a second industrial park.
Seventy-five percent of residents rank mobile homes as least preferred out of three options for affordable housing, and 64 percent of residents support recruiting a fast-food franchise.
One-quarter of residents responded to the survey. Eighty percent of respondents have some college and more than 80 percent of the respondents have lived in Mt. Pleasant for more than 10 years.
England pointed to a statement in the plan calling for “some kind of development” in the commercial sector so young people can find employment and stay in Mt. Pleasant.
The plan found that further development along State and Main streets is vital, England said. “That was one of the things that we did focus on,” England said.
Pointing to the “explosive growth” from Wasatch County to Utah County and down into Juab County, England noted that Mt. Pleasant residents want enough growth so families can stay together and their adult children can come home. However, they don’t want growth that would undermine space for large animals and larger properties.
England worked with the Mt. Pleasant Planning and Zoning Commission and city council to explore ways to fund road improvements, water resources and general city services, including a small police force trying to do a big job.
England said he was initially concerned because David Blackham resigned as mayor right as he, the planning commission and council were about to start the plan.
None of the people England worked with, he said, ever brought the mayor conflict into their work.
“They were anxious to … not have that intervene,” England said.
England’s biggest frustration was that the work took longer than three to four months, given the “political conflict within the city,” a city election and then COVID-19, he said.
But “everyone was really gracious,” he said. “[It was] not a huge problem as far as developing the plan was concerned.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed the people I worked with,” he said. “I have a deep commitment to rural Utah, and I enjoyed being in Mt. Pleasant.”
England said he hopes the plan turns out to be a helpful resource.
“It’s hopefully something that will serve the city for the next decade, and you won’t feel handcuffed by it,” he said.
England is sure the city will “run into … pressures from outside the county to engage in greater population growth.” There are “some real stresses there for added development,” he said.
“And you need to deal with the water problems,” England said.