Local governments have the largest impact upon individuals residents and how they use their property. For this reason, voters need to be careful about selecting candidates that support valid and appropriate usage. I’ve been a strong advocate of personal property rights and have strongly supported topics such as urban chickens and bee keeping.
At the same time, we have a responsibility to create a community where the environment is safe and inviting. So, I am also supportive of reasonable, balanced, and fairly-enforced code enforcement. I’ve been part of crafting an approach to code enforcement that is towards cleaning up the violation and not punishing the negligent resident.
The development of other land is also a significant part of the City Council’s work, particularly at this point in time in Clearfield’s history. Land use planning should contribute to a community with an appropriate balance of residential, commercial, office, business, and other uses.
Most recent direction by both the Planning Commission and the City Council has been towards high density, multi-family rental residential. I’ve been opposed to this and have watched with concern as more and more apartments appear in our community. I recognize the need for this type of housing in any community, but strongly feel that Clearfield City has contributed more than its fair share to high-density and affordable housing.
In the next year or so, significant decisions will be made that will irreversibly affect the City for the next several decades. The trend now is to fill areas such as Mabey Place and Clearfield Station with high density rentals, rather than building viable communities that become a sought after destination.
The following sections provide more detail on various positions.
Form based code is a national trend to change the way land is used. As the name implies, development is based upon form rather than use. If a development looks a certain way, then it can be built, regardless of what is being built.
Our version of the form based code is not really form-specific. Indeed, most of the zones created could be called a version of a residential zone, with some requiring commercial and some not. What this means is that the State Street corridor is largely zoned for residential with intermittent commercial (only on the first floor). Literally, if someone were to approach the City and want to build a stand-alone restaurant, commercial center, or office building they would actually be in violation of the form based code.
I spoke quite extensively against the form based code but in the end voted for it. I did this because it had been developed by a broad based committee and I was willing to allow the experiment. I submitted a lengthy list of proposed changes, none of which were made. In the interim, several changes were proposed and passed, including the reduction of visitor parking and setbacks. I opposed them for many reasons but was on the losing side of the vote.
At this point, I feel that form based code only benefits developers by not allowing oversight into density and use and so will continue to oppose it. This is the root cause of the proliferation of rentals and the planning of others in the future, and so needs to be changed.
If you want to reduce the influx of rentals in the city, then I have the knowledge and experience to work towards that goal.
The area around Mabey Pond has been recognized as a location that can make Clearfield a destination. The original concept was to exploit the existence of a pond in the middle of an urban area. This means making the pond a community resource surrounded by recreation, commercial and residential units that would be inviting and a destination not only for residents but others in the region.
I supported the purchase of the Clearfield Mobile Home Park so that it could be used as a component of this overall plan. I also supported the expenditure of a substantial amount of park impact fee money to bring new water sources to Mabey Pond to ensure that it stays at a usable and attractive level.
The most recent proposals have not supported this vision that I had and that was shared by many. The developer proposes to put high density residential on the west side of State Street, including subsidized housing. On the east side, high density residential would be built nearly up to the pond, with poorly defined commercial and office on the north side of the property. The concept of a community center and regional attraction is essentially ignored and the pond is an afterthought.
Part of the proposal is the use of eminent domain to obtain the necessary land. I will oppose the use of eminent domain if the end result is to use it to construct apartment complexes and other facilities that do not represent a true regional destination.
I oppose the current plans for Mabey Place and will be your advocate to help ensure that this “jewel” is developed with community and not developer profits in mind.
Rarely does a City have the opportunity to develop 50 acres of open land, and so the Clearfield Station is an incredible opportunity that must be used carefully. We won’t be able to change our minds in a year or two.
My vision of this location is to develop a small community within the City where local residents want to live and raise their families; and provide amenities that are a regional destination for those in the local area. Tentative plans included proposed sports complexes, which would be a phenomenal opportunity for the City.
UTA has substantially increased its ethics and openness in land use, as well as its desire to work with local governments in land use. This is substantially different than the situation many years ago, when they were run by developers with powerful political connections (Yes, I was involved then and so know what I speak of.)
Like Mabey Place, Clearfield Station has the potential to be a destination where people come to Clearfield for recreation, entertainment and other similar attractions.
However, like Mabey Place, there is a trend towards the area becoming packed with high density rental units. Numbers of around 1200 rentals have been presented to the Council. We are awaiting final responses to UTA proposals and so the situation is not fully known.
I will do all that I can to ensure that Clearfield Station will not become simply another high density apartment complex but will be a viable destination that will make Clearfield the place where people want to live and visit.
I believe that reasonable constraints on how our residents and businesses look contribute to having a pleasant community where we all want to live.
We continually refine and clarify these types of ordinances to make sure we balance the desires of a home owner against the need to have a nice looking neighborhood. We've made some mistakes in the past, and have made adjustments accordingly.
At the same time, Government should not be heavy handed in enforcement and those whose job it is to enforce should understand that they are to support the community and be a part of it and to punish.
Although there is always room for improvement, I believe that we have moved the City forward in a better way. Code violations are now civil instead of criminal violations, which makes it much easier to work with residents towards a solution rather than just collecting fines.
One continuing problem is a lack of consistency, where one resident receives a citation and another does not for the same or more serious violation. I'll work to improve that. We need to ensure that our police department, who issue these citations, is respected and that the community feels like they are a support to them. I also feel that police officers gain more satisfaction in their jobs if they are doing more than issuing parking tickets.
I have worked with the Police Chief, and will continue to do so, to ensure that code enforcement is fair and balanced and that it benefits the community.
My vision for Clearfield is that it will be a place where people want to live and that those who live in the area come here for business and recreation. I do not feel that our current development efforts are headed in that direction.
My fear is that we will be a community that people look forward to moving away from because of all the high density and lower income rental housing. Traffic will be terrible and services will be difficult to support.
Taxes will increase in order to cover the increased cost of significantly higher overhead that does not provide an economic basis for revenue.
The decisions we make in the next few months will change Clearfield forever in one way or another. Please let me be your voice in those decisions.
Instead, I fear that Clearfield will be