Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Planners, Seize the Day!

How can planners think they are not important in the overall scheme of things when we keep getting opportunities thrown right into our laps?

On Sunday, New Year's Day, the DesNews put forward its important editorial priorities for the coming year, and right at the top of the list was...dealing with growth!

"(T)he Deseret Morning News editorial board has chosen the challenge of dealing with the many facets of growth as the top editorial goal for 2006. This means putting pressure on local officials to plan intelligently, so that new developments don't overrun the need for parks and open spaces. It also means finding ways to intelligently deal with needs in education, transportation, and other areas."

I would add "... and keep state officials from hampering local officials from doing so." This in reference to the none-too-secret expressions by House Speaker Greg Curtis and Rep. Wayne Harper (former West Jordan Community Development Director, no less) of their desire to essentially turn local land use regulation on its head (see past news story.)

Planners, as those trained and equipped to deal with handling growth, we cannot let such opportunity pass us by to be in the forefront of the policy discussions.

One who is certainly "seizing the day" is our own Soren Simonsen. A good story in the Trib about Soren's assumption of a seat on the Salt Lake City Council shows how planners can even make themselves into elected policymakers (along with that other notable planner, Ralph Becker). Way to go Soren, show us how its to be done. No question this will help raise the level of recognition of planning for our communities.

Though, as the story points out, Soren, you really made your pregnant wife suffer through summer without air conditioning in the name of architectural purity for your newly acquired Sugar House home? Wow, now that takes guts.


At 2:32 PM, Blogger Former Centerville Citizen said...

There was also a good editorial in today's Standard Examiner about Davis County needing more land zoned for uses other than residential and retail.

At 6:48 PM, Blogger Wilf said...


Yeah, the Standard seems to have picked up on this like its a new topic. We actually prepared and adopted an economic development strategic plan for Davis County in 1995, which had as one of its top priorities the need for cities to identify areas for business development in their city general plans, zone the areas accordingly, and hold on to it and not succumb to the inevitable request by landowners and developers to rezone to residential.

We have been pushing that idea with cities since that time, and it has had some success, like the business park in Kaysville, areas in North Salt Lake, and in west Layton.

But there have been a number of instances as well where the city councils have caved in and rezoned to residential, like in some of the area east of Hill Air Force Base, and most recently the area west of Redwood Road in North Salt Lake.

We have just determined that with the election of nine new mayors in Davis County, and a number of new city council people, we need to re-emphasize this idea. Ted Knowlton at Envision Utah has picked up on the idea, and we are going to partner with them to resend the message.


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