I'm sure you've all received your ballots and I want to remind you that a vote for Natalie Hayes is a vote for smart, well managed growth. A vote for Natalie is a voice to protect property owner rights. A vote for Natalie is a listening ear and engaging voice. A vote for Natalie equals responsible spending. A vote for Natalie is a vote for a strong representative for you.
My email inbox has been flooded with interesting questions. I thought I might share a few responses to the most common questions including the Master Trails Plan and Growth.
Regarding the Master Trails Plan, I have concerns implementing as currently written. Statements like the below concern me (pulled directly from the Master Trails documentation):
ISSUE: Many existing user trails are located on private property and State Law does not allow the use of eminent domain to acquire trails and government can no longer require developers to install trails without compensating the developers for the exaction. GOAL: Generate new revenue to pay for the acquisition of trails.
ISSUE: The demand for access to public trails and public lands is increasing, and Bountiful City has installed a parking lot and restrooms at the mouth of Holbrook Canyon, however, a substantial portion of the Canyon is still held in private ownership. GOAL: Acquire fee title and/or a trail easement for the entire length of Holbrook Canyon.
Property owners have rights, if they choose to engage with the City and agree to invite the public to recreate through their property, then this will be easy. If not, then the City should not impose easements on property owners to accomplish additional recreational access. I'm interested to learn how the access via private property will be obtained. I'm also concerned for property owners and want to ensure they don't feel pressured and left without options to preserve their property to be used as they choose.
The cost for the trails plan exceeds $5M, the on-going maintenance costs have not been addressed more than a statement of we need to figure out in the plan. I spoke with a Council Woman who expressed that we have a large service population in Bountiful always looking for projects and they will maintain it. This isn't a strong plan. I am also concerned about the limitations this plan imposes on other types of recreation like motorized vehicles.
If elected, I promise to protect property owner rights to the best of my ability.
Regarding growth, Utah and Colorado are currently among the fastest growing States and facing housing shortages as a result. During the last State Legislative session, the group implemented a new bill requiring every city along the Wasatch front to comply with growth requirements in order to receive the state taxes earmarked for the city and highway funds. You can read more about this at https://le.utah.gov/~2019/bills/static/SB0034.html. Each city is required to implement 3 of 25 strategies to help improve the housing shortage.
Bountiful City is growing rapidly and does not appear to have a strong growth strategy in place prior to approving new growth. No question, we are going to grow but we need to do it in a smart way. While we have an obligation to the state, we also have to look out for our residents. Are you aware that the current City Council has approved a 300+ unit apartment building to be built at the Renaissance Towne Center (the old five points mall)? Questions about parking, sewer, water, traffic, updated roads, additional services like police/fire, etc. were not addressed in any of the city notes I've found. The growth strategy should include not only state requirements but should be formulated using specifically outlined cultural and community standards along with updated infrastructure support plans. Bountiful City is expected to grow by thousands of residents within the next five years. Currently about 27% of our population is comprised of people renting some type of housing unit. Introducing low/moderate income housing developments has the potential to also decrease the education level within our city and introduce more conflict and crime. The strategy needs to prepare and plan for this. Compliance with the state bill would required 142 additional housing units in Bountiful within the five year span. We've exceeded that already. Bountiful City has also implemented Accessory Dwelling Units, which is one of the strategies outlined. We have met the state requirements. I'm concerned about how we manage the little undeveloped proprieties left in Bountiful and how fast we choose to grow vs. simply responding to the push to grow.
There are a lot of strong candidates in this race. I encourage you to do your research regarding the candidates, their voting history and how they spend campaign funds. I encourage you to ask them about issues facing our city and those issues important to you prior to casting your vote.
Please reach out if you have any questions prior to casting your ballot. Remember, election day is Nov. 5th. If you are mailing your ballot, please make sure it's postmarked no later than Nov. 4th. If you want to drop the ballot by the police station, please use the ballot box in the lobby. You can also cast your vote at any voting center on election day.
I appreciate your vote.