Questions for Herriman city council candidates
Four candidates are running for the District 4 seat of the Herriman City Council. I've sent the following questionnaire to all four and hope to get good responses from each of them. I won't endorse one of them if I don't get a response from them.
Political spectrum test
Since the city council race is non-partisan, it's not fair to ask you what political party you most closely associate with. Instead, could you please quickly take this online political spectrum test and indicate your score?
For example, I scored 88.9% right and 9% liberal.
Only Valarie Kingsbury elected to answer this. Kudos to Valarie!
Blackridge Reservoir has been a hot topic this year and has been covered in the news media as a popular destination for people, not just in Herriman, but from all over. Many Herriman residents that live near the reservoir are upset because the reservoir lacks the necessary parking for the number of people using the reservoir and because the reservoir sits inside a residential neighborhood, there is no easy way to expand parking.
Several ideas have been suggested to address the problems ranging from restricting use of the reservoir to Herriman (and maybe Riverton) residents only, charging an entry fee, reducing congestion by marking the residential streets near the reservoir as parking only for residents, or, my own silly idea: Set up a shuttle bus running from Butterfield Park to the reservoir every half hour.
If elected to city council, what measures will you push for addressing the problems surrounding Blackridge Reservoir?
Herriman has plans to work with a developer to build another, larger reservoir off Juniper Crest Road which will eventually be accessible from Mountain View Corridor but it won't be finished for at least another three to five years.
If elected, would you push to move development of this reservoir up so that it is available for use sooner?
Herriman Hills trails initiative
Herriman is flanked on the south by undeveloped, wild hills. There are some trails on some of the south face of these hills which offer spectacular views of the city and the Salt Lake Valley. The land that comprises the hills is mostly owned by private landowners who either now or may sometime in the future want to sell their property or develop it in some fashion.
Many Herriman residents fear that development of the Herriman Hills would be a bad thing. Some feel Draper did a horrible thing by developing the hills above their city. A petition has gathered a sufficient number of signatures to place a referendum on the ballot this November asking residents if they are willing to set up a rolling bond or fund that would collect a fee from all residents so that the city can purchase Herriman Hills property from property owners to preserve it for use as trails (hiking, ATV, biking, etc.) and other recreational purposes.
Currently, the Herriman Hills land is zoned such that if it were developed, lot sizes could be no smaller than 1 acre. Therefore, fears of high-density townhomes, apartments, or even houses with tiny yards are not founded.
Obviously, development of the Herriman Hills would require quite a lot of infrastructure for utilities and roads, but would give firefighters the means to fight a fire in the hills area by placing fire hydrants nearby and roads that would let them get their equipment up there.
Do you support the Herriman Hills initiative of locking up all the land for preservation by the city, some of the land, or none of the land?
Herriman City has very limited public transportation service provided by Utah Transit Authority in the form of one bus route that takes riders to the Daybreak TRAX station by way of the LDS Church Riverton Office Building and The District. As such, there is no easy way for a resident in Herriman to take advantage of public transportation to get to Draper, for example, or to Lehi/Thanksgiving Point.
The UTA TRAX line that currently terminates in Daybreak will some day come into Herriman, but this only provides transportation to the areas served by the TRAX system, which is far from comprehensive.
How do you think Herriman's public transportation needs should be met?
High density housing
Talk to anyone who has lived in Herriman for some time and you'll hear about high density housing, apartments, and townhomes. Many feel the city did a poor job planning the Herriman Town Center by letting developers build a huge amount of high density homes and apartments instead of what the rest of Herriman largely consisted of: single-family homes with yards. Some argue that the higher-density housing attracts crime.
How do you feel about the city's direction on high or higher density housing? If you feel it was a mistake to allow its development, what do you think the city should or could do in the future?
Apparently, Herriman isn't a sure bet for economic development since the roads through Herriman don't take traffic much of anywhere else, there are no large industries in Herriman, and our population, while growing, is still smaller than other cities around us. The city needs more economic development to expand the city's tax base and to provide residents with services that will make Herriman a better place to live.
Again and again, we see cities like Riverton and South Jordan get business development that seems like would do well in Herriman and eventually get a lot of business from Herriman residents.
If elected, what economic development measures will you push for?
Many say Herriman's secondary water system is, frankly, a joke. Not everyone has access to it and those who do have access to it pay substantially more than residents in Riverton do for their secondary water. What measures would you propose or support to make the secondary water issue better?
This last week, the Salt Lake Tribune ran a story about West Jordan spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying firms to try to affect the votes of elected officials in the state legislature in the city's favor. Sandy City has been reported as having a relatively high lobbying budget in years past as well.
Mayor Freeman wrote in a city newsletter this last Winter that he joined a "transportation coalition" to ensure that Herriman's voice was heard on transportation issues. Most residents likely read that report without blinking an eye, not realizing what Freeman was saying was that Herriman was partly funding the ridiculous amount of radio, TV, and newspaper advertisements that ran during the legislative session promoting large increases in transportation funding. Nowhere in the mayor's report did he indicate how much the city paid to be a part of this lobbying and public relations effort.
I personally think cities shouldn't be hiring lobbyists. They should be working directly with elected officials that represent the city. But if a city decides they need to work with a lobbying group, that should be disclosed and the amount of funds spent should also be disclosed.
What is your position on the city funding lobbyists?
Herriman city operations
People have told me I should run for a city office. My standard response is simple: I haven't attended more than a couple of city council meetings and I don't really know how the city operates. Until I understand more, there's no way I'm going to put myself out there as someone who could represent my fellow residents. What knowledge do you have that makes you qualified to be a city councilperson?