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Friday, January 30, 2015

Little Confluence in Taylorsville is finished!

In 2012 voters in Salt Lake County approved Proposition 1, a $47 million bond to create more open space throughout the county. Because of that bond 25 new open space areas and parks were approved and ready for construction.

In 2009 the county purchased a little more than nine acres where Cottonwood Creek and the Jordan River merge. The process has taken a few years for plans to be drawn and to have the public weigh-in, but construction has already started and the transformation has been remarkable. Before it was overgrown with weeds and invasive species of trees and today there is a picnic pavilion, walkable trails, and new trees planted throughout the space.  Little Confluence is located on 4800 South, just west of Murray Boulevard in Taylorsville and is now complete!

Little Confluence in 2009

Little Confluence in 2014

Monday, January 26, 2015

Community Preservation Bill

Salt Lake County is working with Senator Karen Mayne to pass a Community Preservation Bill during this Legislative session. I am very committed to seeing this bill pass, as I believe our unincorporated areas should have local representation and decision-making authority. We also need to have their borders protected from annexations and the ability for them to maintain their identity.


The unincorporated areas are funded through a separate municipal services budget overseen by the county council and mayor.

The boundaries are not locked which means neighboring cities continually annex unincorporated areas where valuable tax base exists. This harms the ability for these areas to pay for services. The individual townships have a desire to maintain their own identity.

In the past the county has hesitated to put serious investment in infrastructure or economic development for fear that the areas will be annexed or incorporate.

If township areas continue to be eaten away be neighboring communities, there will come a point when the areas which are left may be divided up and given to neighboring cities, as there will not be sufficient funds to continue maintaining them as a whole.

Solution for Townships:

Our six townships include Millcreek, Emigration Canyon, Kearns, Copperton, Magna and White City.

The Community Preservation Bill is an effort to secure boundaries, maintain township identity, and give decision-making control to the townships.

In November 2015, each township will vote on whether they want to incorporate or be part of a municipal township.

If a community decides to incorporate, they can still pool sales tax revenue in the municipal services district and receive the same services they have historically.

If a community wants to be a metro township, the following year they would elect a three or five-member council. One member would serve on the executive board of the municipal services district and make budgetary decisions.

This municipal services district pools sales tax revenue and is the financial arm to fund public works and other services. Currently the townships pay directly via property taxes to UPD and UFA for public safety and would continue to do so.

Solutions for Non-Townships:

Throughout the county there are small neighborhood pockets of unincorporated areas, which are not considered townships. In November 2015 there will be a ballot question to see if these unincorporated areas want to remain status quo or annex to a city, based on neighboring cities annexation master plans. 


Below is a short Q&A that will answer questions about the process for developing the legislation and provide additional details about these updates. Please email with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. 
Q. If passed, what will the Community Preservation bill do?

A. If passed the bill will: 
  • Allow Townships and unincorporated County residents to decide their future during the municipal election on November 2, 2015. For voters living in a current township, the ballot question will ask whether they want to be incorporated as a new city or become a Metro Townships. For voters living elsewhere in unincorporated Salt Lake County, the ballot question will ask whether they want to annex into an existing city or keep their current status. The new townships or cities would elect council members in 2016. Those council members would then take office in January 2017.
  • Create direct representation for residents of unincorporated county regarding budgeting their tax dollars; local planning and zoning ordinance authority.
  • Maintain a broad tax base that supports needs throughout the unincorporated county.
  • Deliver high quality services at a reasonable cost.
  • Stabilize community borders, easing fears of “land grabs” by neighboring cities.
  • Ensure self-determination for each unique community to be what it chooses.
  • Keep government small with less administrative burden.
Q. Why did Mayor McAdams propose the Community Preservation legislation?  Why not keep things the way they are?

A. With or without this legislation, change continues to happen. For decades, thousands of dollars have been expended and community uncertainty created related to annexation and incorporation issues.  

Realizing that status quo is not feasible, the Community Preservation legislation is Mayor McAdams’ response to the requests of community members to stop these piecemeal efforts and offer local control over planning, zoning, and the budget. It ensures that high quality services are delivered at a fair cost, that economic development funded with unincorporated dollars stays in and supports those communities, and the unique character of our townships and neighborhoods stays intact. 

Q. Did my community have a voice in creating the Community Preservation bill?

A: Yes. In 2014, Mayor McAdams reached out to the community and invited interested individuals to serve on five sub-committees: Islands, Planning, Economic Development, Legislative, and Canyons. The Community Preservation legislation is a result of these discussions.
One of the committee recommendations that has already been initiated is the creation of a Municipal Services District (District). It will provide municipal services (such as animal services, public works, etc)  to unincorporated areas under the direction of a board elected from each township area—a concept similar to the Unified Police Department (UPD) and the Unified Fire Authority (UFA). The County will host two public hearings about the Municipal Services District (see the dates and times for these public hearings).   
 Q. Once the legislative session begins things can move very quickly and committee hearing dates and times can change with little to no notice. In addition to receiving these weekly emails how can I get the most updated information on the status of this bill?

A. The current Community Preservation bill has not yet been released or been assigned a bill number. Once this has occurred, we will send out this bill number and information on how to sign up for the bill tracker. By signing up for the bill tracker you will be sent you updates on the status of this bill and dates/time of committee hearings. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wood Burning Ban Info

By the Salt Lake County Office of Township Services

The Salt Lake County Board of Health has passed a regulation that prohibits outdoor and wood-burning fires on days that the State of Utah designates as mandatory or voluntary air action days. Health Regulation #35, Solid Fuel Burning, bans outdoor fires such as bonfires, charcoal grills, and patio pit fires, as well as the burning of coal, wood, or pellets in fireplaces and wood burning stoves, on days with already poor air quality. The restriction does not apply to homes that have a fireplace or stove as the only source of heat, and also does not apply during emergency situations such as power outages or furnace malfunctions.

The new regulation is designed to combat air pollution problems in the Salt Lake Valley. A single fireplace can emit as much pollution as 90 SUVs, and a traditional wood-burning stove can emit the same amount as 3,000 gas furnaces. Even more modern, EPA-certified stoves create 60 times more pollution than gas furnaces. The microscopic particles created by burning solid fuels can cause a number of health concerns, including respiratory and heart problems. Some types of pollution are fine enough that even staying indoors might not help; up to 70% of the wood smoke that leaves a chimney can re-enter nearby homes. The geography of the county exacerbates the problem with inversions, as cold winter air settles in the valley and traps pollution.

The State of Utah has created two distinct systems to alert residents to air quality problems. The first is a color-coded health alert, informing citizens when air quality is good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, and completely unhealthy with the colors green, yellow, orange, and red respectively. The second system consists of three “air action” notifications: unrestricted, voluntary restrictions, and mandatory restrictions. Previously, residents were encouraged but not required to reduce or eliminate wood burning on voluntary days. Health Regulation #35 now prohibits burning in Salt Lake County whenever the state declares either voluntary or mandatory no-burn days.

State law allows the health department to issue notices of violation and assess penalties of up to $299 per day for those who violate the restrictions. However, the department will likely only assign the highest fines to repeat offenders, and fines for burning on voluntary days will not be assessed at all until January of 2016. “During this first year, the Health Department will focus on educating residents about the regulation and the health issues associated with solid fuel burning,” said Gary Edwards, Salt Lake County Health Department executive director.

The health department is asking the public to report burning on restricted days so that staff can educate noncompliant residents before the fines go into effect. Reports may be filed online or by calling 385-468-8888. For more information about the new rules, visit the Salt Lake County Health Department website.