I happen to live at the base of the Silicon Slopes. The growth we’re seeing for industry and housing in my community is explosive and exciting and scary all at the same time. It’s exciting because it means more opportunities for our hard working families and a broader tax base to ease the burden on everyone. It’s scary, because we cherish the quality of life that Utah is known for with it’s close knit communities where people know one another and take care of one another. Utah County is projected to add over one million new residents over the next fifty years and nearly approach the population of Salt Lake County by 2065. All of that growth has the potential to dramatically change our quality of life if it is not managed carefully.
I’m a very big fan of the kind of smart development that happens in master-planned communities like Daybreak in South Jordan and @Geneva and Waters Edge in Vineyard. These communities very deliberately think about how to make their neighborhoods walkable while providing plenty of common space where neighbors can get to know each other while having easy access to commercial, retail, restaurants, and public transportation. They do density right. I would love to encourage more of that kind of smart development throughout the rest of the state, particularly in the areas like Lehi that are seeing such explosive growth.
However, I also believe strongly that those types of decisions will work the best when they are made as close to the people as possible. You don’t want the state legislature dictating to local cities what they can and can’t do with new growth. The communities that are being affected need to make the decisions for themselves about how they want to grow.
But the legislature can play a roll in coordinating the efforts between different communities. It can bring together voices from Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs and Draper, that are also experiencing explosive growth, and help them to coordinate their efforts along with state institutions like the Department of Transportation and the Utah Transit Authority to make sure that the needs of all of the communities are being met.
Together we can keep Utah growing while maintaining the quality of life that we love and are known for.