Planning for transit-oriented developments a City priority
A “Tale of Two Cities,” was how Christie Hutchings and Mike West, Lehi City planners, introduced a power point presentation to the Lehi City Council about the importance of a proactive approach to planning for TODs in Lehi. A “TOD” is a transit-oriented, typically high density, development. A comparison was made between existing transit-oriented developments in Bellevue, Washington and Milpitas, California.
The presentation highlighted the differences between the two out of state developments. Much advance planning was involved in the Bellevue development, and no apparent planning took place in the San Jose/Milpitas area. Hutchings mentioned that although the development in California was only 25 years old, they are already starting redevelopment in some areas.
“We are doing this for the first time,” stated Kim Struthers, Lehi Planning Department head. “We know the benefits of a walkable, transit-supportive development.”
Hutchings said there are 3D’s of mixed-use/TOD development, diversity (mix of uses), density (transit supportive), and design (quality of safety). “There are benefits of mixing compatible uses and benefits of density. I live in Daybreak. My neighborhood is diverse and I love it.”
Lehi Planners suggested that with the beginning of a new master plan for the city, we have an opportunity to create an area, “where people are connected with pedestrian walkways, residential and commercial development, parks, schools, green space and mass transit.”
Finance director, Dean Lundell, also gave a presentation to the Council updating them on an overview of finances. “Even though we have seen a lot of revenue growth, we have budgeted for about a 5% increase. This is on the conservative side,” explained Lundell. “Property taxes have seen slower growth because rates have gone done.”
“We have a negative balance in our capital fund because of the land purchase for parks. We haven’t collected enough to pay for the land purchase,” continued Lundell.
Councilmember Condie asked how much was in cash reserve. “Why do we have a reserve in the first place?” Condie asked. Lundell explained we need money for infrastructure disasters and volatility in revenue. Lorin Powell, Lehi head engineer, said steel and concrete prices are up 20%.
Wade Allred, Lehi City Streets Department head, updated the Council on several projects. “I may need a hug after all these projects are completed,” he joked.
Kathy McQuinn, an intern working with the Literacy Center, is in the process of evaluating the Literacy Center’s impact on the community.