October 12, 2022
Mayor Kaufusi and Council Members,
As you know, our group and many other citizens have been concerned about losing open space in the Provo foothills for some time now. We are grateful for your efforts to work with us to save precious open space in Provo for now and future generations. There’s a life lesson we live by: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. This holds especially true when regarding development in the foothills. We are not against all development but want to be sure that the development decisions made today create the best version of Provo for the future.
We are grateful that the recent adoption of the Critical Hillside Overlay Zone added another layer of protection for the foothills beyond the Sensitive Lands provisions which have been in place in Provo for many years.
We know you are aware of several infractions that have already occurred in various areas of the foothills and on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Thankfully, there are many residents who are now watch dogs for problems that arise but there are other areas in Provo where harmful incidents might occur without someone catching them before damage is done. We hope to prevent such damage and would love to brainstorm on ideas for doing so.
Below are a set of questions we’re seeking answers to from you related to protection of the foothills, enforcement of zoning codes, and the processes needed if codes or provisions are violated:
1. If a developer or citizen causes environmental damage to areas that are protected,
a) what is in place to stop the work being done to cause the damage?
b) what are the consequences or penalties for the developer or citizen?
2. What processes are in place to assure developers or citizens follow the rules?
3. Who delivers the penalties to the developer or citizen and monitors the follow through?
4. What is the timeline for a developer or citizen to repair damage they caused?
5. How is a damaged area monitored by Provo City for repairs and/or future damage?
6. Is there a disconnect between the administration of the ordinances and the city offices who would enforce them?
We look forward to your response and welcome a collaborative dialogue in solving for areas where protection for the foothills is still inadequate.
We also ask that you consider adding stipulations to developer applications that prevent those developers who have previously been in violation of code and provisions to meet more stringent guidelines. Examples being used in other cities inspired the following recommendation for applications:
“Under perjury or penalty of law, have you (developer) violated any rules, laws, ordinances in [city] in the past three years?”
If they have, wording in the agreement details the denial of the privilege to develop in the city for 3 years (or another timeframe). This would serve as a great deterrent for causing negative environmental land (air, water …) issues.
Developers (and citizens, in some cases) should not be allowed to continually ask for forgiveness instead of permission.
Thank you for your collaboration on this important issue. We look forward to receiving answers to the above questions. We welcome a conversation (Zoom or in person) for further understanding and collaboration. If we haven’t received a response from you by Tuesday, October 25th, we’ll proactively reach out to schedule the next conversation.
Conserve Utah Valley
Craig and Susan Christensen