Sandy City developing first new General Plan in over 40 yearsMar 09, 2023 09:56AM ● By Sarah Morton Taggart
Representatives from the Pace of Progress consultant team were on hand to provide information and answer questions at an open house on Jan. 25. (Photo courtesy Sandy City Community Development)
Sandy City has begun the process to create a new General Plan, something that hasn’t happened since 1979.
There have been partial updates through the years, but it has been more than four decades since Sandy leaders, residents and stakeholders came together to form a comprehensive vision of what they want the seventh largest city in Utah to look like in 20 years.
“Sandy City has done a good job of updating the pieces along the way,” said Jake Warner, the Long Range Planning manager for Sandy. “We’re trying to pull from past planning work that’s been done and also getting input from the public. When we first met with the mayor after she was elected to get her insights, that was her No. 1 thing: hearing from as many of our residents as we can.”
The Planning Commission and Sandy City Council will use the plan, known as Sandy Pace of Progress, as a guide for making zoning, land use and development decisions.
“The General Plan is truly a chance for our residents to have input that will help shape the future of the city,” Warner said. “It will establish policies that then become code amendments and the rules and regulations that future projects will meet.”
The plan will address a variety of topics, including housing, economic development, water preservation, transportation, parks, recreation, open space, sustainability and natural resources. Public perception on many of these topics has changed dramatically since 1980, and the population has nearly doubled.
“There are people who want to move to Sandy from all across the county,” said Mayor Monica Zoltanski in December 2022. “We don’t want to flip the no vacancy sign. A healthy city is a growing city.”
The first major Pace of Progress event took place in January with around 70 residents in attendance. They spoke with consultants and city representatives and added their input to maps and charts.
“We always hope for more people to attend those events, but those that attended really engaged,” Warner said. “We really had some great conversations.”
The general plan process officially began in November 2022 with presentations to small stakeholder groups including the Youth City Council and the Senior Center.
Also in November, the city launched a website: sandypaceofprogress.org. The website includes information about the plan, an events calendar, and two portals where residents can give feedback. The interactive map is currently gathering input on where people like to visit and spend time, what areas make Sandy special, and which areas need improvement. The questions will change over time, so residents are encouraged to revisit the website often.
An “idea wall” on the website encourages an open discussion about Sandy’s future and upcoming challenges. By early February, more than 30 posts had been made, many with multiple comments.
“We’ve had about 1,000 unique visitors to the webpage over the last month,” Warner said. “Even if they don’t have comments, I encourage residents to register their email so they’re getting notices for any upcoming events.”
The next major public meeting will be held on April 11. Consultants will summarize the findings from Phase 1, which includes the early stakeholder meetings, feedback on the Pace of Progress website, and a public survey.
“We’re starting to see some trends and patterns emerge,” Warner said. “The desire to preserve, improve and integrate parks and open space, a desire to integrate multimodal transportation connections, preserve and enhance existing neighborhoods and revitalize aging commercial centers.”
Phase 2, which will begin in April and May, will start to identify priority objectives and values from the community. It will also include planning for 11 small sub-areas: six aging commercial centers and five areas within a half-mile radius of a TRAX stations. Nearby residents will be given two chances to attend public events for each small area starting in the next couple of months.
Altogether, there will be 25 public meetings where residents can give input on some aspect of the General Plan. The process is scheduled to wrap up in summer 2024.
“The process of collaborating is as important, if not more important, than the final product,” Warner said. “We don’t anticipate that it’ll be another 45 years before we do this again.”