The following article was submitted to the Wasatch Wave and appeared in the Sept. 27th 2017 issue. We hope it is read as a respectful “rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say. We realize there are many different perspectives and our intention is to wholeheartedly participate in the discussion as we all work through it constructively. Thank you.
THE TIME TO PRESERVE MIDWAY IS NOW
By: Katie Noble
The Iroquois make decisions based on whether they benefit their children seven generations into the future. We should use that principle in planning for Midway’s future.
In September, 2016, we founded Pure Midway as a 501c3 nonprofit to work with landowners, citizens and the city to preserve the rural character of Midway. Our goal has been to engage the public and the city in discussions about thoughtful city planning, historic preservation and options for preserving agricultural land and open space.
Our primary objective this year was to get an open space bond for Midway on the November 7, 2017 ballot. We believed it was urgent to get a bond on the ballot because landowners are feeling pressure to sell in this strong real estate market. We wanted landowners to have options if they wanted to preserve all or part of their land but still get market value for it. We wanted citizens to have the opportunity to vote on this issue before it was too late.
Pure Midway initially raised the idea with the public and city at an open house we hosted in November, 2016. Over the last year, we have met with city officials, attended city meetings, and hosted multiple town meetings to discuss the bond. A year and a half ago, the city asked residents to participate in a survey for the General Plan. In that survey, 82% of the 483 respondants indicated they were in favor of preserving open space through bonding. A year later, Pure Midway commissioned an unbiased survey and almost all of the 450 respondents were in favor of voting on an open space bond this November. This summer approximately 359 people signed a petition in favor of putting the open space bond on the ballot this year.
Despite clear public support for a vote this year, Midway City Council voted against putting the open space bond on November’s ballot. They wanted to convene a study committee to define open space and identify it. Those are questions we have answered through our work with Midway citizens and the city. In our town meetings in which Mayor Bonner, City Council Members, the Planner and the Recorder participated, people agreed that open space should be defined as contiguous agricultural acreage in prime view corridors that is critical to preserving Midway’s rural heritage. As for identifying exact properties to preserve, those should not be publicly identified prior to purchase because doing so increases the price.
In this market where land is rapidly being developed, the citizens of Midway wanted to move quickly. They were relying on their elected officials to use the months of September and October to educate the public about the open space bond. The failure to put this issue on the ballot this November prevented citizens from voting on it this year.
Midway’s future is now – we can either squander the opportunity to preserve it by delaying or we can act decisively, courageously and quickly to make decisions that will benefit Midway’s next seven generations.