Envision Utah released preliminary results of its Utah Valley Visioning survey this week, and hopes to add as much community input to the results as possible.
The Valley Visioning effort is year-long process to create a shared vision for Utah County’s growth and economy. Valley Visioning leaders at the local government and business level, in addition to Envision Utah, hope to see all Utah County residents come together to create this shared vision.
“So far, 1,500 people have taken the survey — that’s terrific to date, but we’d also love to see that number grow over the next eight weeks,” said Jason Brown, vice president of communications at Envision Utah, in an email.
Ari Bruening, president and chief operating officer of Envision Utah, hopes residents will come to one of eight upcoming Valley Visioning workshops scheduled in January or February across the county. The first will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Pleasant Grove High School. Bruening said the workshops will have child care available and Spanish translation services.
At each workshop, residents will have the opportunity to sit with other residents around maps of the county, and indicate how and where Utah County should develop and grow, and where it should not. Local business leaders and government officials gathered to do this same exercise in November.
According to Envision Utah information, Utah County will add 1 million more people to its population — 85 percent of that from internal growth — by 2065. As many leaders have explained in recent visioning meetings, the community must plan now for places to live, work, learn and play for the valley’s children.
In the initial results from 1,500 responses as of Jan. 2, Bruening said some were surprised that water was cited as a top issue. Respondents placed water management just above transportation improvements as the most important priorities for future growth. Reducing air pollution, improving education and job creation followed. Affordable housing fell in the middle of the priority list, with expanded recreational opportunities as the lowest priority at this point.
“When you think about planning for that much additional growth, it makes sense that water is an important priority,” Bruening said.
Another result of note was that although the majority of respondents (51 percent) want low density single-family homes or suburban neighborhoods, a surprising 40 percent said they would like to live in walkable urban and mixed-use suburban areas.
Envision Utah and the Association of Utah County Chambers do not know if these initial results represent the entire county, and are thus asking residents to chime in, either online or at one of the workshops in January and February. To find out where those workshops will be, visit https://utahvalleyvisioning.org.
Bruening said once the workshops and online input is completed the visioning partners will gather to create three to five proposed scenarios for future county growth. Bruening said they hope to present those scenarios to the public this fall. They will then use further public input to craft a final preferred vision for the valley.