MWeeksUtah@gmail.com
 
Questions & Answers
Since I started running for Draper city mayor, I've had to answer many questions about the city. It's my intention over the next month to share with you these questions and my simplified responses. For the sake of your time, these answers will be short, but pithy.

1. Why is Draper building so much multi-residential housing?

I am not sure why there is so much multi-residential housing. I am told it's because our population is growing and there is not enough affordable housing, but when I look at the cost of townhouses and apartments in Draper, they are expensive! Even though there is more zoning changes for it, it does not alleviate our affordable housing deficits. For instance, 7.9% of Draper city rental properties are currently vacant. While vacancy rates for rentals in both Salt Lake County and the state of Utah range from 4.7% - 5.3%. I do not believe we need to continue building at this rate. Draper does not need to accommodate young people as much because a great majority of them move downtown for urban living.

2. Why does the City Council approve developments that are not consistent with what the residents want?

Development agreements seem to get approved quite easily and most of the time they are high-density. It is happening at an alarming rate. These developments are often outside of our codes and we need to stop them from continuing. I am very concerned about the new Draper General Plan that the Planning Commission, mayor and City Council are looking to approve, especially pages 106 and 107:

  • Low-density redefined as 1/3 to 1 acre.
  • Medium-density redefined as 3-6 units per acre.
  • Medium to high redefined as 7-12 and high-density redefined as 13+ units per acre.
This new proposal for the General Plan has significantly increased high-density housing acreage and when I look at the map on page 107 there is no low-density housing included. The category is not even included on the ledger.

3. Do property taxes generate more revenue?

With the recent population explosion, it has put a huge strain on our roads, water, schools, police and fire departments. Property taxes do help alleviate a small portion of these expenditures.

However, as our population continues to grow in Draper, goods and services purchased from local businesses are much more lucrative for generating tax revenue. Commercial property is taxed at 100% of its value, while primary residential properties are taxed at 55% of their value. For example, retail establishments like IKEA provide approximately 1/3 of the city’s revenue, much of which is paid by non-residents.

4. Do we need students' educational dollars in our schools?

Our schools are full. My son is attending CCHS and the current enrollment is 2,550! There are 40 kids in his science class. This class size is one of the largest, not only in America, but in the world.

5. Do we need more people to pay for our fire department?

The city’s greatest expense is our police and fire departments. It makes up 33% of our budget. I believe we do not have enough officers at night and our police department is running very lean. With a greater population in our city, it puts more demand on both departments, and the city receives a majority of its revenue from sales taxes from our businesses, NOT from property taxes.

6. Why not propose a general election vote on multi-residential housing and residential lot sizes?

Please get a copy of the General Plan and look it over. Then write to the mayor and City Council members. If this is adopted, the developers can say that their high-density plans are in compliance with the General Plan and it would be very difficult to refuse them. The General Plan in going in front of the Planning Commission and then the City Council very soon, which would mean 22,000 more units added to Draper in the next 20 years. That will more than double the amount of units we have now; 4,000 more townhouses, 7,000 more multifamily units/apartments and 11,000 single family homes. Where exactly are these supposed to go? We are out of road space and the general plan falls far short of addressing these concerns.

7. What can a resident do to stop this excessive growth?

Vote for people who reflect your views. Get your neighbors to vote in this year’s general election by November 7th. Run for office or apply for the Planning Commission. Donate to candidates who support your views. But VOTE, VOTE VOTE! Get everyone you know to VOTE for a candidate who cares about our quality of life here in Draper. Ballots go out October 16th and can be postmarked no later than November 6th. You can also vote at Draper City Hall or South Mountain Community Church on November 7th.