Preserving 'unique little place' on minds of River Heights candidates
By Nancy Heiner
Four newcomers and a council veteran are running for three open positions on the River Heights City Council.
Tim Jeppsen, Mary Yancey, Debbie Rees, Brent Greenhalgh and Noel Cooley are the candidates, and they spoke at a public meeting Oct. 21.
Jeppsen said he grew up in Providence, then moved to Los Angeles. He said living in California gave him a greater appreciation for the Cache Valley.
"It's a unique little place. I would like to maintain that," he said. He spoke of the need for integrity in government and the importance of decisions at the local level. He encouraged aggressive action to annex land around River Heights.
"If we don't get it, Providence and Logan will take it away," he said. "Right now, what do we have to make a deal with? There's no time for warm fuzzies. It's going to be gone."
Jeppsen said land should be bought at a fair price from owners if it is to be preserved for open space.
"Why should somebody give up the comfort of what they've worked for? The landowner should get the best deal. That's what this country's about," he said.
Yancey said she was considering running for council, but "waffled a little bit in the decision and I finally decided I didn't have the time."
Then she went to a Relief Society lesson about doing one's civic duty, and decided she could make the time, especially since her children are grown.
Yancey has lived in River Heights for 33 years. She said the process of getting her area, Riverdale, annexed was "a little time capsule in my civics class. Change and development is inevitable," she said, but "there's nothing that dictates it (the city) has to be big and busy."
Yancey said that one way to provide open space would be to develop some land commercially for the tax base, then buy land with that money.
Rees said she would communicate with citizens when making decisions if she were elected.
"My peers have asked for a listening ear and a reasonable voice," she said. She has lived in River Heights since 1986.
Rees said she has capabilities, drive, and the need to serve. She also said she is a good team worker and a good delegator. "I love to work and I love to serve. I usually have a lot of balls in the air and seem to do all right."
Right now she is involved with organizing a Neighborhood Watch on her street, Windsor. She said starting a business with her husband taught her budgeting and accounting skills.
Greenhalgh raised his family of nine children in River Heights, and is self-employed in the auto business. He served as justice of the peace for four-and-a-half years and is a member of the Lions Club.
"I'm a hard worker. I've always liked challenges and I guess that's why I'm here tonight," he said.
Greenhalgh said that with a large family and a business, he has lots of experience budgeting. "I know how tough it is to make money stretch to all the demands," he said.
Greenhalgh said his concerns were development, taxes and roads.
"I feel like we're being encroached upon on every side," he said. Greenhalgh said development in the last 10 years is because of changes in the economy, with people selling off family farms. "In the last 10 years we've seen more growth in the community than we ever had. The economy's changing. Developers offer some pretty good sums for ground, " he said.
Noel Cooley is running for reelection after serving two four-year terms. Cooley said it was difficult for him to decide to run or not, but "I didn't feel good about being in the position of starting things and leaving them dangling."
Cooley said that when he first moved to River Heights in 1980, he thought it would be better to be part of Logan. After serving on the council, he thinks differently.
"I'm so thankful that we do not belong to such a large entity," he said. "The services are just as good, and the cost is considerably less." He attributes that difference to a frugal and cost-conscious council.
Cooley's main emphasis was on growth, and developing the infrastructure so land could be annexed into River Heights instead of Providence or Logan.
"Development and growth has happened faster than River Heights could handle. I think it took us by surprise," he said.
He said that the sewer system and water storage in River Heights are on the borderline of being inadequate. He has noticed land going to Providence for those very reasons. "We had no sewer, no water for landowners," he said, "and Providence did.
"There are some areas that we can still protect," he said. Cooley said open space can be had two ways. First, it can be bought. Second, the government can work with developers to cluster houses on the lots or include parks in subdivisions.
"It has to work both ways," he said, "to the satisfaction of the developer and the city."
Cooley worked on a committee with the Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization
six years ago. "It became apparent that it (traffic around Logan) was
a horrible mess," he said. He said River Heights should work with other
Cache towns to come to a solution.
Archived Months:September 1998