Preston City Council plans for population growth

Voters approved a bond to put an addition on to the Franklin County Courthouse. The courthouse is located at 39 West Oneida in Preston.

PRESTON – Idaho is growing and Preston City Mayor Dan Keller and the city council are actively planning for growth and the future of their community.

First term Preston Mayor Dan Keller has his city council looking at growth issues.

In the Feb. 8 City Council meeting Councilman Brent Dodge, tasked with they city’s economic development and city comprehensive planning, presented the opening comments.

He quoted part of a recent Cache Valley Daily article about Idaho being the number one choice for people to move to.

“As of today, we have nine homes for sale in the county,” he said. “Four of those are $875,000 and above.”

Dodge said there is a housing shortage in the county, especially affordable homes and there is an uptick of manufacturing jobs with the sale of the plastics plant and a new company coming to the facility.

Nobody likes change. We don’t have a gate to the city; we can’t just close,” he said. “When we are acted upon, we must act.”

He said they are going to be proactive.

Dodge worked with Shawn Oliverson, the city’s economic development specialist, and came up with a three-phase plan to help manage the expected growth.

The mayor and the city council went along with the plan.

First, the city has approved and directed Keller and Associates Engineering to do a drinking water facility study.

Next, the city is forming a citizens group to work with the staff at Keller and Associates Engineering to do a transportation study that will protect the citizens of Preston, he said. The study will make sure the citizens use the roads safely and know what the needs are for the next five to 10 years.

And the third part of the plan is giving the seven-member Planning and Zoning Commission the responsibility of working on a comprehensive plan for growth. Their focus will include community design, housing, transportation, and other growth issues.

These steps will help the city plan for the projected growth.

Penny Wright was reappointed to another six-year term to head up the Planning and Zoning commission

The city approved two parcels, a total of 20 acres, for residential housing. There was no one that objected to the zoning changes.

John Balls, Preston City’s public works director, and Tyrell Simpson, the city engineer, will be meeting with developers as they begin working in the city to make sure they know the city’s expectations.

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