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APA Utah News & Events

APAUT Special Achievement Award

September 7, 2022 by Judi Pickell
Policy/Legislative

 

 

Steve Waldrip

Description:

Steve Waldrip is a member of the Utah House of Representatives, representing State House District 8, which is comprised of the Ogden Valley and much of the east bench of Ogden, South Ogden, and Harrisville.  He lives in Eden in the Ogden Valley with his wife and four sons.  He was elected in November 2018, running on a platform of service to the community.  In Steve’s own words, “as the father of four boys, ages 19 to 10, I wanted to create a better place for them to live, grow, and work. They deserve it. I believe that we have a duty to ourselves, our neighbors, and our children to leave them with a community that is better than ours today.”

Steve was born and raised in Orange County, California, in a family of 5 brothers and one sister. His father was a lawyer and state court judge, and his mother was a homemaker who moonlighted as a playwright and theater producer and director.

After high school, he attended Brigham Young University on an academic scholarship that, he says, lasted exactly one semester, “when my idea of college life collided with the reality of professors actually grading work.  I walked on and played JV basketball for BYU.”

After serving an LDS Church mission to Haiti, which he says was a life-altering experience, “I improved my study habits and graduated from BYU with a BA in English. I then betrayed my loyalties and attended law school at the University of Utah.”

Steve received his law degree from the U., then moved to Seattle where he earned an LLM (Masters) in tax law from the University of Washington Law School.  After working for a tax law firm in Spokane for less than a year (“my wife thought this was a pretty lousy return on the 4-year investment of law and tax school, but I had decided at that point that practicing law was not for me”), he returned to Utah and accepted a position with the Boyer Company as a project manager for the Business Depot Ogden (BDO) redevelopment project.  For 13 years he managed marketing, new development and leasing for the BDO project in Ogden.

“BDO was a joint development partnership with Ogden City, and my time there provided me with the opportunity to work with everyone from the Mayor to the public works staff. This interaction and observation exposed me to the processes, strengths and weaknesses of city government.

“Additionally, this provided the opportunity to collaborate with the state, city and county economic development leadership and staff to create and implement economic development plans for the 1100 acre BDO project, as well as consult on other economic development projects.”

In 2013, Steve left the Boyer Company to do independent consulting work, spend more time with his family and spend more time on community and charitable causes. He co-founded a social benefit fund, the Rocky Mountain Homes Fund, dedicated to providing opportunities for home ownership to working-class families in Ogden. He continued to work in independent real estate consulting and development.

He also volunteered for community work.  From 2007 to 2012 he served as a Board Member of the Ogden Nature Center, and as Chair of the Eden Parks Board from 2007-2011.

In 2015, Steve put forward his name and was appointed by the Weber County Commission to the Ogden Valley Township Planning Commission.  The Ogden Valley saw tremendous growth during that time, in which Commissioner Waldrip played a significant role.  During his time on the Commission, he also participated in the review and recommendation of the Ogden Valley Township General Plan update.

In 2018, Steve was asked to consider running for the state legislature.  “When I was approached to run for this office, I laughed out loud and said “[something] no!” But I had decided to dedicate this portion of my life to public service in my community, and the idea worked on me. I thought that maybe I could do the job, and I had always loved policy discussions and creating solutions to problems, so I thought this might work out.”  He was elected in November, and participated in his first legislative session in January 2019.

In part because of his background in growth and development, and in part due to his role on the Ogden Valley Planning Commission, Rep. Waldrip became more and more involved in land use issues.  In 2019, considerable controversy arose regarding annexations and incorporations in several locations around the state, including in Weber County.  Steve became involved in legislative efforts to address these issues.  In the 2020 regular session and in the 3rd special session, he sponsored bills on the annexation/incorporation topics.  He did so again in the 2021 general session, helping to fix some of the poor language and inconsistent procedures embodied in the state codes.  In discussions with the Land Use Task Force, Rep. Waldrip expressed an understanding and willingness to consider recodification of the entire annexation code, but political realities and competing priorities prevented such an effort from moving forward.

With his experience in development and land use planning, Rep. Waldrip soon gained the confidence of those working on land use issues to carry important land use bills, including the annual land use task force bill and bills addressing the increasingly important housing affordability issue.  Steve exhibited a keen interest and understanding of growth and land use issues, often doing research by himself and with others on pending topics of current relevance, such as inclusionary zoning and housing regional fair share concepts.

In 2021, Rep. Waldrip was appointed to serve as one of the House representatives on the Commission for Housing Affordability, where he was promptly elected to serve as one of the co-chairs.  During the 2021 legislative session, he was the primary sponsor of HB409 – Municipal and County Land Use Revisions (land use task force bill), and was the House floor sponsor of SB164 – Utah Housing Affordability Amendments, the landmark bill that made many changes to community planning requirements for moderate-income housing and enabled Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to be permitted in most residential areas in the state’s larger communities.

During all this time, Steve continued to serve as an Ogden Valley Planning Commissioner.  He finally stepped down from that role in June 2021.

Rep. Waldrip has been a featured speaker at various meetings and conferences, talking about housing affordability, growth, and land use issues.  He spoke at the 2021 APA Utah fall conference, as well as at League of Cities and Towns conferences and at land use seminars hosted by Salt Lake County.  One well-respected senior planner said, after hearing him speak, “I felt he was the voice of reason.”

In the 2022 state legislative session, Rep. Waldrip continued his significant work on land use and housing issues, sponsoring HB462 – Utah Housing Affordability Amendments, which made a number of important changes such as the requirements and reporting for Moderate Income Housing Plans, and spending considerable time and effort on the creation of the provisions requiring communities with transit stations to prepare and adopt station area plans.  He also sponsored HB474 – Land Use Development and Management Revisions, that year’s significant land use task force bill.  Because of his legislative workload with the housing and other bills, that bill was eventually passed off to another legislator for shepherding through the legislative process, but it was crafted mostly with Steve’s guidance.

Rep. Waldrip was well on his way to becoming the land use “guru” in the state legislature, respected by all sides for his thoughtful and inclusive approach to major land use issues.  To everyone’s surprise, in April 2022, Steve announced that he would not be seeking re-election to his House seat.  Characteristically, his rationale was to allow for more time to work on more personal passions in housing.  He said,

“I am leaving the race because I have a unique opportunity over the next few years to make a significant impact in housing availability and affordability with the social benefit investment fund I co-founded. The Rocky Mountain Homes Fund addresses a huge need in our state and will require all of my time and attention to manage and direct the current and projected growth.

I believe this is where I can have the greatest impact for the good of our community right now.”

However, before he leaves at the end of this year, Rep. Waldrip will continue to serve in the legislature, co-chairing the Commission on Housing Affordability (now a subcommittee of the Unified Economic Opportunity Commission, reporting directly to the Governor, House Speaker and Senate President) and on other legislative committees.

For his many contributions to the recent recrafting of land use processes and housing policies in the State of Utah, Rep. Steve Waldrip is well deserving of this award.

 

 

Rob Scott, AICP

Rob led Utah APA during its’ formative years, as Secretary, VP, & President. He was the visionary PD in Sandy, Ogden, Weber County, and North Ogden

 

As a fledgling planner, trained at the “U” and BYU. Rob worked Morris Johnson to foster the transition of the local AIP/ASPO organizations into a bonified Chapter of the American Planning Association. He became progressively more involved, moving from Chapter Secretary to Chapter President in 1984, when he was instrumental in obtaining the “Most Improved Chapter” award from National APA. His career in planning advanced simultaneously as he went from Davis County to Planning Director in Sandy, then Ogden, then Medford Oregon, then Weber County and finally to North Ogden where he served as their director for 7 years.

Davis County is where Rob learned the practical side of planning. Davis County “farmed” him out to three communities as their planner – Layton City, East Layton City, and West Bountiful City, where he gained expertise on a variety of issues.

He was hired by Sandy City in 1978 and oversaw a visionary Comprehensive plan that set a direction for the community.

Ogden City asked him to help make a transition away from County planning to create their own department. He filled the department with many well-known planners and instituted a system of Community Plans that became the foundation of the City’s General Plan in 1999. In addition, he promoted many revitalization efforts, historic districts, with an emphasis on the downtown and neighborhoods.

Rob spent 8 years in Medford Oregon as their planning director.

Returning to Utah as the Weber County Planning Director in 2009, he provided leadership in updating the Zoning Ordinance, improving customer service, the Snowbasin Master Plan, Countywide Trails Plan, and organized training for County planners throughout the State.

Rob completed his career as planning director for North Ogden City and was responsible for a major General Plan update and the overhaul of the City Ordinances.

Commitment 

Rob has had a long career in planning with many contributions to the communities he worked in and to the profession as a whole.

He has been instrumental in creating and managing visionary General Plans that have provided direction for five communities and County planning districts. He has helped organize and reorganize planning departments to address problems and staffing needs/functions. Rob says “My most significant accomplishment has been the privilege to work as a land use planner for over 45 years, to grow personally, to take what I have learned and share it with the staff I worked with, and to institute it within the communities I have worked in.”

To share that knowledge and demonstrate that commitment, Rob has consistently worked to help educate planners via our Chapter and the County planners association. A frequent speaker at conferences, and willing to hold various leadership positions, including: Chapter Secretary, Vice President, President, Past President and committee memberships in the Professional Development and Co-chair of the Programs Committee.

This was not just a terrific professional career but a career of giving back to the profession he has supported and loved.

Leadership 

Having quickly advanced to the planning director positions in most of the communities he worked in, his leadership and mentoring abilities were put to task early in his career. By fostering visionary plans he moved his communities in a positive direction.

Just as important, he helped the planners that worked with him (not just “for” him) to consider ways to approach problems that were non-confrontational, educational, and solutions oriented. As he worked with legendary planners such as Pat Comarell, George Shaw, Greg Montgomery, Paul Glauser, Joe Moore, and Fred Aegerter, the mentoring went both ways! He worked with progressive educators and City managers like Robert Huefner, Cowles Mallory, and Jon Call.

He budgeted funds for staff and planning commissioner training to national and local conferences along with APA membership for Planning Commissioners.

His mentoring was not limited to his work associates. He consistently tried to share his knowledge at conferences – sharing the innovative planning his teams were accomplishing. He volunteered time with Utah APA to move the profession forward. Utah APA received the “Most Improved Chapter Award” under his leadership in 1985.

Effectiveness 

Effective planners complete and implement plans. Rob’s list of completed plans is extensive:

Comprehensive plans for Layton, East Layton, and West Bountiful City

Davis County Mountain and Bench Land Study and implementing Hillside Ordinance

Comprehensive Plan for Sandy City and ordinance updates

Neighborhood and Community Plans leading to the Ogden City General Plan including Code updates, redevelopment projects, the Neighborhood Task Force. Implemented Historic Districts and the 25th Street revitalization program. Emphasized the Downtown and Neighborhoods with project inclusion in the City budget. Established a one stop processing system.

Participated in regional problem solving in the Medford Oregon area; became a voting member of the plan created to identify future growth areas for the urban growth boundary. He refined and implemented the Southeast Neighborhood Plan.

Championed the Weber County Code update. Collaborated with Snowbasin Resort Master Plan including a new Destination and Resort Code, APA award of merit!  Agri-tourism code/program received an APA award also. Created a County wide trails plan that included all 15 cities; formed the Weber County Trails Committee and implemented a new processing/tracking system, APA award.

Oversaw an update to the North Ogden General Plan and the City Code update to implement the Plan.

Innovative/Creative 

Rob has been very good at organizing his teams, especially when they were not organized or not moving in any particular direction. A good example of his creative leadership is while President of Utah APA he oversaw a chapter plan, defined chapter positions, framed the awards program, and received the “Most Improved Chapter Award” from National APA.

In Medford, Rob was asked to be the staff representative for the Regional Problem Solving project. This was a countywide initiative to identify lands for inclusion within proposed urban growth boundaries (UGB). Rob initially attended the Steering Committee meetings, but as the project continued, Rob was asked to be a voting member of the Regional Problem Solving Steering Committee, because of his creative problem solving ideas. The Regional Problem Solving Plan was adopted in 2013.

At Weber County, one of his accomplishments was to improve customer service. He added FAQs to their web site, created ways to provide feedback, refined report formats for the County Commission and Planning Commissions to promote better decision-making, and developed a customer service strategy. To help implement the customer service enhancements, an application tracking system became a part of application processing.

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