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Utah Business Magazine Article by Council Member Sandy Hunter


Utah Business Magazine published a great letter in the July issue from Sandy Hunter, Huntsville Town Council. https://www.utahbusiness.com/category/featured/
Huntsville, with a population of only 645, is in the Ogden Valley just 15 miles east of Ogden and less than an hour from Salt Lake City International Airport. Huntsville is surrounded by three ski resorts: Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Nordic Valley. Snowbasin is a world-class ski resort that hosted ski events, including the downhill, in the 2002 Winter Olympics and has the most elegant lodges, efficient gondolas and lifts, and varied terrain that can be found anywhere. Powder Mountain has close to 8,000 acres of skiable terrain and gets as much snowfall (500+ inches) in most years as powder legends Alta and Snowbird, and Nordic Valley is a small but terrific family resort.
The residents of Huntsville consider their town to be a true paradise—and so do developers. Just recently, Huntsville was listed as one of the highest-priced real estate markets in Utah. There are many developers who would love to advertise Huntsville as the place to build your luxury vacation home.
Huntsville residents enjoy their lifestyle, which is one of low population density and outdoor-influenced, mountain country living conducive to raising families and a positive community spirit. Residents realize that growth is taking place all through Ogden Valley, including in their town. They welcome the diversity that new residents offer the town. At the same time, they are desirous of maintaining their high-quality lifestyle by managing and shaping future growth through ordinances via restrictions on fast-food restaurants and convenience stores, only allowing one family on one lot, and no overnight rentals like VRBOs and Airbnbs.
Currently, about 15 percent of the homes in town are vacation homes. When the percentage of vacation homes equals or exceeds the percentage of primary homes, it changes the character of the town. The town loses its community, and community is what Huntsville wants to keep.
Huntsville is currently developing more commercial areas in its town square, which includes the small Compass Rose Lodge with its own observatory, the Shooting Star Saloon (the oldest continuously running bar in Utah), Lovin Cup Café, i.d.k. Barbeque, a library, a gorgeous park, and a winter ice skating rink. Huntsville is looking to add more commercial establishments like a pizza restaurant or other eating establishments, a hair and nail salon, etc. A community meeting was held with the commercial developers for residents’ input on what type of commercial business they would like to see in their town square. It is important the new commercial development matches the architecture of the town center and is conducive for people to gather.
Huntsville poses a challenge for entrepreneurs and business owners due to the extreme fluctuations from the summer season to winter. Huntsville is the gateway to most of the summer recreation on Pineview Reservoir. Thousands drive through Huntsville to gain access to Pineview. But in the winter, there are very few visitors and businesses that rely on residents.
Huntsville enjoys its spacious mountain vistas and the atmosphere of a quiet village with a connected community and welcomes new residents who want this same lifestyle. Huntsville does not want to be known as the best ski town for real estate investment. This leads to more vacation homes and short-term rentals and changes the lifestyle that Huntsville residents enjoy. Marketing this “lifestyle” to those who just want a vacation home could destroy our community.
We want to attract residents who wish to make Huntsville their home, and we want to attract businesses that would fit our lifestyle and be sustainable through quiet winters.
Utah Business Magazine - July 2022 Issue - Read it Online
Utah Business Magazine - July 2022 Issue - Read it Online
The Utah Business - July 2022 features the 2022 Innovation Awards and looks into how rural Utah towns are doing economically and more.