When voters in Highland go to the polls Nov. 7 they will be choosing their mayor, City Council members and will likely be choosing the the direction their city will take in the future.

The Reliance Party candidates want to update the city's master plan to allow for organized commercial development. They say the city needs the tax base and can no longer depend on building permits as the main source of city revenue. They also say the city's 12-year-old master plan is outdated and would likely be proven invalid if challenged in court.The Country Living Party, on the other hand, wants to keep Highland just the way it is - without commercial development. They say the current master plan is just fine and commercial development will destroy Highland's uncluttered, rural atmosphere.

It appears that the Country Living Party has the upper hand because their candidate for mayor, James A. Hewlett, is running unopposed. Unless there is a successful write-in candidate, Hewlett will be Highland's mayor for the next four years. Steven P. Draper and Larry G. Rhodes are the Country Living Party's candidates for City Council.

The Reliance Party's candidates for City Council are Ross K. Ford and Norman W. Sammis.


James A. Hewlett served as a Highland city councilman from 1981 to 1984. He has a bachelor's degree in accounting and is financial officer for the Intermountain Power Project. He has lived in Highland since 1979.

City Council

Steven P. Draper graduated from Utah Technical College and has been employed in building construction for more than 20 years. He operates his own construction business. He received the Army Commendation Medal and two Purple Hearts for his service in the Vietnam War. He served for three years on Highland's Planning Commission.

Draper said people live in Highland because they want a rural atmosphere. He said he will strive to protect that atmosphere.

"If elected, I would work to maintain a low tax rate while ensuring a high-quality lifestyle. I know from experience that our special way of life requires involvement by all residents," he said.

Larry G. Rhodes has been a resident of Highland for 15 years. He is on the Highland Planning Commission and is employed as manager of the Provo Job Service Center. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in business management and psychology.

Rhodes said citizens of Highland place a strong emphasis on uncongested living. To keep that style of living Rhodes said the people of Highland need to stay involved in the city's decision-making process.

"I am seeking a council seat not because I am dissatisfied with the city government. Rather, my goal, if elected, will be to diligently support and refine, if necessary, the current city ordinances and master plan, which have to this point created and defined our lifestyle," he said.

Ross K. Ford served on the board of directors of Oak Corp. He operates a custom furniture business. He served in the National Guard for eight years, part of which he served as a unit commander. He and his wife, Jolene, are the parents of three children.

Ford said Highland could face a lawsuit if it continues to only allow home businesses. He said the city's master plan needs to be updated, and followed, so that a limited amount of organized commercial development can take place in Highland. He would also like to see Highland have a pressurized irrigation system.

"We need to make some changes in planning before we're forced into a position to react. We would be better off to plan for it," he said.

Norman W. Sammis served for 20 years in the Marine Corps and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He received a master's degree from the Naval Post-Graduate School. He is the manager of computer support for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his wife, Eileen, have eight children.

Sammis said Highland needs to look for more water sources and review its animal ordinances to make sure they reflect the desires of the citizens. Like Ford, he said Highland's master plan needs to be updated. He thinks the city should allow some types of commercial development.

"There's a way to put controlled commercial development into Highland. We should control our own destiny rather than allowed outsiders to do so," he said.