Leeds, Utah Working To Maintain ‘Mayberry’ Charm Amidst Growth
Like most of the rest of southern Utah, Leeds is growing like a weed.
And while Leeds mayor Bill Hoster is very supportive of landowners and their desire and ability to develop their lands, he also wants to make sure that growth is done responsibly and under control.
"There are a lot of people in Leeds who would've loved to have closed the door behind us," Hoster said during his inaugural appearance on The Andy Griffin Show. "That's just really not an option. A lot of people purchased property and own land in Leeds.
"I was very candid during my campaign -- I am not anti-growth. Growth is inevitable, but as long it's not happening to you, but rather happening with you and you're a part of it and you can help control it, that's much better."
Leeds stands to triple in population over the next decade or so -- a small number considering neighboring Toquerville may be 10 times bigger in that same time frame. But the growth means some growing pangs (or pains).
Leeds will have to go from a septic tank-only town to a sewer system, and more commercial properties will be coming, too.
"We will definitely need more commercial," Hoster said. "We have worked with the developers who own land here and every single one of them has listened and been willing to go along with our city plan. I'm a big proponent of property rights for the developers ... but also their neighbors, who also have property rights. We don't want anything to come in that will negative affect the existing population."
Hoster also mentioned the future plans for a "clover-leaf" on/off ramp to the town that is planned for the not-so-distant future at the north end of the town.
As a former paramedic and EMT, Hoster is very sensitive to the need for prompt and competent emergency services in the area. He is currently the chairman of the Hurricane Valley Fire District.
"The national average for response time is around seven minutes, and we do very well in that area," he said. "Of course, when it's your emergency, it feels like hours."
Hoster, who has a master's degree in business, and his wife have lived in Leeds for nearly four years and have three grown children, one of whom is playing golf at Idaho State University.