Mayor Everett Dahl sits in a cafe on historic Main Street and pooh-poohs growth.
Let Sandy and West Jordan grow till they choke, Dahl said in between bites of a sandwich. "No," he said to suburban sprawl."We don't have to put in waterlines or roads. They're already there. We'll never have another subdivision" in a town where the last house built was six years ago, Dahl said.
"We're a highly industrialized commercial community" and eager to attract more tax-producing entities such as businesses, restaurants and light manufacturing plants.
Population in the community of 12,000 has been pretty stable over the past decade. "We want to be better. We just don't want to be bigger," City Engineer Skip Criner said.
While many communities in Salt Lake County have experienced phenomenal growth, Midvale's population has leveled off. Down the road a few miles and weeks, Draper Mayor Charles Hoffman sits sipping coffee with a dash of Tabasco sauce and echoes the same sentiments.
"We're growing real slow. We don't want to grow real fast," said Hoffman, who heads the 11-year-old city of about 6,000.
Three small subdivisions are in various stages of development in Draper, where Hoffman boasts there are more horses than people.
"This is what we like," said the mayor, a retired long-haul trucker and ex-Marine, as he points to horses, sheep and cows in corrals, stalls and yards. "Things that you can have here you can't have elsewhere."
A tour of Draper is a tour of livestock and open spaces, past houses with barns and yards with various pieces and parts of machinery. "He collects everything from hell to breakfast," said Hoffman of one resident, adding, "I know everybody in town."
The city incorporated to prevent being gobbled up "ounce by ounce" by Sandy, he said.
"This is the last of the most undeveloped part of Salt Lake County" where horses can be rented for $7 an hour and taken on trails along the Traverse Mountains and up to Lone Peak.
He ventures over to Sandy for a cup of the best vegetable soup from here to Louisville, Ky., and a chat on Draper's future.
"We need commercial business, and we have a good location," said Hoffman, who points in either direction to Provo and Salt Lake City. "We would like to have and need to have commercial business."
But, like Dahl, Hoffman pooh-poohs housing developments.
"We didn't want houses, sidewalks (and) curb and gutters. We're not interested in it," said Hoffman, looking with distaste at rows of look-a-like plat housing in Sandy.
"These wall-to-wall cities and houses. . . . We like a rural atmosphere, a more relaxed atmosphere," he said, adding, "You never seen two houses alike here, did you? We don't want such a thing."