Unlike most other Davis County cities, the population growth rate here has been very inconsistent.

"It's been so volatile," City Manager Richard Marchant said. "It's isolated to this city."He said the city averaged 30 to 40 new homes a year from 1992-95. Then about a year ago, that dropped to zero - no new homes.

"It may take off again," Marchant said, adding that as many as 80 new homes could be built in the city this year.

One reason for the current slow growth in Fruit Heights is that steep land in the city will cost more to develop.

In fact, Marchant said new east-side homes won't be a reality until the city has a new water tank higher on the hillside to provide adequate water pressure there.

The water tank could cost at least $500,000. Marchant said it is in the city's five-year capital facilities plan.

City planner Jeff Oyler estimates the current population of Fruit Heights is 5,000. That's up 22 percent from the 1990 census.

He said the city is estimated to reach "build-out" population at 8,000 in the year 2007.

Marchant agrees the city's population could be charted like a roller coaster ride. But he says the city is adequately handling its growth rate, no matter what surge may come.

Although the city's lone well is being used to its maximum capacity, Marchant said the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District has ample culinary water available to supply the city's potential 3,000 additional residents.

Marchant said the city is almost out of land that is easy to develop. With the exception of two long-held family parcels, all that's left is hillside land.

One new project coming to the city in the next one to two years is a new public works building. Marchant said the current public works building is on the northeast side of Nicholls Park and lacks storage space.

Marchant believes the city will never have much commercial development.

"We're not a city to push for that," he said.

Some past city leaders have nudged the city toward commercial growth a little, but public sentiment has always been against it.

Marchant said most residents would rather pay a little more in property taxes than have the commercial development surrounding cities do.

He said Fruit Heights has such limited space that proper buffering between commercial and residential areas is simply not available.

Fruit Heights is the second-smallest Davis County city in total land. Only Sunset is smaller.

Regarding its park space, Marchant said the city is in fine shape with a major facility, Nicholls Park, plus several smaller parks.

He predicts the city will add one or two smaller parks in the future to serve additional residents.

Fruit Heights contracts with the Davis County Sheriff's Office for police protection and with Kaysville for fire protection.

The City Council reviews those two outside contracts annually, but so far it's considered more economical that way.

"We're simply not large enough," Marchant said, to have a Fruit Heights police force and fire department.

A new City Hall was built a few years ago, and with unused basement space, that building is expected to serve Fruit Heights well into the future.



Fruit Heights population

1970 800

1980 2,728

1990 3,900

1998 5,000