West Haven council hopefuls put focus on growth, community involvement, frugality
WEST HAVEN — Four hopefuls are running for the two seats coming open on the West Haven City Council.
With neither incumbent seeking reelection, two new members will be joining the body, leading to a complete turnover of the five-member City Council since 2019. The three other council members whose posts aren’t up for election this cycle first won election in 2019, taking office in 2020.
The four hopefuls this time around are Clarence Kelley, Ryan Swapp, Ryan Saunders and David Smith. The top two vote-getters after voting ends on Nov. 2 will take over from sitting council members Rob Vanderwood, who’s challenging incumbent Sharon Bolos in the West Haven mayoral race, and Randy Hunter, who’s not running again.
Here’s a look at the four hopefuls:
Clarence Kelley: Kelley, an aerospace engineer for Lockheed Martin, touts his ability to listen in his campaign materials.
“One of my greatest attributes is my ability to listen to and understand both sides before passing judgement and making decisions. I believe in bridging gaps and building people up,” he said.
He also cites his work ethic and frugality, noting that he has steered clear of personal debt in his life. “We should avoid debt and spend within our means. Our spending should be focused on the things that matter most and improve our community for the future of our children,” he said.
Growth in West Haven, the fastest-growing city in Weber County from 2010 to 2020, has been a controversial issue in the city. Kelley alluded to it in his materials, but didn’t offer specifics on dealing with it.
“Growth is a good thing if handled correctly. Growth provides homes for our children and grandchildren if they desire to live in West Haven,” his campaign website reads. “Clarence believes if we are good neighbors, communicate well, and work together we can solve the growth issues of West Haven.”
Ryan Swapp: Growth tops the list of issues in campaign materials prepared by Swapp, who heads the plumbing and mechanical division of BML Services, a plumbing and electrical contractor in Ogden. Specifically, he cautions against too much high-density housing, which typically takes the form of apartment buildings and townhomes.
“Let’s stop high-density housing in the heart of our beautiful city,” he says.
He notes moves by the existing City Council members to change zoning rules to address the issue, saying he’d keep on with their efforts. “I want to continue this direction and at the same time encourage landowners and developers to move forward with less density,” he said.
He also calls for moves to keep sight of West Haven’s rural roots. “We need to get creative on how to preserve the way of life that created our city and still embrace all the new families building in our city,” he said.
With growth, he cautions that city officials need to prepare for a potential increase in the cost of law enforcement protection. The Weber County Sheriff’s Office currently provides coverage in West Haven. “There are large increases coming to the city for this coverage and we need to plan and have a budget ready for it,” he says in his campaign materials.
Swapp also notes his service as a horizontal engineer in the Utah Army National Guard and with the Utah Urban Search and Rescue Task Force.
Ryan Saunders: Saunders cites his long-standing ties to West Haven as a 47-year resident in a campaign statement on the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s election website, where candidates may post information about themselves.
“Suffice it to say I am invested in West Haven. I have been involved in West Haven community service projects since I was a young man, erecting light poles for my Eagle Scout project at the old Kanesville park,” he said.
He’s been interested in government since a youth and noted his efforts to help former Utah Rep. Nolan Karras when he ran for governor, among other things.
David Smith: Smith said his goals as a member of the City Council would be attracting more businesses, augmenting public safety and expanding public transit.
He noted his community and volunteer involvement in a statement on the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s election website. He’s served on the Weber Mosquito Abatement District and attends West Haven city meetings.
“I regularly attend both the planning commission and the City Council meetings to stay informed on current city events. This allows me to keep myself and neighbors informed of upcoming developments and changes occurring within the city,” he said.
More generally, he alluded to his personal attributes. “Hard work, organization and the ability to adapt are tools that I have used while volunteering my time and resources. I will utilize these same skill sets as your next City Council member,” he said.