By Myrna Trauntvein
Nephi City Council wanted to know why the city planning commission had elected to recommend moving a request for a residential annexation that would be an island for an addition to the annexation boundary map and the planning commission director and president attended council meeting to explain.
Since the question was tabled at the last council meeting, council members decided to leave it that way while they met in a work session with the Juab County Commission and the Juab Planning Commission.
“This is not easy,” said Nathan Memmott, council member. “I would like to meet with the county. I think we need a few more ducks in a row.”
He said that the state legislature may change the law that now allowed island annexations into nearby cities and he would like to see if that would happen.
When it came time to decide whether to move forward and allow the change to the annexation map or leave the item tabled, Skip Worwood and Larry Ostler, council members, thought allowing the change would be good, Memmott and Kent Jones, council members, did not.
Justin Seely, was quarantined with COVID-19, and Glade Nielson, mayor, said he thought discussing plans with the county would be a good idea,
The thing that scared him, he said, was how did the city quantify the growth. The engineers always warned that there was wet water and paper water. Discussion plowed and seeded the ground.
Karl Brough, planning commission president, and Glenn Greenhalgh, planning director, attended council meeting to discuss the reasoning behind that decision.
“You hear enough from me so I invited Karl to come to meeting, since he knows as much about planning as anyone, and explain,” said Greenhalgh.
Kent Heap, also on the planning commission, Heath Hanson and Jim McWilliams, property owners, and Kyle Marchant, city public works director, also attended.
The property in question is located along 800 South and Airport Road and along Highway 132 West.
“It is up to the council to decide the ups and downs of a proposed project,” said Brough. “It is the council’s job to identify and quantify all resources.”
The state legislature is allowing island annexations as of the last legislative session. And it may be better to annex those islands because they would then follow the guidelines of the city rather than remaining an island that the city grows around but, because the island did not follow city plans, it would be too expensive to adapt after construction.
Just because a property is allowed to be on the annexation boundary map at a Level 3, doesn’t mean that it will be annexed. It just means that further study will need to take place, he said.
“It is up to the city council to identify the issues,” said Brough.
“I like what you say,” said Skip Worwood, council member. “There are a lot of issues to weigh.”
The next surge in the population coming southbound from Utah County was coming this way, Brough said.
The city was used to seeing a couple of hundred people moving in but they would see much more than that and the city needed to be prepared.
Property rates would continue to increase if there was not area to build.
Now was the time to consider what was wanted prior to the city general plan being renewed, said Brough.
Approving the property for a subdivision would be a multi-step process, said Greenhalgh.
Ostler pointed out that there was not a transportation plan for either the west side nor the south side of the city. Only the north area had a transportation plan.
“Eventually, we are going to grow that way,” he said. “If is annexed, the streets and utilities will have to meet our code. Otherwise, we will have to go around them. I favor option B.”
Option B) Include annexation area requests into the annexation area boundary. This means that the properties could be studied and moved through the levels or stay within a level based on the merits of each development.
A) Allow growth to only occur in areas inside of the current boundaries of the Annexation Area Map.
Worwood said he also favored Option B.
“I have been pouring over the report that Seth [Atkinson, city administrator] has prepared,” said Worwood. “We need to drive the ship. I lean toward plan B. That doesn’t mean we need to go beyond that.”
He favored the recommendation made by the planning commission.
“The city has done an excellent job of bringing the city into the 21st Century,” said Brough.
Jones said that he didn’t like the idea of the annexation.
He had a concern about water noting that Mills Valley and Nortonville used to be green and now they were dry. The more straws were put into the aquifer the more the water table would drop. Government could take every drop of water.
When a community started stacking people, he said, they ran into problems with law enforcement needs. They city was already looking at hiring another officer.
“Obesity is not good in a person nor a city,” he said. “It makes me nervous.”
In addition, he said he had noted that when people moved to rural areas from Detroit, they soon wanted that area to be Detroit.
Marchant said that if the council did not choose Option B, his job would be more difficult.
“We don’t want Nebo Heights again,” he said. “That was the way the code was at the time but we look at a whole lot more now.”
He said that it was much harder to retrofit a development so that it would fit into a community. Vernal was a perfect example, however, there were no nearby communities bumping against the edges of Nephi.
“Vernal is a donut,” said Marchant. “There are issues with water and sewer.”
He said that as planning was being done, he and the staff were well-aware of the sewer lagoons needing to be expanded.
“If we kind of hide, especially with the power system, other power companies will own everything around Nephi,” Marchant said.
Memmott said his viewpoint was that there were a lot of questions that needed answering before he was willing to move forward.
“If you are against housing, then put the property as commercial,” said McWilliams.
He said that he was giving the opportunity to the city to have his property developed but, if they were not willing, he could go to the county for approval. They had approved other properties of his in the past.
Donald Ball, resident, said there was another concern with the location. It was near the city airport and what if an airplane came down too soon or too early?
Also, the National Guard will be using helicopters to train pilots and that could be noisy, said Jones.
Heap said that there were a lot of things the city could do. A person had come to the planning commission and talked of the future and what planning could consider.