By Myrna Trauntvein
Four homeowners, two couples, just outside the Nephi City limits have been without culinary water for over a month since the well that they obtained their water from went dry and they have had to haul water to a storage tank on the property.
The request from the two couples was that the city zoning map be changed to allow the two properties access to annexation and to city culinary water.
Nick and Lacy Yama and Brody and Jen McGee met with the council to request that they be allowed, at their expense, to connect to the city water delivery line that is located nearby.
The council discussed the pros and cons with the homeowners thoroughly as the meeting progressed. At the end, Justin Seely, council member, determined to make a favorable motion.
“I make a motion that we allow the change to the zoning map,” said Seely.
A voice vote was taken by Lisa Brough, city recorder/finance director.
Seely, Skip Worwood and Larry Ostler, council members, voted in favor. Kent Jones and Nathan Memmott, council members, voted against the motion.
“The motion passes on a three to two majority vote,” said Brough.
Prior to the vote, Yama discussed how near they were to the water supply and how much of a hardship they were dealing with in being forced to haul culinary water to their homes.
“It is only about 40 yards away,” said N. Yama. “The east side is on the city side and the west side is on the county side.”
The McGees had only lived in their home for a month.
In order for the two homes to be annexed into the city, at their request, the city zoning map would need to be revised.
“The first step in order for them to be annexed,” said Seth Atkinson, city administrator, “is to update the city zoning map.”
The map was updated in 2008, he said. The property is presently at a level III and changing the zone so that the property could be annexed would change the zone to level I.
“They are close enough to the water system that they could connect and they understand that they would have to pay those connection fees,” he said.
Two homes just above the Yama and McGee properties already have culinary water even though they are not in the city limits, said N. Yama. Those homes belong to Barbara Warner and Steve Ekberg.
As to the question of setting a precedence, said N. Yama, it seemed to him that the precedence had been set because others outside city limits already received culinary water.
The homes are all located at approximately 100 North and 400 West.
“The line is stubbed out on the county side which is close,” said N. Yama.
One fear of council members was that the homes would also want to connect to the city sewer system.
“The city is not required to put sewer in for any home inside city limits,” said Atkinson. “There are several homes in Nephi that have to be on a septic system because we cannot get sewer to them.”
The city ordinances provide for those allowances, he said.
Memmott asked how many homes could be added in the annexation if the map was changed.
The map was being modified for the two lots but there were, potentially, two others.
“How many would like to be on the city system?” asked Jones, council member. “We cannot start to take care of everybody. There are others who would like to be on the system.”
Many years ago, said Memmott, those near the city could connect to the culinary system. Then, in the 1980s, that was changed.
“Now water can only go to those areas if there is an existing home that has service,” he said. “Even if the home is rebuilt on that property, it can have service if there was water there before.”
He said that the culinary water improvement project was going to cost approximately $16 million and the council wanted to get the impact fees in place in the near future.
“Our concern is water capacity,” Memmott said. “The improvement project will be two and a half years before it is complete and we have fire hydrants on the south end of the city that do not have the needed pressure.”
N. Yama said that he had been hauling 1,100 gallons to accommodate the two homes. He had a 200-foot deep water well that had quit producing and wondered what would happen in the winter with the water freezing to ice. He would likely have to install some kind of heater.
Ostler, said that the irrigation wells had just been shut off for the winter and that may help the Yama well recover. However, said N. Yama, that did not mean that the same thing would happen next year.
The two couples were concerned that the well supply would depend on rain and snow. If there were another dry year, they would have to haul water again and, perhaps, there would not be sufficient recovery even during the winter.
“We appreciate your doing this,” said N. Yama. “We appreciate your approval of our request.”
An annexation petition can now be submitted by the Yamas and the McGees.
“That is a lengthy process,” said Atkinson. “The state has set steps that must be followed.”
In all, according to Rural Planning, it should take 115 days.
After a petition is submitted, the council has 14 days to accept or deny and five days to notify the petitioner. The clerk or recorder has 30 days to certify the petition, three days to notify the council, 10 days to publish a notice of the proposed annexation, 10 days to send notices to affected entities, 20 days for a protest period, 10 days to notice a public hearing, one meeting for the annexation hearing, one meeting for acceptance or denial of the annexation, and 30 days to send notice to the affected entities, Lt. Governor, and Department of Health.
When the Lt. Governor responds the annexation is taken to the county recorder.