Grantsville may be getting bigger.
The Tooele County Boundary Commission approved a decision that will allow a proposed 1,533 acre annexation into Grantsville to be allowed to proceed, as long as the 14 property owners that didn’t sign the annexation petition aren’t included in the annexation.
The decision was reached during the Boundary Commission’s meeting on Tuesday afternoon in the County Commissioners’ conference room in the Tooele County Building.
The commission held a public hearing on the proposed annexation on Sept. 21.
In the discussion following the public hearing there was some disagreement among commission members on the interpretation of the requirements for annexation.
While state code requires approval of rural real property owners for an annexation, the question was about the state’s definition of rural real property.
State code defines rural real property as property zoned primarily for manufacturing, commercial, or agricultural purposes; and that does not include lots with a density greater than one unit per acre.
But state code also makes reference to rural real property as consisting of 1,500 contiguous acres or more.
The boundary commission asked Winchester to research the definition of rural real property in consultation with legislative attorneys that may be familiar with the intent and purpose of the wording.
At Tuesdays’ meeting Winchester reported that he had reached out to two attorneys with extensive experience in land use law, Craig Call and David Church. Winchester said he also received an opinion from Tooele City attorney Roger Baker.
All three attorneys generally agree that state code, as written, requires the annexation petition to be signed by all rural real property owners regardless of the size of their property. Rural real property is defined as property zoned as agriculture, multiple use, and commercial that also does not have residences with density greater than 1-per acre.
With that definition, there are 14 rural real property owners that did not sign the annexation petition.
Current annexation law discourages the creation of islands and ismuths, but allows them if there are no other viable options, Winchester said.
The boundary commission then approved the annexation with the condition that the annexation may proceed, but without the property owners that did not or will not sign the petition.
Grantsville City received a petition requesting the annexation of 1,553 acres north of the eastern end of the city’s current northern boundary in April 2020.
The County Boundary Review Commission only meets to review annexation petitions that have been protested by qualified property owners, generally those within the boundaries of the proposed annexation or an affected government entity.
There were 15 letters protesting this annexation.
The commission’s responsibility is to determine if the annexation meets state code requirements, if it complies with the annexation plan of the Grantsville City, if it conflicts with the annexation plan of other municipalities, and if the annexation area contains urban development that will adversely affect remaining unincorporated areas of the county, Colin Winchester, deputy County attorney, instructed the boundary commission during their Aug. 17 meeting.
The commission may approve the proposed annexation, either with or without conditions; make minor modifications to the proposed annexation; or disapprove the proposed annexation, according to state code.
Grantsville City Council then has the option to accept the commission’s recommendations with the conditions, if any, or reject the annexation petition.