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Legislature's Sixth Special Session Underway

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As the sixth special session of the Utah Legislature begins today, a state legislative committee has forwarded positive support for the repeal of 14 lines of text in HB 359 that allowed for the town in Wasatch County to annex 655 acres of property in Summit County without Summit County’s approval.

 

The Utah Political Subdivision Interim Committee voted to show their support for the repeal of the controversial lines that allowed the town of Hideout to annex the property y in Richardson Flat with the intent to allow a development of 3,500 residential units, and some 300,000 square feet of commercial and office space. 

 

Rep. Calvin Musselman who was one of the sponsors of H.B. 359, said the bill was written to allow a development in a county next to his district. The bill was written because everyone involved in the annexation, the property owner, the municipality, and the county agreed to the annexation. But a last-minute addition to the bill contained some unintended consequences for the 650 acres in Summit County.

 

Musselman agreed to reconsider the bill after hearing that some felt that they were not given the opportunity to fully consider the bill before it was voted on last March.

 

“In order to fully respect those concerns, I present to you this bill HB 6007 that repeals those lines and those lines of concern only. And does so more specifically, I might add, so that the Utah Association of Counties may have further opportunity for input. It is cleanly and succinctly only repealing those lines. There's nothing additional in the bill.”

 

When asked if a new bill would come back next year’s general session, Musselman couldn’t say. He said there is a task force that is working on the issue which includes both the Utah Association of Counties and the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

 

“If there is indeed language that we can come up that can be consensus, then we may bring a bill. There will likely be bills representative, as you know, the deal with annexation. Whether or not there will be a specific bill that deals with this I can’t say for certain. But that would be the intent, yes.”

 

Lincoln Shurtz, Director of Government Affairs for UAC, said he appreciated the legislature’s willingness to reconsider the bill and they will continue to work on the issue with lawmakers and hope to strike a balance on annexation. 

 

When asked if this action specifically solves the Hideout issue –Shurtz, said not yet. Because of the legal action filed against Hideout by Summit County, he says a judge still needs to rule on the Temporary Restraining Order. But the action being taken by the legislature he says is what the parties involved have requested.

 

“Because it's in legal action, it kind of depends on how the judge handles the action of the legislature. But we do believe is that the indication of the repeal by the legislature will certainly have an influencing impact on where the judge decides to rule. The ruling is supposed to come out this Friday on that temporary restraining order.”

 

The full legislature will consider the new bill at its special session Thursday. The session started at 10 a.m. Listen live on the Legislature's website.

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