Heber City Begins Process For Sorenson Annexation After Receiving Application

Jul 8, 2019

Image from the agenda for the Tuesday joint meeting between Heber City Council and Planning Commission
Credit Heber City

Heber City Council and the Heber Planning Commission are meeting in a special joint meeting Tuesday night. The meeting is concerning an annexation into the city.

Heber City Council and the Planning Commission meet Tuesday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at Heber City offices on 75 North Main Street.

City Planner Tony Kohler says that the meeting is not an action meeting but a work meeting for the two entities.

“The purpose is to go over the details of the proposed Sorenson annexations,” Kohler explained. “We also have a guest speaker, Bill Coleman, who is going to present a summary of development that is occurring and will be occurring in the future. To put the Sorenson properties into context of the greater Wasatch Back situation.”

The Sorenson property is located north of Heber City’s current limits running on the east side of Highway 40 bracketed by the Jordanelle Dam and State Route 32 to the north. The 5,000-unit development was entitled by Wasatch County years ago. That means that the development will come to the valley regardless of what residents, the county, or Heber City wish would happen. Annexation of the Sorenson property into Heber would not give the city any legal power over zoning and development. However, the city argues that if annexed the developers may be incentivized to follow the city’s goals.

“That development’s going to happen regardless of whether the city is involved or not,” Kohler said. “Really the only way that the city can have any say in how those properties develop is to consider annexation. Otherwise, it's just another development that's happening next door that we have no say in.”

The Tuesday joint meeting is a pre-curser to the next step in the five-step process for annexation. The first step took place when the developers of the property submitted an annexation petition to the city recorder. The next step will take place at the July 16th City Council meeting when the council will accept or reject the petition for further investigation.

“That is not a final approval of the annexation, all it is doing is moving the petition forward for further study,” Kohler continued. “The second step if it's accepted is certification by the City Recorder and the protest period for affected entities. That's about 30 to 45 days once that happens the petition then goes to the Planning Commission for review. Then at the final stage the City Council holds a public hearing and considers an ordinance to provide a final approval of the annexation. The entire process as per state statute takes at least four months and how much longer depends on the complexity of the issues that come up through the process.”

Additionally, the developers of the Sorenson property will be asked to produce reports on proposed population density, fiscal impact of the proposed annexation, as well as projections on the demographic and economic base of the community and growth and cost projections as well as projected revenue and tax impacts. Along with other reports.

Kohler says they expect the process, if successful, to take anywhere from six to eighteen months.