West Hills incorporation opt-out deadline is June 10
Property owners who are part of the petition to incorporate a new town between Kamas and Hideout on state Route 248, to be called West Hills, have until Saturday, June 10, to remove their property from the proposed boundaries if they don’t want to be included.
The petition to incorporate West Hills as Summit County’s newest town is before the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s office. The petition was filed in May, days before the state law changed.
If a property owner wants to exclude all or part of their property from the proposed incorporation, they must fill out a form and it must be received by Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson's office no later than Saturday, June 10. Owners must know their property parcel numbers included in the petition.
Summit County Community Development Director Pat Putt said the county is not a party in the incorporation process. It is between the petitioners and the Lt. Gov. Henderson's office. He said the incorporation petition is just the first step in the process to create a new city or town in Utah.
"In short, the way it works, there is a boundary of this proposed new municipality created," Putt said. "There is a petition that is filed and created that is related to that boundary that is filed with the Lieutenant Governor's office. That petition has to check a series of boxes. If those can be met, it goes to an election at the next scheduled general election.”
Putt said the law requires certain thresholds must be met: signatures on the petition must total at least 7% of the assessed land value and 10% of the land area based on the value and acreage of each signer’s property.
Chief Summit County Civil Attorney Dave Thomas said if a property owner wants to pull out of the proposed incorporation, they can only do so if it won’t create an island or peninsula for the remainder of the proposed incorporated area. So, even if someone wants out, they may not be able to leave. But he said they will still have a say.
“Ultimately, they would have to have a vote of the residents for the proposed residence,” Thomas said. “So, individuals do have an opportunity, even if they can't get out of the incorporation areas through the Lieutenant Governor, there is a mechanism – it’s an election. If they don't want to be in, they can vote against it. You know, it's part of that democratic process.”
He said, if the required thresholds are reached, a feasibility study will be conducted and the results of the study will be presented at a public hearing.
The state legislature changed the law this past session and the new law went into effect just days after the West Hills sponsors filed their petition. Instead of Lt. Gov. Henderson overseeing the incorporation process, Thomas said incorporation petitions are now the responsibility of a county clerk.
Once a public hearing is complete, the sponsors are required to gather signatures from registered voters within the boundaries of the proposed municipality, and again, if they meet the required thresholds, the proposed incorporation will be placed on the ballot for November’s election. If a majority votes in favor, the proposed incorporation becomes a city or town. If not, the petition fails.