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Heber City Council supports adding land for new high school

annexation island.jpg
Heber City
The Heber City Council decided at its Tuesday meeting to move forward on bringing property the school district wants to use for a new high school (yellow) into city limits, even though it will create a "peninsula" of isolated county land (green).

The Wasatch County School District wants to annex the site that’s been proposed for the new high school into Heber City limits. Heber City supported the move at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The proposed high school location is on 48 acres just west of Heber City and north of Midway Lane and Southfield Park. The plan is to build a new school campus with athletic facilities and parking lots to accommodate the area’s population growth.

The Heber City Council said it’s time to move forward with that plan, despite the protest of a neighbor who says the city’s leaving him out to dry.

That property owner — Timpview Investments, LLC — has protested the annexation. The protest argues the annexation would surround that lot on county land with city land, creating a 4-acre island that city staff confirmed violates Utah Code.

However, that code does allow Heber City and Wasatch County to agree to an exception.

Timpview wants to annex into Heber City, too. It says its land would be a good place to build houses, including some that teachers and police officers could afford.

“You're gonna develop that area at some point; our land is inside that policy plan,” said Doyle Johnson, who filed the protest on behalf of Timpview. “So why are you kicking the can down the road? You can plan all this infrastructure out now — the high school would have a light there, there would be all kinds of things that would be smarter planning now. Instead, they just don't want to touch it. So it's going to cost them more down the road.”

City Planning Director Tony Kohler said the council voted down Johnson’s plan in 2018 because it didn’t support bringing housing to that area. None of the current city council members were part of that council.

He said getting around the island issue may be tricky, but the city wants to move forward with the plan as is - without the Timpview property.

“You know, it’s going to be a little bit clumsier that way, but council spoke and said they did not want to promote growth there,” Kohler said.

Next, Heber City will seek an agreement with Wasatch County to allow the annexation to move forward. Next, the planning commission would review the petition ahead of a public hearing, final vote by the city council and approval by lieutenant governor to make it official.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.
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