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Proposed hotel development still up for debate in Midway City

Ponds such as this one at the Heber Valley Special Service District are emitting an odor as a result of seasonal change.
Heber Valley Special Service District
Ponds such as this one at the Heber Valley Special Service District are emitting an odor as a result of seasonal change.

A developer applied to build a new resort in Midway City. Its location near the wastewater treatment plant has raised concerns from local government.

On the border of Midway City, a developer wants to turn 350 acres of agricultural land into new resort and residential areas.

The developer petitioned to annex the land into Midway to build a 100-room hotel, 23 resort cottages, workforce housing, and 35,000 square feet of retail space.

But not everyone supports the proposed resort.

The Midway Sanitation District and the Heber Valley Special Services District protested the annexation because the land is next to an open-air sewage and wastewater treatment facility. They argue the resort would be too close to the plant: there would be odor problems, and the facilities wouldn’t be able to expand to meet the needs of a growing region.

They also said there are no services to treat the waste that would be produced by the development, because the resort cabins and hotel wouldn’t fall within the bounds of either agency.

The Wasatch County Boundary Commission hosted a public hearing Sept. 18 to consider arguments from the protesters and the petitioners.

Deputy County Attorney Shelby Thurgood recommended the commission not approve the proposal. She said it doesn’t meet Midway City’s requirements for annexations, including for environmental reasons.

“Most of the proposed annexation area consists of sensitive lands, and all of the concept area consists of sensitive lands,” she said.

But Thurgood said the developers didn’t share any plans to mitigate the impact on wetlands or comply with FEMA guidelines for building in a flood zone.

Those against the development also include individual property owners like Kathleen White, who did not consent to be part of the proposed annexation.

During the hearing, White said she and her husband received a letter about the public hearing around Sept. 1.

“That letter was unsigned, undated, and we have no idea who sent it to us,” she said. “We question whether that is a legal notification to the property owners.”

Requirements for petitions changed around the same time as this proposal was filed, and the developers did not comply with new requirements to notify those affected. Sewer and environmental concerns aside, it was this tangle of technicalities that prevented a decision.

The boundary commission voted, 4-3, to seek more information about the petition over the next 60 days. They will make a decision in late October or early November.