Henefer considers annexation
The town of Henefer is considering requests to annex over 100 acres of land, thereby increasing its size by about 25 percent.
The land is owned by four different families, three of which live near Henefer. The town council has approved the plan, but will also need to pass an ordinance, said Mayor Randy Ovard.
At that point, both state and county officials will need to approve the plan because annexation involves a change in tax entities, he explained.
Bob Richins, the Henefer town planner, owns about half of the land in the proposed annexation. He said the move would allow his family to build one or two homes on the land for family members. In another 10 or 15 years, his grandchildren may also want to build homes on the property.
Richins said he intends to farm the land as long as he can, but also wants to help his family members live in Henefer if they choose to after he retires.
Summit County permitted the annexation of three other large parcels in recent years, so he thinks the proposal has a good chance of succeeding.
The land under consideration is between Henefer and the town of Echo with the Weber River to the east and hills to the west.
Ovard said the town council made a stipulation that any development of the currently undeveloped land would have to be done without the aid of Henefer’s water and sewer lines.
Tax money from the annexation will be minimal since most of the acreage will remain agricultural, he said.
The community supports the idea because growth is necessary.
"We’re hoping for slow development. That’s what we expect and what we’ve told these folks," he said. "If the city doesn’t grow or expand the city dies."
Ovard drew a comparison to Scipio in central Utah. The residents wanted the community to remain agricultural, but after all the young people moved away to find jobs, there was no one left wanting the real estate.
"I’m not interested in seeing Henefer becoming a dying village," he added.
Because the owners only want to build a few homes in the near future, it is possible the East Side Planning Commission would approve their projects the body recently permitted the construction of five family cabins in another part of North Summit. But Ovard said his community is so isolated from the rest of the county that landowners feel uncomfortable with the planning process.
"They know the city fathers, they know the city council. They have the opportunity to come in and talk to someone who knows you," Ovard said. "The people involved in this annexation are our neighbors."
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