Man pans plan to incorporate Hoytsville
February 19, 2008
Some North Summit residents hope to block the proposed incorporation of Hoytsville because a group of "legacy landowners" south of Coalville did not properly notify citizens of their intentions.
"I’m not opposed to the process, if done correctly. I am opposed to the incorporation," North Summit resident Neil Rossmiller said.
Restrictive zoning codes in eastern Summit County irk some property owners who say the rules won’t even allow them to give their children a building lot.
Forming the town of Hoytsville could allow citizens to elect five councilpersons and a mayor, and form their own planning department. Hoytsville residents voted 43-10 to move ahead with a petition to incorporate at a meeting Jan. 3.
But that meeting was not publicly noticed in accordance with state law, claims Rossmiller, who lives on a 20-acre parcel in Bradbury Canyon.
Supporters said "fliers were displayed at several prominent businesses in the area," Rossmiller said.
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"I don’t know what they mean by ‘prominent business in the area’," he contended. "Do they mean Coalville? Do they mean Wanship? Do they mean Hoytsville? This is such nonsense."
State Rep. Mel Brown, a Coalville Republican, successfully sponsored a bill that virtually allows landowners who represent half of the property and a sizable chunk of the value of the land situated within the proposed incorporation area to form the town.
"This legislation says the larger piece of land that you have, the more influence you have," Rossmiller said. "That’s not democracy."
He criticized supporters of the plan who had local Boy Scouts distribute the petitions.
"They have called it a ‘service project’. Servicing whose agenda?" Rossmiller asked. "I don’t think that anybody with any kind of intestinal, or other fortitude, should be doing something like that. If you have an agenda, do the footwork. Don’t have the Boy Scouts do it, because that’s not what they’re about. That’s just wrong."
Proponents say incorporating Hoystville wouldn’t likely increase property taxes.
"How could you add a layer of government and not have taxes raise? How do you generate those monies?" Rossmiller asked. "You’re going to need a town hall and something done with the water. And you can’t continue to develop and not have a sewer system."
Trucks will be needed to maintain roads and taxpayers would likely pay the Summit County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement, he said.
"It just doesn’t make good sense without having some kind of tax base other than property taxes," Rossmiller explained, adding that "there is no other tax base other than the landowners."
Residents panned the proposal to incorporate Hoytsville at a meeting Jan. 31.
"If you look at the proposed town of Hoytsville, it ranges somewhere between 42 and 48 square-miles, which is larger than the city of Ogden," Rossmiller said. "It’s huge."
But that helps a small amount of North Summit landowners force incorporation upon many residents who oppose the plan, he added.
The north boundary of Hoytsville would be drawn just south of Hobson Lane in Coalville, Rossmiller said, adding that the southern boundary is near the cemetery on West Hoytsville Road near Wanship. The town situated east and west of Interstate 80 would have fewer than 1,000 people.
But a licensed surveyor hasn’t mapped the area as required by law, Rossmiller claimed.
"How can you agree to something if you don’t know what it includes?" he asked.
Motivating those who support incorporation may be a strict set of development guidelines enacted several years ago in eastern Summit County.
"People say this is now too restrictive. They’re not happy with the way things are going right now and they want to be able to develop," Rossmiller said. "But they don’t want any developers to come in. They want it both ways."
Sponsors of the petition to incorporate include North Summit residents Sue Follett, Frank Judd, Michael Crittenden, Bill Wilde and Doug Geary.
Towns in Utah usually have more than 100 and fewer than 1,000 people. There are three main reasons to incorporate: to provide services, local control and to create and preserve a sense of the community, according to David Church, an attorney for the Utah League of Cities and Towns.