Hoytsville residents want to form a town
Summit County could have a new town on the east end of the county, as one North Summit area inches closer toward incorporation.
Five Hoytsville homeowners filed paperwork with Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox’s office in December to apply for incorporation, putting the area one step closer to a vote for townhood.
“We just decided that Hoytsville has always been a town, but an unincorporated town,” said longtime resident Wade Wilde. “We have a lot of locals that live here and have decided the citizens want to get together and have it to be the way we want it to be.”
Wilde is among the five residents who filed an application for town incorporation. Michael Rees, Rachelle Mellor, Nicole Richins Simister and Bill Wilde also filed petitions.
Any area that wants to incorporate is required to have five sponsors or residents of the state file an application with the lieutenant governor’s office. The sponsors must have voted in an election within the last three years and have their signatures attested, according to Justin Lee, director of elections for the lieutenant governor’s office. The area is also required to have between 100 and 1,000 residents. Hoytsville has about 430 residents, Lee said.
Once the paperwork is filed, a public hearing is required, per state law. The hearing for Hoytsville residents is set for 7 p.m., Feb. 13, at North Summit High School. After the hearing, the sponsors need to get signatures from 20 percent of Hoytsville’s registered voters and 20 percent of its property owners for the measure to be put up for a vote.
“Once they qualify and once they have those signatures, we then commission a feasibility study and hire a consultant who goes out there to determine if this is a viable town,” Lee said. “And if the feasibility results come back and say, ‘Yes this works,’ then we put it on the ballot.”
Residents in the Hoytsville area have expressed a growing interest in disassociating from the county over the last several months, with most citing the proposed changes to the East Side Development Code as their motivation.
In August, nearly 20 landowners petitioned Coalville City to discuss annexing 45 parcels into its city limits. The application covered about 940 acres of unincorporated land east of the city, between Hoytsville Road and Creamery Lane. The Coalville City Council required a response from the landowners within 30 days of reviewing the application, but the applicants chose not to continue the process.
Mike Crittenden, one of the landowners who petitioned the city, said he believes the incorporation petition was spurred by the filing of the annexation application. He said he is not involved with the current request.
“We wanted to wait and see what the county did and chose to not burn any bridges in Coalville,” he said. “We decided to see what happens with the county with the new zoning districts, figuring it was more of a structured way to move forward.”
The Summit County Council is still reviewing some of the proposed changes to the development code, including the zoning districts and map.
“I know the county is looking into changing, but it is taking a long time,” Wade said. “Maybe there is a chance that what they are offering might satisfy most of us. But, we don’t know that and we have waited long enough. It’s time for us to do something.”
Wade said Hoytsville residents want to be in “charge of our own community.” He said there is a desire for less involvement from the county government, citing land use matters as one of the main issues.
“I think it’s been frustrating,” he said. “I think the citizens of the north end, especially Hoytsville, have been quite vocal with our county government, and we felt like we have no representation. That was a lot of it. When you think about it, who do we have that represents us?”
Wade said some may think the desire for more flexibility for landowners is because “we want to sell the land and develop,” but he said that couldn’t be further from the truth. He added, “We want to see this land remain as it is as much as possible and keep it open. We know change is coming, whether we like it or not, we just want to be able to manage that change.
“I do know the citizens are fed up with having to go through so many hoops and redlines with anything to do with the government,” he said. “It’s not with the county or planning and zoning. It has to do with building. They think they need to have a say when you build a shed or a garage.
“Most of the citizens who are behind this say, ‘If I want to go out on my property and move dirt from point A to point B, we want that opportunity to do that without having to jump over red tape,” he added. “That’s what’s really pushing this.”
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District officials have discussed the issue for at least a decade.