Voters in Hoytsville to decide whether area will become a town
The area known as Hoytsville in eastern Summit County could sustain itself as a town, but it would largely require a volunteer effort to make it work, according to a study commissioned by Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox’s office.
The results of a feasibility study examining whether Hoytsville could bring in enough revenue to maintain municipal-type services were presented to more than 50 residents on Monday. The study showed that Hoytsville could be viable as a town. The decision will be left up to voters in November.
If residents within the proposed footprint decide to break off from the county, Hoytsville — located less than three miles west of Coalville — would become the county’s seventh municipality. Approximately 0.8 square miles would be incorporated and the town would have an estimated population of 453 people, with seven businesses employing more than 80 people.
Five Hoytsville homeowners filed the necessary paperwork with Cox’s office in December to apply for incorporation. Signatures from 20 percent of Hoytsville’s registered voters and landowners triggered the study. Any area that wants to incorporate is required to have five sponsors or residents file an application with the lieutenant governor’s office. The area is also required to have between 100 and 1,000 residents.
But, not everyone is on board with the idea.
Concerns were raised during the community discussion on Monday about the costs residents would incur if the area becomes incorporated, as well as how services such as snow removal and law enforcement would be handled. The county currently provides those services.
The study estimated it would cost roughly $35,000 to run the town its first year. That number included costs associated with services such as administration, professional services, roads and planning/land use. Estimated revenues from property and sales taxes, as well as a class C road fund allotment, would essentially cover the budget. The town’s government would serve on a volunteer basis.
“If that vote happens, that’s when the real work starts because it will require establishing rules of engagement for building and zoning and different things that are required for a town,” said Mike Rees, one of the five sponsors. “We won’t be able to blame someone else for its failure. There will be no blaming ‘them’ because it will be our neighbors. If all of us cannot say we are willing to endorse those folks who are willing to step in and lead the town or become those folks ourselves, and if we just feel like we can’t deal with it, then I recommend we all vote no.”
Bill Wilde, who is also among those who filed an application for town incorporation, reiterated Rees’ points. He said incorporation will only work if residents are willing to do the work.
“I have beat up on the County Council, Health Department and engineering department,” he said. “I look back and now going through this process I see the other side of the coin. We will be the ones making the tough rules and they have to be made. We have to have 100 percent participation for this to work and it will work.”
When asked what the motivation was behind the effort to become incorporated, Wilde highlighted several issues, including the amendments that were made to the East Side Development Code, property rights and the building process.
“We can’t sit back moaning about the County Council beating us up on a piece of property if we aren’t willing to do anything about it. But, this isn’t about the county, it’s about us,” he said. “We or I, Bill Wilde, feel like we can do a better job with our property rights. I think we get beat up a little bit on the East Side and get thrown in to the (Snyderville) Basin rules.”
Summit County Council members Doug Clyde, Glenn Wright and Chris Robinson attended the meeting. Robinson said the County Council has always maintained that higher density should take place in the cities and towns.
“These are municipal-type problems and I don’t have a strong opinion either way,” he said. “We the County Council are going to accept what is served up to us. I think it will be challenging and maybe more costly, but I think the world will still turn either way. If you are to incorporate, it may turn for the better. We don’t have a veto on it nor do we want one. It’s up to the people to decide.”
If more than 50 percent of voters choose to incorporate, Hoytsville would become a town on Jan. 1, 2020. A mayor and five city councilors would be elected during a municipal election in August of 2019.
The push for incorporation came after nearly 20 Hoytsville landowners petitioned Coalville in August 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.
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