HEBER CITY Independence could be Utah's 245th, 246th or 247th town depending on how the wheels of government grind in coming weeks.
The new town, located on 9,175 acres of land in Wasatch County, would be across U.S. 40 from the proposed town of Aspen, which was denied in November because of a pending annexation petition.
Aspen is the dream town for Arizona developer Dean Sellers, who plans to build a world-class family town just south of Heber. Eventually, a ski resort and 18-hole golf course could adjoin Aspen, which could be built on 8,366 acres in Daniels Canyon.
Three groups of residents and one water company have recently filed for annexation into the nearby town of Daniel. Of the four petitions, only one avoids the Independence incorporation. The others seek to avoid the Aspen incorporation.
Chadd Giles and neighboring property owners, who would have been included in the original boundaries for Independence, filed a petition Dec. 7 to annex into Daniel, which has yet to officially accept the petition for review.
Giles said his petition, known as the Parry annexation, came about because he and his neighbors agreed annexation would be the best plan for them.
"We just decided to do it," he said. "It's not that we didn't want to be in Independence, we just wanted to be in Daniel."
Giles said he would rather have things stay as they are than deal with the unknown that comes from a town springing up from nothing.
Independence petition sponsor Mel McQuarrie, a Heber City resident who owns a civil engineering firm there, originally filed for incorporation Oct. 12, but county officials denied the incorporation because of an incomplete land survey.
The Wasatch County Surveyor's Office began reviewing the newer, and more lengthy, land description Monday.
McQuarrie was unavailable for comment.
If all of the land values and land areas are certified, Independence could find itself with the stamp of approval from Wasatch County and the lieutenant governor's office within the next two months.
About 150 residents live in the proposed boundary for Independence.
Aspen and Independence, if approved, could be joined by a town called Hideout, located on the east side of Jordanelle Reservoir.
Approval for all would make for three new towns in Wasatch County: Nos. 245, 246 and 247 in Utah.
Richard Sprung, a real estate agent for a luxury subdivision in Hideout Canyon, filed an incorporation petition in November for Hideout, which would eventually include more than 300 luxury homes and 500 current residents of the Todd Hollow Apartments, located on state Route 248.
A law enacted following the 2007 General Legislative session allows a landowner to incorporate a town if he meets certain land size and value requirements and if at least 100 residents live in the incorporation boundaries.Legislators voted unanimously in favor of the law but are expected to debate during the 2008 session whether to allow residents inside incorporation boundaries to vote on incorporations.
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