To be or not to be - that is the question. The Vineyard area is waiting for the answer.
Several area residents would like to change Vineyard from an unincorporated area into a town that includes Geneva Steel. County officials will make a decision following the release of a feasibility study.The study, by Mountainland Association of Governments, could be out as early as Monday. Utah law requires that for an area to become a town, it must have between 100 and 800 people. Vineyard would have 148 residents. Geneva Steel would take up half the land; homes and farms would cover the rest.
"All we want is to preserve the heritage we have enjoyed since 1898," said Rulon Gammon, Vineyard area spokesman. "We want to remain a residential and agricultural area as long as we can.
"Right now, every time Orem wants to annex a part of Vineyard, they can just take it. We have been whittled away and just want to protect ourselves."
Orem City Manager Daryl Berlin said Orem's master plan calls for the eventual annexation of the Vineyard area. But he said the city could not legally annex an area against its will.
"My personal perspective is that from a planning point of view it is not a good idea to have a town that small and in that location," Berlin said. "We are not sure they know what is involved in running a city."
Geneva Steel has agreed to continue providing fire protection, Gammon said. At the minimum, Vineyard would need to arrange for police protection, and elect a mayor and city council, he said. He was unsure of the requirements for water and sewer but said most residents already have wells and septic tanks.
"We're pretty self-sufficient by nature, and would probably continue that way," he said. Gammon said Vineyard considered incorporating about 15 years ago but didn't have the tax base to pay for police, fire and sewer services. With Geneva Steel inside the town limits, the tax money would be there.
Berlin is worried that if Vineyard had financial problems it might allow more heavy industry in. "And Utah County already has enough air-quality problems with cars, wood stoves and Geneva," he said.
Berlin said a 1979 state law requires companies in unincorporated areas planning expansion to join a municipality. If Vineyard becomes a town, Geneva would gain the right to expand, and Vineyard would gain a strong tax base.