DANIEL, Wasatch County One of Utah's youngest towns added about 300 acres and a few hundred residents to its size Friday night in a move that may kill a plan by a Nevada developer to incorporate a town he hoped to call Aspen in the area and turn it into a ski resort.
Three council members and Daniel's Mayor Michael Duggin accepted the annexations of Storm Haven and Little Sweden unanimously and without discussion, but to cheering and applause.
The votes were taken after the ordinances were read, the annexation details explained and public hearings were held. None of the seven citizens who commented made statements against the annexation.
"We're glad to have the community of Daniel becoming whole again," Daniel resident Sheryl Thacker told the crowd of about 75 people. "We're glad we're going to become a town together."
Dean Sellers, the developer who was proposing the Aspen development, was absent from the meeting. Neither he nor any representatives from his company, West Daniels Land Association, made comments during the public hearings.
After the meeting, the petitioner for the Storm Haven annexation said he was surprised Sellers didn't attend.
"Both sides need to express their sides," John Hines said. "If you don't come out and talk, how can we reach an agreement?" he asked.
Sellers' spokeswoman did not return phone calls from the Deseret Morning News following Friday's meeting.
A handful of residents during the public hearings and after the short meeting mentioned their discontent with the Utah Legislature, which passed in its 2007 session a bill that changed town incorporation rules and made plans like Sellers' possible.
"Since that bill was introduced Wasatch County's been a warzone," said Daniel Council Member Daniel Harvath.
This year, both the House and Senate are considering bills that would amend the 2007 legislation.
Hines said he has read the text of the bills and thinks they're imperfect, but a step in the right direction.
Monday, Daniel will provide Utah's Lt. Governor with its documents of annexation. The Lt. Governor will then incorporate the information and send it back to Daniel, making the annexations official, Duggin said.
From there, the only thing that could stop the annexations is action by Utah's Supreme Court, said Daniel Attorney Dale F. Gardner. Soon after Hines filed the petition for annexation, Sellers and his attorneys filed two actions with the court trying to stop the annexation.
The court has not yet heard the issue but refused to grant Sellers injunctions to stop the annexations.
The annexation documents were filed and approved improperly, Seller's attorneys said in court documents filed in the case. A petition by Sellers to incorporate the town of Aspen is legal under the 2007 law and should trump the annexations, according to the filings.
Several people at the meeting said they wanted no part of Seller's plan and hoped this annexation would stop it permanently."Hopefully now we can enjoy what time we have here instead of spending it in court," Hines said.
E-mail: [email protected]