The Wasatch County Council is scheduled to vote on the incorporation of two small towns tonight.
If approved, incorporation documents for the towns of Independence and Hideout would be sent to Utah's lieutenant governor for ratification, at which time the towns would become official.
"We've filed every detail of the law," said Hideout petitioner and developer Rich Sprung, a Wasatch County resident. "We're very excited and expect that the Wasatch County Council will approve us."
Hideout centers around a luxury development in Hideout Canyon on the shores of Jordanelle Reservoir, Sprung said. The development has already been approved and a master plan written, but residents in the area are anxious for a chance to govern themselves, Sprung said.
"That's what the law is all about," he added. "The law is for people like us doing it the right way for the right reasons."
Independence, if approved, will consist of about 150 residents on 9,157 acres next to state Route 40.
Petitions for both towns have been turned down in the past, Independence's for an incomplete map and Hideout's for a population study.
The would-be towns have filed incorporation documents under a controversial law enacted in the 2007 general legislative session that 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.
The 2007 law has been criticized heavily and its passage called a mistake after the owner of Ruby's Inn near Bryce Canyon National Park incorporated a town centered around his property, angering nearby residents and county officials.
The law does not require a vote by community members and requires only one petitioner, if that petitioner owns a majority of the land. It also leaves the appointment of mayor and town council members up to the petitioner.
A bill pending in the House and another in the Senate could change those problematic parts of the 2007 law. The bills would make incorporation more difficult by requiring, among other things, the approval of a majority of registered voters and at least five petitioners. They would also require an election for town council and mayor.
Also pending incorporation under the 2007 law is the town of Powder Mountain in Weber County. A petition signed by about 20 property owners was submitted to the Weber County Clerk Jan. 18 though the ski resort Powder Mountain was given conditional approval by the Weber County Planning Commission in December.
Sprung said Tuesday that the incorporation of Hideout does not hinge on the old law. The town is not a developer entitlement play, he said.
"The incorporation doesn't do anything but get local control for the community," Sprung said. "That's the way it's supposed to be. Counties were never meant to govern areas of population."The meeting will take place at 3 p.m. in the Wasatch County Council chambers at 25 N. Main in Heber City.
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