OREM — It's unrequited love, only between towns.

Spring Lake residents attended a public hearing last week with the Utah County Commission to discuss ways to become a town and avoid being annexed by Santaquin. Commissioners, a county attorney and the county clerk/auditor also explained the process of becoming a town and what it would involve.

Developers who want to build in and near Spring Lake spurred Santaquin's petition to annex the town of 500, said Bryan Thompson, county clerk/auditor. The traffic increase expected from the development will feed into Spring Lake, he said. When residents found out about Santaquin's intention to annex the area, they hired an attorney and looked into incorporating.

"Other than a historical name, it has no legal standing as an entity," Thompson said. "It's their right under the law to incorporate as a town; it will allow them to keep Santaquin from eventually gobbling them all up."

Among the requirements, at least 50 percent of the landowners, 50 percent of the registered voters, owners of 50 percent of the assessed value or greater of the property in the area must submit a petition to the county for a feasibility study, said Commissioner Gary Anderson. The study would look at whether the amount of taxes generated in the mostly agricultural town would be able to support the services Spring Lake would need to provide to its residents, he said.

"These people want to become a town," Anderson said.

If Spring Lake residents want to annex into a city, they would need the same percentages as they do to become a town, said Robert Moore, deputy Utah County attorney.

Anderson said he and the other commissioners stressed to the residents that if Spring Lake becomes an official town, the county will no longer fix the roads or provide a police patrol, but Spring Lake would have to pay for those things itself. It could contract with the county for law enforcement.

Anderson said the area has two problems: It's too beautiful and it's in the line of fire for several developments.

Thompson said that residents are most concerned that Santaquin will swallow them.

"If they're incorporated they have a little more say as to traffic and different things in the area," he said.

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