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SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Council voted Monday to protest the annexation of 287 acres in the unincorporated county to Holladay.
The protest essentially buys time for Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen to verify whether the annexation petitions certified by Holladay meet the requirements of the state statute.
It also allows the Salt Lake County Planning Commission to conduct a public hearing on the proposed Olympus Hills annexation, which is primarily residential and encompasses an area from I-215 to 2700 East and between 4430 South and 3900 South.
While many council members said they support the self determination of the residents, some such as Council Chairman Steve DeBry said the annexation has implications for all residents of Millcreek Township.
"We owe it to our citizens to do our due diligence," DeBry said. "However it shakes out, I’m good with that."
But others, such as Councilman Jim Bradley, questioned the rationale of the annexation, aside "glittering generalities" such as feeling a sense of community.
"It’s still a reasonable request to say, 'Hey, why are you doing this?'" Bradley said.
John Bradshaw, one of the annexation petitioners, told the council that most people who support the annexation want to join Holladay because they already feel they are part of the city and it will likely mean a smaller tax burden for property owners.
"The other is government closer to the people. That really is a big thing to us," he said.
The decision to annex the Olympus Hills area ultimately rests with the Holladay City Council, according to state statute.
But County Council member Arlyn Bradshaw said one of the reasons Holladay didn't want the annexation process delayed is that it disrupts the city's plans to levy an energy sales tax.
"It is a tax the county does not collect," Bradley noted.
Monday's meeting was in held, in part, to discuss the deadline to file a protest, which is Jan. 6. County officials told the council that they questioned whether the petitioners had fully complied with the requirements of the process up to this point.
Holladay city attorney Craig Hall said the city officials would have been happy to provide any clarifications to county officials had they been asked.
"We think we’ve met the statutes. We think we’ve followed the process," Hall said, noting that many of the requirements of the state law apply to the petitioners, not the city to which they want to annex.
Moreover, the county has had ample notice of the ongoing process since the petitioners filed notice of their intent to file the annexation petition in April, he said.
"This is not a secret. There was not intent to stand behind anything and hide the ball, so to speak," Hall said.
If the annexation occurs, Holladay would become the 10th largest city in Utah.