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MILLCREEK — Salt Lake City and Millcreek came one step closer to reaching a resolution on a land dispute Monday.
The fight has been over an annexation that happened four decades ago, when Salt Lake City swallowed about 50 acres of what was at the time unincorporated Salt Lake County — a commercial area called the Brickyard near 1100 East and 3300 South.
During Monday's work session, the Millcreek City Council agreed to ask to withdraw legislation that would target situations like the Brickyard area.
"We're happy to see that Salt Lake City is prepared to engage with us on these issues. We would prefer to resolve these issues by negotiation and compromise and collaboration. We recognize that we have a lot of mutual interests with our neighbor to the north and we want to maintain a good relationship with them," Mayor Jeff Silvestrini said.
HB262 would have targeted areas considered a "substantially isolated peninsula," or an area that is "surrounded on more than 95 percent" of its border by another municipality. It would allow property owners to request a transfer into Millcreek, leaving Salt Lake City no recourse to protest.
Salt Lake City leaders have been reluctant to allow their neighbors to absorb an area that has been on city books for more than 40 years and provides about $3 million of taxpayer revenue into Utah's capital city budget. They also worry it could amount to more state meddling and a takeover of Salt Lake land — and the precedent it would set for future potential land grabs.
Earlier Monday, Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke told the Deseret News Editorial Board that the council is willing to work with Millcreek to come to a resolution.
"What I've told them is that while we're open to talking about joint vision and figuring out how to move things forward, a lot of these things can be done without a boundary adjustment," Luke said.
"And so if it's looking at creating, for example, a redevelopment agency area … that can help redevelop that site. That's a possibility. There are things that can be done with both municipalities … creating a small area plan that encompasses the whole area so that you don't have, you know, competing zoning," he added.
During Millcreek's City Council meeting, Luke told the council, "We do look forward to working with each of you."
He said dropping the legislation is "the right decision."
"Your excitement, your passion for the city of Millcreek is contagious. We share that same passion for the city of Salt Lake, and we are fully committed to working together to figure out how we can reboot this conversation," Luke said.
He acknowledged that the issue "hasn't been pleasant" but said the cities' renewed willingness to work with each other is positive.