John Hollenhorst ReportingJanette Wilcox, Property Owner: "The more and more we get into it the more and more the city was just against any kind of growth."
Property owners are in revolt in Bluffdale and they announced a battle today to break away from the town. The issue is one facing everyone on the Wasatch Front: How much growth and what kind of growth is desirable?
More than 50 property owners, controlling about a third of Bluffdale, filed petitions today to become part of Herriman and Bluffdale's mayor vowed to fight them.
The big gun in the fight is Rosecrest development trying to develop 1,100 acres owned by billionaire James Sorensen. But many smaller properties are involved too fighting for one of the biggest boundary changes in Utah history.
Development has been explosive in the southwestern part of the Salt Lake Valley. But this huge 4,000 acre swath is basically a giant vacant lot. Property owners who want to develop it have decided to fight city hall by seceding from Bluffdale.
Loretta Wilcox, Property Owner: “I think they need they need this here. South Mountain developed instead of Camp Williams setting it on fire every year."
The vacant land is entirely within Bluffdale Property owners are petitioning to change city boundaries and make the land part of Herriman.
Don Wallace, CEO, Rosecrest Development: “Herriman understands that you need a variety of housing so it's not just for the rich who can afford half-million dollar homes."
The Mayor of Bluffdale says his city is not anti-growth.
Wayne Mortimer, Mayor of Bluffdale: “The idea is let’s grow with some control. Let’s not get out of control.”
The dialogue seems exceptionally bitter. In a document released by developers, they say the city's process is exceedingly dysfunctional and meetings are characterized as full of shouts and threats.
Janette Wilcox, Property Owner: "It's really a joke what goes on in those meetings. It's sad the people of Bluffdale don't know what's going on."
Bluffdale's Mayor says the big issues are sensitivity to environmental issues and density. Developers generally want two or three homes per acre. The city tends to prefer an acre or more for each home.
The Mayor doesn't intend to let six and a half square miles leave town.
Wayne Mortimer, Mayor of Bluffdale: "This is a third of our city. This is very important to our community and we will not let it go."
The battle starts out on a so-called voluntary basis. The property owners have peittioned the two cities to voluntarily change boundaries. But if one or the other digs in its heels, everyone will be headed for court.