Discussion of the annexation plan began at the Aug. 7 meeting after Ruth Dillon, assistant to the Grand County Council, received a phone call from the Conae Black, recorder for the city of Green River, requesting maps outlining district boundaries and roads, council chairman Gene Ciarus said.
“It is their intent to expand into Grand County,” said Ciarus. “I called the Emery County Commission, and they had no idea what was going on and had not heard anything about it. They were amazed and neither were supportive.”
Black said there is no real intention at this time to annex part of Grand County, but the area proposed was added to Green River’s plan for consideration in the future.
“The biggest reason is the process we have to go through to include an area in our expansion area. There are a lot of processes involved, so we decided to do it all at once in case there was a chance of something coming up in the future,” said Black “We have always included part of Grand County in the plan... mostly in up Hasting Road where we are already provide some services.”
The possible annexation area includes 130 square miles of Grand County, from Swaseys Beach on the north to seven miles south of Little Valley Farms and two miles east of the Floy Wash interchange off Interstate 70, according to documents prepared by the Grand County Roads Department. A number of class B roads would be involved, as well as 30 miles of dirt roads, 10 miles of gravel roads, and 22 miles of paved roads. The proposed area also covers approximately 10,376 acres of private property, according to the document.
“I just don’t quite understand what they are doing, and there are procedures they have to follow, and we will have to follow some on our end,” said council member Jim Nyland. “But until we find out, we should oppose it.”
Ciarus said state law requires that each county with land in the proposed annexation area must be notified of the intent and given an opportunity to discuss and respond with their interest.
According the annexation policy plan, a petition to annex property may not be filed to propose annexation of an area located in another county outside the county where the annexation municipality is located unless the legislative body of that outside county adopts a resolution to propose the annexation.
“They can’t just run amok and annex without our consent... There are things that have to be done by this council even before there could be annexation... And there is a whole process they have to go through,” Ciarus said at the Aug. 7 meeting. “They haven’t even talked to Emery County about the annexation… I think they are doing what the city [Moab] was doing..., trying to lay out a city proposed municipality annexation area.”
Ciarus said he thought perhaps the proposed action was motivated by a tax scheme to incorporate the area designated for the proposed nuclear power plant and reap the consequent growth for Green River.
Black acknowledged there was intention in adding parts of Emery County to the annexation policy plan to include the industrial park. She said Green River officials fully expect that Emery County will be asking the city to provide services to that area.
The county council’s approved letter is just the first of two that will be drafted in opposition, according to council members, and is intended to serve as an “FYI” to the city of Green River. A public hearing has been called in Green River for Sept. 11 to discuss the annexation plan, and Grand County council member Audrey Graham said she will attend to observe.
The council will further draft another letter detailing their opposition to the proposed plan for expansion, as is required of the county by state law, according to Ciarus. The deadline for submitting those comments is Sept. 21, and the council will vote on the letter at their first meeting in October.
“I would like to hear from the department heads about their concerns to put in the letter,” said Graham. “There could be extra things besides the legal issues from [the county attorney] that could be important, such as the class B roads and such.”
Council member Chris Conrad said he thought the scope of the map was being misread and perhaps there were only 66 square miles of Grand County involved, although a clear answer to his assertion was not provided at the meeting. Grand County will review all the materials and comments from department heads over the next two weeks, officials said.