City officials are holding off making decisions on proposed annexations and zone changes, saying that - like Lehi residents - they want growth but in an orderly fashion.
For the second time in as many months, the City Council voted unanimously to table indefinitely the proposed annexation of approximately 20 acres near Lehi Junior High School as well as a request for a zone change for 36 acres in the same area from agricultural and commercial uses to residential. The council also voted to table action on a proposed 34-lot development and on a proposed 52-acre annexation.The annexations and zone change proposals - along with other actions the council has approved this year - could have brought as many as 700 to 800 new homes into Lehi. That would have been a nearly 40 percent increase in Lehi's residential size.
Mel Frandsen, the developer for the 80-plus acres proposed for annexation on the city's northeast side, said he intends to comply with city ordinances. Connections charges and other fees the city requires for home builders will take care of any improvements needed in utility systems, he added.
However, according to a preliminary utilities usage study by City Engineer Lorin Powell, the combined annexations would cost the city considerably in either the purchase of new water sources or in utility line upgrades.
"It's just more growth than we've ever experienced," Powell said. "The bottom line is there may be too much of an impact at one time."
Besides the obvious utility concerns, residents and council members alike questioned whether schools and other services could be seriously affected.
Nick Franklin, a schoolteacher and resident, said any approval action "would be premature," until the council has amended its master plan to include such a large strain on city services.
Franklin added that the annexations could bring in as many as 2,700 new students into Lehi's schools.
"While I'd appreciate you keeping me in work for quite some time, that's quite a strain to put on our schools, which aren't equipped to handle that kind of load."
Councilman Johnny Barnes said the city will have to hire three additional full-time police officers to handle the increased load on protection services.
"Just as we say yes or no on such actions, we need to seriously take a look at all the issues," Barnes said. "There's obviously a lot more to these actions than it appears on the surface."
As he did previously, Mayor Guy Cash withdrew from taking any action on the proposals. Cash serves as the selling agent for Jess Peck, who owns much of the northeast property.
Cash also told the council he is acting as the agent for Doug Polhemus, who owns property that will be coming up for council and planning commission action.