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Riverton has abandoned an annexation that nearly doubled the city's size because it didn't collect enough signatures and part of the annexation was illegal.

Riverton City Attorney David L. Church told members of the Salt Lake County Boundary Commission in a letter that the county's protest of the annexation was "well-founded."The annexation violated state annexation law because a majority of the property owners in the affected area did not sign a valid petition. The annexation also created a small island of unincorporated county within Riverton's boundaries.

Church said Riverton was "abandoning this particular effort at annexation and will be pursuing at the request of the property owners, annexation of this territory as part of a larger annexation and will start the process over according to law."

Riverton City Administrator William Way said the city will start from scratch. The plans for the new annexation will most likely be larger and more squared off than before.

"We're going to begin efforts again to discover who it is that wants to be in Riverton and who does not," Way said.

The Riverton City Council has yet to rescind the annexation, so the Boundary Commission unanimously voted to disapprove it Thursday.

The land - a long peninsula between 3600 West and 5600 West and from 11800 South to 14200 South - cuts diagonally with irregular borders through unincorporated Salt Lake County.

The City Council annexed the parcel and a smaller piece of land that was not in question in April. In all, the city annexed nearly 2,000 acres.

Shortly after, the Salt Lake County Attorney's Office filed the protest because Riverton residents were not given a chance to respond each time boundary plans for the annexations changed.

The county contended city leaders modified the plans, called a policy declaration, without having a new public hearing. It also questioned the validity of the signatures collected.

The protest, filed in April, called the border "illogical."

Herriman residents filled the Riverton City Hall in April complaining that the annexation was not what those who lived in unincorporated Salt Lake County wanted. Petitioners had already begun to gather signatures to form a Herriman township.

When the annexation was passed by the City Council, it appeared that Herriman's hopes of forming a township were dimming. This may breathe new life into that process.

Way said the two do not have to be exclusive of each other.

"If Herriman wants to be a township, they certainly have a right to determine their destiny. But there are people in that area that want to be in Riverton, and they have a right to determine their destiny," he said.

The petitions were invalid simply because of too few signatures, Way said. But, since the petitions went to the the county in April, more signatures have actually been collected.

"We actually believe we have an adequate number of signatures in the area," he said. "We're going to be very methodical about it . . . and communicate with the county all the way along."