WASHINGTON CITY — Washington City grew by over 1,500 acres Wednesday night as the City Council unanimously voted to annex the area known as Long Valley.
The council had previously approved an annexation proposal for Long Valley from Brennan Holdings LLC in April. Brennan Holdings is the second-largest property owner in the annexation zone with 605 acres. State law allows a group that owns over a third the proposed area to submit an annexation application for a wider area.
The largest property owner within the area is the Bureau of Land Management, which holds 753 acres. However, public lands aren’t necessarily counted in annexations under state law.
Jim Raines, who represented Brennan Holdings in the council meeting, said the BLM land was included due to city annexation policy of not allowing for the creation of islands or peninsulas of isolated property within the proposed area.
Raines also previously stated that the BLM is largely neutral on annexation.
The annexation zone also includes two smaller private property owners who support their land becoming a part the city.
The Long Valley annexation is located in the area of 3380 E. Washington Dam Road south to Long Valley Road, according to Washington City documents.
Brennan Holdings’ land is just off the Southern Parkway about 1.5 miles from the St. George Regional Airport, 6 miles east of St. George and between Washington Dome and Warner Ridge.
Bob Brennan, of Brennan Holdings, acquired the 605 acres in January 2017 in a land exchange with the BLM for property he held within the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. It was a process that took over nine years to complete, Raines said.
Brennan’s property is planned to be a master development called The Trails at Long Valley, Raines said. The development is slated to host 200 building lots and sport a $7.5 million clubhouse.
One reason Brennan Holdings wanted the land annexed into Washington City was because it was already part of the city’s long-term annexation plans, Raines said. He also said the city was the best option for supplying municipal services to the area.
Councilwoman Kolene Granger asked Drew Ellerman, the city’s director of community development, about the pros and cons of annexation.
One advantage of annexation is the increase of taxable property the city can draw from, Ellerman said. As for a drawback, he said if there is one, it’s the increase in demand for city services applied to the new area, although he said it’s not much of an issue.
The annexation of county land into a city is also supported by Washington County, City Manager Roger Carter said, as a city is better suited to accommodate growth and provide accompanying services.
“Municipalities are set up to deal with growth,” Carter said. “We are also the best suited to serve (residents) versus the county.”
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