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What is a Referendum

In simple terms, it is a legal process to take a decision by a governing body and petition to get it to a citizen vote in a ballot.

It is important to note that by signing this petition you are saying you want the citizens of Highland to have a say in this by putting it on the 2021 November ballot. This also means you could agree or disagree at this point. But that you agree it should be a citizen vote and not a city council vote.

At the ballot time, you can vote for or against it. We just believe we all should have a say in it. Once the trails are sold, they are gone forever.

More…

Background Summary

As residents of Highland we enjoy ownership and access to miles of beautiful trails designed to connect neighborhoods, parks, and open space.  This design draws home buyers willing to pay more for properties here than in surrounding communities.  On 12/3/19 the outgoing city council narrowly approved a measure allowing the sale of trails within Wimbleton subdivision to adjacent landowners at far below market value. It should be noted one councilman who voted “yes” lives directly on the trail and personally stands to gain significantly from the purchase. This decision puts all Highland city trails and open space in jeopardy as it sets a precedent for trail disposal. These are existing, paved trails used year-round by residents and their children travelling to school or sports games/practices.  We submit this petition to allow a public vote on an issue impacting our entire city and its vision for an open, connected Highland.

Facts to consider:

Legality

Wimbleton trails constitute 6% of city open-space trails and are Highland City owned property. As such, the city must follow State Code in order to remove a trail.

Utah State Code:  10-9a-609.5 -Vacating a public street or city trail.

  • 4a) good cause exists for the vacation
  • 4b) neither the public interest nor any person will be materially injured by the vacation. 

We believe the December 3rd vote was in direct conflict with both state requirements for the disposal of trails. This leaves the city open to costly litigation.

The following unresolved items call into question the legality of the city council’s vote:

  1. Maintaining critical emergency access to sewer lines and drainage ponds located on land to be sold.
  2. Who pays the estimated $50,000-$60,000 for 2 required sump pumps, or to move a 4-inch water pipe on the north border of the property.
  3. Material injury to other open space community property owners. Research shows land in open space communities appraises 20%+ higher than in non-open-space communities. 
  4. Denial of public access to trails currently used for exercise, enjoyment, sports leagues, and commute.

More topics on the Legality.

Safety

These trails provide safer travel for children who use the trails daily to get to school and athletic events scheduled through the city at Wimbleton Park. Sidewalk travel carries increased risk as cars back in and out and as kids cross the street. (see Is the Trail Safer)

Fair Market Value

The approved price of $2.45/sq. ft. is far below market value for land in the area. No fair, legal appraisal was conducted to ensure Highland city and its residents get the appropriate price for land. (comparatively, Highland City recently sold “Open Space” land to Lehi for $6.29/sq. ft.). (See YouTube where Councilman Ostler speaks about fair market value and more https://youtu.be/eq7M7R7TpiY?t=16849 4:40:51 )

Maintenance

The city recently approved over $100,000 in additional funds (a 380% increase) for improved trail maintenance to address specific concerns expressed by Wimbleton subdivision residents (and other trails in Highland). This budget increase is the obvious and desired solution to the issue. Considering this increased budget, the city’s permanent disposal of open space assets is not only unnecessary but an irreversible mistake. (some more info: Trail Facts)