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The City Journals

Millcreek's attempt to annex northern Murray neighborhoods comes to an end

Feb 19, 2019 03:51PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Millcreek City is actively seeking to obtain Murray land, including Ivy Place shopping center. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals) Mentions: Ivy Place, Brickyard Plaza, Kmart.

By Shaun Delliskave|[email protected]

Millcreek wants Kmart, and it wants it bad. The newly formed city has its eyes on the land where the former Kmart building sits, (900 East and 4600 South), but it also has proposed annexing unincorporated neighborhoods south of the Van Winkle Expressway. Legislation that was being considered before the Utah State Legislature would have favored Millcreek in its attempt to grab incorporated areas of Murray if property owners wished annexation.

After much public discussion, Millcreek City Council, on Feb. 11, agreed to withdraw their support of House Bill 262 (HB262) sponsored by Republican Val Potter, from North Logan. The bill would allow for property owners in specific scenarios the opportunity of “transferring a substantially isolated peninsula” from one municipality to another. Cities losing land would not have the opportunity to consent or refuse. State law currently allows for citizen-initiated border adjustments to happen if both neighboring cities are in agreement.

City representatives from both Salt Lake City and Murray attended Millcreek’s meeting. Much of the uproar of HB262 was generated by Millcreek’s interest in incorporating Salt Lake City’s Brickyard Plaza into its borders.

Murray City also opposed HB262. According to Murray City Spokesperson Jennifer Heaps, “Murray believes the basis for HB262 is directed at the Brickyard area and is an issue between Millcreek City and Salt Lake City. Although HB262 does not immediately impact Murray City’s boundaries, it is feared that this could result in a ripple effect that forces annexation and boundary adjustments without Murray City’s involvement. Murray City believes that issues between cities should be resolved locally and not by the state legislature.”

Millcreek’s General Plan calls for annexing Salt Lake City’s Brickyard Plaza, Murray’s Ivy Place shopping district, and the entire area between 4500 South and Big Cottonwood Creek. Such property is indeed tax rich, and, therefore, that type of annexation would have a huge negative impact on Murray and Salt Lake City.

Map from a flyer distributed by Millcreek City to unincorporated residents in the highlighted area, informing them that Murray and Holladay do not want them and asking them to support annexation into Millcreek. (Millcreek City)

Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silverstrini met with Murray Mayor Blair Camp last year regarding the peninsula of Murray land that includes Ivy Place and Kmart, asking the city to consider a boundary realignment. Millcreek’s reasons for their proposal include squaring the boundaries, better long-term planning, reducing confusion for emergency response, and promoting better community identities. Silverstrini’s proposal also has a revenue-sharing component, which Millcreek has not yet defined.

The tax implications for the Ivy Place/Kmart peninsula north of Van Winkle include $21,000 a year for the General Fund, and a little over $5,000 per year for the library. This property is valued at over $14 million. Losing these properties would amount to over $26,000 in revenue loss for the city, and property taxes collected typically cover the services provided by the city in those commercial areas.

Millcreek’s General Plan also designates Murray’s neighborhoods north of 4500 South as a target for annexation. Technically, Millcreek has a peninsula boundary that stretches between Murray and South Salt Lake City to the Jordan River, which could, under HB262’s proposed definition, be impacted if the property owners choose to be incorporated into neighboring cities rather than stay in Millcreek. The ramifications of Millcreek’s plan would have a huge impact on Murray’s tax base, since these neighborhoods are mainly commercial areas.

Also of interest to Millcreek are the unincorporated areas that border Van Winkle Expressway between 900 East and 1300 East. A flyer was distributed by Millcreek City to residents in this area stating, “We’ve been told by Murray City and Holladay City that they aren’t interested in annexing your neighborhood, but we invite you to come home to Millcreek!” The flyer boasts that by joining Millcreek, property owners would have substantially lower taxes. Currently, a $165,000 home would be assessed $3,136 by Salt Lake County and $3,048 for Millcreek. However, in Holladay and Murray, the taxes would be even lower: $2,525 and $2,188 respectively.

The Murray City Council rejected Millcreek’s boundary request for Ivy Place in November. HB262 was presented as potential legislation in January; however, it was not introduced by a state representative from Millcreek. According to Heaps, “Murray City will follow state law if it receives an annexation/boundary request. In addition, Murray will continue to communicate with our neighboring cities as we have done in the past to resolve differences.”

Millcreek’s General Plan can be found online at