Wasatch County (Utah) residents won a key victory today in their attempts to throttle a proposal by Arizona carpetbagger Dean Sellers to transform an 8,366 acre parcel of the county into a modern day feudal barony for the apres-ski rich and privileged, as leaders of the community of Daniel agreed to accept for review their petition to be annexed into the community of Daniel. Full story just published December 3rd, 2007 in the Deseret Morning News.
The annexation petition submitted by a group of residents who don't want to belong to the proposed town of Aspen, Utah. Although just a preliminary step, the decision was met with applause by more than 110 residents of Daniel and unincorporated Wasatch County who attended the meeting.
Kasey Bateman, a resident who sponsored the annexation petition, said he's relieved by the council's decision. "My hard work has finally paid off," said Bateman, who, along with his wife and neighbors, circulated petitions to area residents and then submitted them to Daniel's recorder at 9:30 a.m. November 8th. That beat Arizona developer Dean Sellers' incorporation petition for Aspen by seven hours.
Sellers wants to build the town of Aspen on 8,366 acres in Daniels Canyon. After 35 years doing residential development in Arizona, he said, he wants this town to be his last hurrah, a chance for him to, as he put it, go "riding into the sunset on a white horse." He claims that Aspen, Utah, will give Aspen, CO, Vail, CO, and Park City, UT a run for their money. Sellers' town, which would include an 18-hole golf course and ski resort, would be built on grazing land above Daniels Canyon.
Click HERE to view map of proposed location.
Many of the residents of the three subdivisions — Crazy Acres, Tammy Lane and Storm Haven — that comprise all of Sellers' potential population scrambled to file an annexation petition by November 8th. It was the residents' third try, and it halted Aspen's progress. To incorporate, Sellers would need at least 100 residents inside the Aspen, Utah, boundaries. If the town of Daniel accepts the annexation petition, Sellers wouldn't have the required population.
Today's decision was just the first step in a month-long process of checking the annexation documents for accuracy, certifying the petition, weighing any protests to annexation and eventually holding a public hearing and final vote on annexation.
And of course, with the typical snobbery and contempt that the super-rich have for ordinary society, one of Sellers' hired dogs, an attorney named Steven Clyde, has denigrated the petition as being "sloppy" and "riddled with deficiencies."
"I'm not sure why Daniel would be willing to be used by these people outside of Daniel to fight their fight," Clyde said. Sellers has previously threatened to sue the city of Daniel if they refuse to grant his petition. [Ed. Note: This is an incredibly disingenuous statement. These people in the three subdivisions are Daniel's neighbors. The real outsider here is Clyde's boss, Dean Sellers.]
Commentary: This idea has raised a firestorm of protest since its initial public announcement, particularly amongst residents of the Wasatch Valley. Many have questioned whether another ski resort can be successful. Some have questioned whether the terrain itself is ideal for the type of ski resort to compete successfully with the other major resorts. Nearly everyone has panned the proposed name - Aspen - wondering why a state like Utah, with the "world's greatest snow", would need to steal a city name from Colorado.
Many residents of the targeted three subdivisions are also concerned about the possibility of their properties seized through eminent domain. While Sellers himself has disavowed any intent to do so, there's no guarantee the Aspen city government that he would organize would respect any promise made by Sellers.
Sellers states that he intends to create "mixed housing". However, he's implicitly admitted that he cannot guarantee housing affordable to the army of lower-wage service workers expected to be the lifeblood of the various concessions, since he also stated that he anticipated that those workers would commute from "elsewhere". And where's "elsewhere"? The Salt Lake Valley and the Utah Valley, 30-50 miles away. These commutes would add to traffic congestion and pollution. While both Parley's Canyon (I-80) and Provo Canyon (U.S. 189) have been significantly improved over the years, they are still winding mountain roads which can become slick and hazardous during the winter.
Dean Sellers' arrogance and snobbery have irrevocably poisoned the residents' attitude towards him. He will always be viewed as a carpetbagger. Sellers' idea needs to be shot down and Sellers himself sent riding off to the sunset on his "white horse" a little early.