Huntsville Town and the Ogden Valley Incorporation Effort

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Guest Commentary: Richard L Sorensen, Mayor, The Town of Huntsville

A hundred years ago, in 1923, forward-looking Huntsville residents took a valiant stand and voted to incorporate as the Town of a Huntsville. The incorporation was finalized in 1924. With history on their side, those residents were able to look back at some of the mistakes made just a couple of decades earlier.

Huntsville was originally incorporated in 1903, but dissolved just six years later, in 1909, essentially financially insolvent. While we don’t know all the reasons our forefathers chose to reincorporate a hundred years ago, one would guess that rapid growth and property development were not the issue in the years leading up to the depression. However, the desire for a local voice with local governance and decisions, were probably high on the wish list. I believe the petitioners for incorporation share those desires. Funding for a water system was also a key factor of that early reincorporation drive.

Fast forward a hundred years, and our forefathers would not recognize Ogden Valley. Once a Mecca for farming and agriculture, our open spaces are dwindling, as many farmers have been forced to sell. Our landscape has forever changed, and our beautiful valley has been discovered. Despite regular updates over the past year or so in The Ogden Valley News, many Ogden Valley residents were surprised to receive letters recently from the Lieutenant Governor’s office detailing the newly proposed area for incorporation. Some Huntsville residents were left concerned since the incorporation map appeared to include incorporated Huntsville town. I can assure you that Huntsville Town is going nowhere and will remain autonomous.

The town owns property in unincorporated Weber County (green waste/landfill, water plant, etc.), and we also received letters from the Lt. Governor’s office.


Nearly one year ago, the proposed city organizers met with Huntsville Officials to present and discuss their plans. Their first question was, “Would Huntsville like to team up and expand its borders to encompass the entire valley?” Our reply was, “No, but thank you.”

While we liked the idea of local control and representation, we didn’t feel that the Town of Huntsville could adequately provide the services necessary to grow from a small town of 650, to a city of nearly ten times that amount. Our citizens like living in and being part of a small town. Incorporation organizers have reached out several times over the past year to update us on their progress, and we have appreciated the open dialogue and their desire to coexist. While I personally support their efforts, that is not to say that I don’t have some concerns about our town becoming an “island,” surrounded by another city.

Huntsville has recently updated our annexation plan, which is essentially a wish list of areas and properties we may consider annexing in the future. The new plan includes areas to the north, east, and south of our current boundaries. While there are pros and cons to expanding our borders through annexation, we have chosen to proceed with great caution. As previously mentioned, we are concerned about being able to adequately provide services and water to a larger area.

The newly revised annexation plan may ultimately become a moot point, because if we choose to proceed with annexation, then the expansion would need to be completed prior to the new city’s proposed boundaries being approved and recommended by the Lt. Governor’s office.

I am hopeful that these details will alleviate some of the concerns of our residents. 


Richard L Sorensen

Mayor, The Town of Huntsville