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People in Magna and Copperton are not at all happy that Kennecott does not want to be part of their townships.

Millcreek residents feel Suicide Rock and the Grandeur Peak trailhead should be included in their township. Mill Creek Canyon, too. "It is the heartbeat and soul of our community," said resident Jemina Keller.

Sandy and Cottonwood Heights both are interested in annexing the Willow Creek community, and also have come up with a plan where they could divide it up based on the ease of delivering services in the winding neighborhoods.

But plenty of Willow Creek people don't want to join either city, and the idea of subdividing the community doesn't go over well either. "I want us to remain as one unit," observed David Green.

Opinions were numerous and deeply felt — and there was plenty of confusion as well — Tuesday evening as Salt Lake County Council members held a public hearing on what the boundaries should be for the six townships and 44 islands of unincorporated land that will be included in a "community preservation" election Nov. 4.

No decisions were made at the three-hour session, which attracted an overflow crowd that spilled out of the County Council chambers into the atrium of the County Government Center.

A second public hearing will take place June 30 at 6 p.m. Two weeks later, the council is expected to finalize the boundaries that will appear on ballots when voters go to the polls in November.

Township voters will be given a choice of whether to become a city or a metropolitan township. The choice facing residents of the islands is to either stay unincorporated or annex into an adjacent city.

This process, launched by legislative approval of county Mayor Ben McAdams' "Community Preservation Act," was derided by some speakers for doing just the opposite by paring back the existing boundaries of the townships.

"This is not community preservation. This is community severation," Keller said of any plans to take Suicide Rock, Grandeur Peak's northwestern flank and Mill Creek Canyon out of the township.

Suicide Rock and Grandeur Peak had not come up in previous discussions. McAdams' proposal for Mill Creek Canyon is to have it removed from the township and included within a mountain planning district — currently being developed by the county — along with Parleys, Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood canyons.

His idea is that those canyons are important to residents valleywide and should be governed on that broad basis, rather than leaving control of each canyon to the governmental entity at its mouth.

But Millcreek residents at Wednesday's hearing were emphatic that they had the greatest interest in ensuring the canyon and foothills were well managed.

While significant, the ardor of the commentary about Millcreek's borders was not nearly as vehement as that regarding Willow Creek.

"I don't want to become part of the debt of Cottonwood Heights or Sandy," said Michelle Greer, one of many Willow Creek residents who expressed a desire to keep their community intact and remain part of the unincorporated county.

"Hands off, bozo," added Cindy Deckard. "I am adamantly opposed to the division of our neighborhood and annexation to either of these towns. We don't need to encourage building their mayors' kingdoms."

On the west side, Magna and Copperton residents were dismayed that Kennecott had asked to stay outside of their townships, greatly reducing their acreage to areas where residential development now exists.

Councilman Jenson, who is from Magna, said much of Kennecott's removed property is undevelopable mill tailings, but he shared residents' concerns that the proposed boundaries separate Magna from its traditional ties to Saltair, the Great Salt Lake marina and the Magna Gun Club.

"Are they going to change the [gun club's] name?" questioned Elias Bishop.

Over in Copperton, Town Council member Kris Johnson said taking Kennecott's property out of the township deprives the community of control over its cemetery along with the stadium and football field at the old Bingham High School.

Jonathan Cook added that if the county goes along with Kennecott's desires, Copperton "will end up as an unincorporated island like those out in Sandy."

Responded Jenson: "I hope Kennecott hears these concerns and makes adjustments to the maps."