FRUIT HEIGHTS -- Deep in the 100-acre woods is where Fruit Heights residents may lie -- permanently.
Utah's congressional representatives have introduced legislation that would transfer 100 acres of U.S. Forest Service land on the Davis County bench to Fruit Heights for use as a cemetery.
Fruit Heights currently has an agreement with neighboring Kaysville for burials, but because of the area's significant population growth, the city has been notified its residents soon will no longer be able to be buried in the Kaysville cemetery.
Fruit Heights has a population of about 5,800, up by about 1,800 since the 1990 U.S. Census figures, according to Davis County planning documents.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Reps. Rob Bishop and Chris Stewart, all R-Utah, have introduced legislation in both houses of Congress for the transfer.
"This legislation fulfills a basic need for the residents and city of Fruit Heights, as well as the neighboring communities," Hatch said in a prepared statement jointly released by the three members of Utah's congressional delegation.
"I'm going to work with (Bishop) and (Stewart) and ensure this common sense and necessary legislation gets signed into law as soon as possible," he said.
Because of space limitations in the city's 21-acre cemetery, Kaysville Mayor Steve Hiatt said, city ordinances were changed in 2011 allowing residents to purchase on a pre-need basis two cemetery plots per homeowner, while restricting nonresidents from doing the same.
Nonresidents are able to purchase burial plots in Kaysville only on an at-need basis, Hiatt said.
Kaysville has a population of 28,000, a figure that has more than doubled since 1990.
"Over 65 (percent) of the state of Utah consists of federal land, and therefore there is a finite amount of state and private land available to communities on which they can expand and grow," Bishop said.
"This poses unique challenges for communities like Fruit Heights, which currently has no local cemetery and is no longer able to rely on surrounding communities. With no other place to go, this small plot of forest service land is really the only option as they look to address their growing needs."
Fruit Heights Mayor Todd Stevenson said he is pleased with the efforts of the state's congressional delegation, but recognizes the legislation as the first step in the process.
Stevenson said the land is southeast of the city in the area of 1800 East and 800 South.
Hatch introduced similar legislation in the last session of Congress, but it did not come up for a vote.