FRUIT HEIGHTS -- Fruit Heights may be the resting place for a new cemetery.
The city is midway through the arduous process of having a bill passed that would allow the U.S. Forest Service to convey a 100-acre parcel of land on the east side of Fruit Heights to the city.
The process began nearly four years ago when Mayor Todd Stevenson and city council members began working with then-Sen. Bob Bennett, and later Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop, who helped draft the bill, referred to as The Fruit Heights Land Conveyance Act.
"Cemetery space is becoming critical for the community at large where Kaysville is restricting access to their cemetery and Farmington not allowing nonresidents for the same reason," Stevenson said. "We hope they will recognize the transfer of land from one government entity to another."
Stevenson presented his testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources and the Subcommittee on Public Lands in April. The bill was adopted and is now awaiting a calendar date to be reviewed by the House of Representatives. If the bill is passed there, it will move on to the Senate, and if approved there, will be submitted to the president.
"It is a lot of hurry up and wait," said Stevenson, referring to the process of quickly getting the necessary information turned in, and then waiting for the next step. "My personal hope is that it will be resolved before the end of the year."
Fruit Heights has increased from 800 residents in 1970 to more than 5,000 in 2010, according to city records. Providing a cemetery for residents has been a concern of the city council for some time.
"For many years, our city leaders have often discussed their desire for a cemetery, but other pressing needs, such as public health and safety, have prevented action. But as other communities begin restricting access to their cemeteries, our sense of urgency has increased immensely," the mayor said.
The city realized it had very few placement options for a city cemetery, because it is landlocked to the north, south and west by neighboring cities.
The House bill would require that the land conveyed to the city be used for public purposes only.
Fruit Heights has recently created an Open Space Zone ordinance prohibiting development in those protected areas, including the parcel considered in the House bill, according to city officials.