Howard v. Town of North Salt Lake
In Howard v. Town of North Salt Lake, 3 Utah 2d 189, 281 P.2d 216, 220 (Utah 1955), the petitioners filed a request for disconnection with the district court that "was not signed by the required majority of real property owners."
On the day of the hearing, several property owners filed motions with the court to intervene and add their names to the request for disconnection.
The district court allowed the property owners to intervene, thus providing the request for disconnection with the requisite majority of real property owners.
The Court overturned the district court's decision and held that the request for disconnection must be initially signed and filed by a majority of real property owners.
The Court stated that this was a statutory prerequisite for the court to have subject matter jurisdiction over the petition and that because the request for disconnection was not signed and filed by a majority of real property owners, the district court had no jurisdiction and no choice but to dismiss the petition without prejudice.
The Court reasoned that the Legislature included this majority requirement for purposes of notice--the need for residents to know "who is seeking to divide the town and . . . to know what counter-measures may be taken to preserve it intact."
If the court allowed property owners to add their names after the petition had been filed, the prerequisite and notice requirement that it intended to serve would each be rendered meaningless.