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The City Journals

Residents at Odds with City Planners Over Bridge

Jun 10, 2016 09:45AM ● By Sandra Osborn

By Sandra Osborn / [email protected]

Residents of the Bison Ridge neighborhood rallied to voice their opposition to extending Bison Ridge Road over the Utah Lake Distribution Canal and connecting to 2700 West at the city council meeting on May 3.

The Bison Ridge neighborhood is located west of the canal at about 10600 South. For years residents have built and bought homes under the impression that the road stump would not be extended. Home developer Don Matthews from RDM Land & Development wants to convert the 6.5-acre lot to the east of the canal into a small neighborhood consisting of 16 single-family homes. The city code to “connect when possible” would require it to connect to the Bison Ridge neighborhood via a bridge over the canal. Neither the residents from Bison Ridge nor the developer want the bridge, but city planners insist that if the bridge were feasible, then it would be a requirement before the application is approved.

According to Brad Klavano, South Jordan City engineer, City leaders always intended to extend Bison Ridge Road to 2700 West, citing improved access to emergency vehicles and effective city planning. Fire trucks would gain an extra point of access to the neighborhood. Also, by making Bison Ridge Road a through street, traffic to 3200 West and South Jordan Parkway could be alleviated.

Residents of the current neighborhood see the extension as a safety concern rather than a traffic solution. A petition from the residents with 78 signatures was sent to each city council member. As it stands, the developer and the city would split the cost of the bridge, which some estimates put it between $300,000 and $600,000.

“My concern is for safety,” resident Tony Rasmussen said to the city council. “The steep road lends itself toward speeding, and there are so many kids playing on the street. Connecting the road will invite more speeding traffic seeking an alternative to 10400 South.”.

“Currently, there’s a barrier between the neighborhood and the canal,” resident Mark Forsyth said. “Access to the canal increases the risk of drowning.”

“The canal company has also expressed their concerns and strongly opposes the bridge at this location,” Jeff McMullen, resident and representative for the Utah Lake Distributing Company, said.

Council member Zander pointed out that the bridge could cause the children of Bison Ridge to lose their bus stop to Monte Vista Elementary once the road is extended.

Joel Marquez has children that attend Monte Vista.“That just makes it worse.” Marquez said. “I would rather drive in a round-about way than have my kid walk along 2700 West. That’s a very busy street.”

“I understand the city code to connect when possible, but it is very rare that we need to cross a body of water that is moving very quickly and which is also private property. It is not just about creating connectivity,” Matthews said.

While the motion in front of the council was simply to grant the rezoning permit from rural to low-density residential, council member Harris expressed concern that once approved, the council could not offer any more support to the residents of Bison Ridge. There is no opposition by the planning committee to the rezoning or the development, but the contingency of the bridge needs further review, according to Harris.

With the mayor and two other council members absent, a motion to table the item until the next meeting was passed in a 3-1 vote, with Zander casting the dissenting vote.