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The City Journals

Neighborhood up in arms over proposed Murray subdivision

Nov 05, 2020 12:21PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Neighbors fear extending Willow Grove Lane to Tripp Lane will bring excessive traffic. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave|[email protected]

A west Murray neighborhood is upset about a proposed subdivision near Riverview Junior High School. At the center of contention is the road that would connect Tripp Lane, which the junior high sits on, with Willow Grove Lane, a new subdivision bordering the proposed property.

In the Sept. 15 Murray City Council meeting, nearby resident Steve Fidel told the council, “In my 20 years living about a 100 yards away from the proposed development, I believe connecting Willow Grove to Tripp Lane would do nothing to alleviate current traffic congestion around Riverview Junior High along Tripp Lane but would create a new safety hazard for pedestrians going to and from both Riverview and Viewmont Elementary.”

The property in question sits west of the Riverview Park baseball complex. Formerly farmland, it was acquired by NeighborWorks Salt Lake, a nonprofit organization that works to revitalize neighborhoods. 

NeighborWorks proposes a 10-lot, single-family detached residential subdivision. The property is located in the Single-Family Residential (R-1-8) Zone. Murray City Power owns part of this property on the north end. Murray City Power will dedicate the property to Murray City for Tripp Lane to be extended into the development.

One point of contention is the proposed connection of Willow Grove Lane, which dead-ends at the property’s border to the south. A small parking strip leads to a pedestrian accessway to the park and is privately owned. 

That strip of property would need to be taken by the city using eminent domain, or the city would have to purchase the property for a road to be connected fully to Willow Grove Lane. The city engineer approached the owner about buying that property; however, they are not interested in selling. The city council would have to approve the use of eminent domain before acquisition takes place.

Consequently, many neighbors have expressed concerns that Tripp Lane would bring significant traffic through the Willow Oaks subdivision, especially those whose destination is the two nearby schools. 

Presently, to drop off students who live west of those schools, residents must either utilize Bullion Street or Green Oaks Drive.  

Willow Oaks subdivision resident Emily Barnett told the city council, “…this plan will overwhelm my peaceful neighborhood and the future subdivision with traffic by moving school traffic off high-volume roads. Willow Grove Lane would see an increase of 200-300% in traffic along the safest walking route for the children in this area. This will lower the value of my property and do nothing to help alleviate the issues on Tripp Lane, as there is still only one access point into each school lot.”

At the July 16 city planning commission meeting, Murray City Community and Economic Development Supervisor Jared Hall told the commission that although cul-de-sacs can be preferable in some instances, they limit connectivity. Adding 10 lots will not require the applicant to do a traffic study. Hall said that this is a case of changing traffic patterns in the area instead of increasing traffic. If this proposal ends up being a cul-de-sac due to the road not going through, Murray City planners recommend that utilities and pedestrian access still be provided through to Willow Grove Lane. 

Not all residents oppose linking the two roads. Lucinda Milne told the commission, “We are definitely happy the road is going through. That’s what was in the plans when we did our subdivision many years ago, and so we are glad it’s finally coming through.”

The planning commission unanimously approved the NeighborWorks proposal. The city council will deliberate on the final proposal in a future council meeting.

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