KAYSVILLE -- The city council has voted unanimously to permanently close a small, unfinished portion of Center Street to vehicle traffic.
The council voted to vacate the property, which is currently a grassy area between 760 East and the eastern boundary of the city, a distance of approximately 143 feet, with an easement for utilities and an 8-foot-wide fenced public walkway.
Councilman Gil Miller abstained from the vote because he owns property in the neighborhood involved.
The Center Street property is currently an unfinished section of a Kaysville public right of way leading to Fruit Heights. Both cities have roads that meet up with the property, but Kaysville has been reluctant to connect them because of the increased traffic that would result.
The issue has caused a 37-year ongoing debate between Kaysville and Fruit Heights and has been the source of much contention among neighbors.
The decision was made after a recent traffic study gave both cities projected numbers of the resulting traffic flow on neighboring streets should the connection be made.
Kaysville was unhappy with the potential increase of more than 1,000 cars per day on Center Street, a narrow residential street that students use to access both Kaysville and Burton elementary schools.
Fruit Heights was adamant that the connection should be made for emergency services. Therefore, Kaysville agreed to create a pathway wide enough for a fire truck to drive through.
The asphalt pathway will be secured with locked, manually operated swing gates on either end to prevent vehicles from using the throughway. The gates will resemble those the city currently has in place along the D&RGW Rail Trail.
Emergency responders will have keys to the gates to open them in case of an emergency.
"In a way, I feel like this may be an improvement over what we already have," said City Councilman Ron Stephens. "The sheriff mentioned that occasionally you have an emergency that rises to this level. I think it would be very, very difficult the way the situation is now to get a vehicle down through there. So, to me this seems like a step in the right direction."
Mayor Steve Hiatt told those attending the council meeting:
"There's been a lot of history behind this issue for a really long time ... I do believe that those elected to represent Kaysville have done their homework. Whether they voted the way you wanted them to or not, that's the elective process."