FARR WEST -- With many students living within walking distance of the new Wahlquist Junior High School, to be built at 2450 W. 2700 North, city council members recently approved a conditional-use permit for sidewalks in the area.
Council members discussed if and when sidewalks would be put in east of the school. Planning Commissioner Lou Best said the commission was recommending approval of the conditional-use permit, but said a sidewalk to the south of 2700 North also needed to be addressed by the council.
Jeff Hales, who represented developers of a subdivision planned near the school, said the sidewalk issue has not been resolved and asked council members for their opinion. He said developers were not opposed to putting in sidewalks if they have a purpose, but said if they don't flow and reach a destination there is no purpose.
"Eventually, down the road, I foresee there is going to be a sidewalk all the way through," said Councilman Tim Shupe. "Right now it's not happening, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't prepare for it. We don't need to put it in leading to nowhere."
Shupe said one solution could be leaving funds in an escrow account to put in sidewalks later.
A formal study done by the Weber School District, the city and the Weber County Sheriff's Office has the goal of safe avenues for children to get to and from the school, Councilman Tom Burkland said.
"It is a purposed walking school; it's a little odd to decide whether or not it needs sidewalks," he said.
Burkland said the council could study the issue, discuss the issue and make a decision or just go ahead and put the sidewalk in.
"It doesn't make sense to table it and wait for a study," Hales said.
Utah Department of Transportation has some involvement, with a bridge over the canal, Burkland said. Councilman Tim Shupe said the city may need to negotiate with UDOT as part of the sidewalk project.
Hales said children from nearby subdivisions, such as Farr West Meadows, will be walking to the new Wahlquist Junior High School and said he really did not know what to expect from the council as far as sidewalks are concerned.
Councilwoman Ava Painter reminded council members that the only decision they were currently voting on was the conditional-use permit, which was approved unanimously. Any decision on sidewalks was left up in the air, but Painter said the council was aware of the issue and would address it in the future.
Burkland said he liked the way the plans for the school were laid out and wondered whether some sort of picnic or bowery section could be included in 15 acres of grass in the area.