KAYSVILLE -- A 37-year disagreement about the connection of Kaysville's Center Street and Fruit Heights' Country Road has come down to two possible options: vacating the property with pedestrian access or vacating the property with pedestrian and emergency vehicle access.
Kaysville City Council was presented with an ordinance Tuesday night that would have vacated a 143-foot parcel of Center Street between 760 East and the eastern boundary of Kaysville. The ordinance reserved the right of an easement for an 8-foot pedestrian walkway.
The ordinance failed to pass by a 3-2 vote, with Councilman Gil Miller abstaining because he owns property on Center Street. Mayor Steve Hiatt casted the deciding nay vote.
Hiatt and Councilmen Ron Stevens and Jared Taylor all cited concerns regarding unexplored pros and cons of opening the road for emergency vehicles.
After further discussion, the issue was tabled for two weeks to give both cities an opportunity to research the possibility of connecting the roads with a single-lane gated road, which could be accessed only by emergency vehicles.
"The only thing left on the table tonight, the only thing that we are going to consider in two weeks, is whether or not emergency access is needed," Hiatt said. "Center Street is not going to be connected. I think we've made that pretty clear tonight. It's closed, and it's not opening in the future. Whether or not we allow emergency access is the only thing that is being postponed."
Fruit Heights wanted the roads connected to accommodate two-way traffic; however, the land is in Kaysville city boundaries, so the final decision lies with that council.
Fruit Heights argues that opening the road would help disperse traffic, decrease traffic in front of Burton Elementary School, and increase emergency response times in the area. Fruit Heights is served by Kaysville City Fire Department.
Kaysville argues that Center Street is too narrow to handle the increase of more than 1,000 cars per day, traffic in front of Kaysville Elementary would increase, and emergency response times in the area are already sufficient.
Prior to Kaysville's vote on the proposed ordinance, Fruit Heights Mayor Todd Stevenson presented the city council with four possible options -- in order of preference -- that would appease his city.
The first option asked for the traffic connection to be completed between Country Road and Center Street.
Stevenson said Fruit Heights would pay for the improvements to make any connection and would work with traffic engineers to calm increased traffic flow in the area.
The second option asked to complete the connection for emergency traffic only until Country Road and Raymond Road access is terminated at Highway 89.
The third option was to complete the connection for one-way eastbound traffic.
The fourth option was to complete a single-lane traffic strip for emergency traffic only.
After hearing Stevenson's proposal -- as well as 21/2 hours of public comment -- Kaysville council members were all opposed to the first three options of opening the road for regular vehicular traffic.
A discussion ensued in which Stephens and Taylor saw a potential need for emergency access, restricted by a gate triggered by sirens.
Councilman Brett Garlick argued that emergency vehicles would not use Center Street, as it is a residential area with stop signs at every other intersection. He pointed out that they would more likely use 200 North, where there are no stop signs and few stop lights.
Stephens argued that even if the connection were used only once, and the result was successful, it would be worth it.
Councilman Mark Johnson stated that although opening the road would decrease the traffic in front of Burton Elementary, it would increase the traffic behind the school, as well as increase traffic for nearby Kaysville Elementary.
Many citizens that attended the meeting, as well as members of the city council, were all hoping for closure of the long-standing issue.
The Kaysville council members asked Fruit Heights to bring a proposal to their next council meeting in two weeks. The council plans to research the issue and its impacts on Kaysville residents.
-- Standard-Examiner correspondent Dana Rimington contributed to this report.