SYRACUSE -- City leaders want the Utah Department of Transportation to take one more look at an eliminated option for the West Davis Corridor before finalizing their recommendation for a preferred route through the city.
City council members agreed that city staff should contact UDOT to initiate discussion one more time about possible alternatives to a Bluff Road routing of the proposed highway through the city.
Bluff Road was the assumed corridor route for a number of years, until UDOT released its list of the final three options.
City leaders and residents were shocked to find the Bluff Road alternative was not among the options.
City leaders also talked about a fallback option should the Bluff Road discussion not gain any traction.
The proposed Bluff Road option would traverse wetlands, which some officials said was the reason it wasn't among the final options. The route would also go through a new city park, as well as skirt Glen Eagle Golf Course.
Facing a March 8 deadline for input, city leaders have scheduled a special city council meeting at 7 p.m. March 1 at City Hall to continue discussion about making a formal recommendation to UDOT for a preferred route through the city.
An early consensus from a Tuesday work session is that city leaders are leaning toward recommending option C, which goes through the middle of the city, should Bluff Road be off the table.
Several council members were reluctant to consider any of the three existing options, saying UDOT should stick to the Bluff Road corridor.
Councilmen Larry Shingleton and Matthew Kimmel suggested the city master plan could be a tool to force discussion of a different route for the roadway through the city.
They found little support for that concept.
"Let's pick the best alternative that meets our needs, and then fight the fight," Mayor Jamie Nagle said of the process.
Councilman Alan Clark pushed for a potential fallback option to the Bluff Corridor so the city would at least have some input into the possible final decision.
"We've got to play the game. We've got to have a convincing argument. We've got to have a game plan and say this is our recommendation," he said.
The work session included an hour of citizen input, with a number of people making a plea to avoid taking more farmland out of use in building the 24-mile highway that will connect Centerville to Ogden.
One of those was Charlie Black, of Black Island Farms, which has been part of the city since 1888.
He said consideration of wetlands isn't on par with farmland.
"Wetlands can be mitigated, farmland can't," Black said.
Dairyman Stan Hamlin said options A and B would affect his farm. He suggested the way he makes his living should be considered as important as someone's house.
Andrew Gatherum said he moved to Syracuse because he wanted to start a family in a farming community.
"You can't move a farm. You can't replace a farm. Houses can be moved, but a farm can't," he said.
Scott Hymas, CEO of RC Willey, also offered input, suggesting he was shocked to see UDOT's final three proposed routes through the city.
He said he would prefer the Bluff Road solution and that it has always been a challenge to get people to come to Syracuse from other Davis County communities.