After a neighborhood meeting concerning resident complaints about the new Deer Hollow Detention Basin, the city council formed a committee to work with a landscape designer on ways to visually improve the site. Though city officials had answers for questions related to aesthetics, security and engineering, they had no response to complaints that residents were never informed of the project.
“I think there were missed opportunities for the city council to show good faith in the residents and sit down with us instead of seeking forgiveness later,” said David Carter, who lives near the partially constructed basin. “It could have turned into a real plus for the community,” instead of something that just came down.”
North Salt Lake City Manager Barry Edwards confirmed that residents were given no notice of the project, specifying that the city was not legally required to do so. The city first conceived of the project in 2011, as part of a larger effort to expand the city’s culinary water supply. According to a study done by the city at that time, the current water supply falls short of meeting the city’s needs by about 1,400 gallons per minute.
“We’re considering water restrictions,” said Edwards.
Initially, the plan was to use concrete to line the two detention reservoirs that were originally at Deer Hollow. When tests discovered that the original soil could not hold the weight of concrete and would fail, the city dug out all the original soil and began construction on a single, larger, aboveground basin. Edwards confirmed that there were no notices to inform the neighborhood of this change, or public hearings to listen to resident feedback.
Many of those residents got their chance to speak at the July 2 meeting. Some were worried about security concerns, which the city said will be answered by the fence and security cameras. Several residents also voiced aesthetic concerns.
“Essentially, you put in a concrete structure that’s no better looking than a warehouse,” said Chris Faddis, a resident.
These concerns will be the main focus of the committee, who are expected to present their ideas to the city council sometime next month. Options offered by the council include trees, ivy to cover the fence, and other means to disguise the fence.
Other residents, however, have more physical concerns for their house. North Salt Lake City Engineer Paul Ottoson said he would come by to look at resident Cindy Boyer’s home, who she said was damaged by the construction.
“The shaking, pounding and rattling of the earth may have compromised the foundation of my home,” said Boyer. “I have cracks in my baseboards that weren’t there before.”
Still, the two sides are working together to come to the compromise.
“I don’t think this thing’s going to go away,” said Carter. “It’s too big. But there’s mitigation that needs to be done.”