During a two-hour public hearing followed by more than one hour of council discussion, Kaysville City Council members heard from their counterparts in Fruit Heights and residents of both communities along the streets mentioned in the proposed agreement.
Representatives from the Fruit Heights and Kaysville Citizens' Coalition threatened Kaysville City with a lawsuit if Kaysville did not deny the permit or table the issue until further information was available.
All five members of Kays-ville's Council participated in the vote despite a request that one city council member, Chris-topher Snell, recuse himself from the vote due to family ties with engineers on Fruit Heights' city staff.
"I don't feel pressured by anyone in my family or my extended family to vote a certain way in this," said Snell. He was encouraged by fellow council members and the mayor to participate in the vote, and cast his vote in favor of the agreement.
"I have worked with Chris for many years on this council, and I would not question his integrity," stated Mayor Brian Cook.
The denial of the proposed interlocal agreement will not prevent Kaysville's City Coun-cil from pursuing an alternative agreement with Fruit Heights at a future date when and if more information becomes available.
Several Kaysville council members expressed hope that more information will be available as a result of studies commissioned by the council to provide information that would facilitate an educated decision. Information the Kaysville Council hopes to gather may include information on traffic patterns and community im-pact.
"I am an accountant, and I don't know how traffic works. I have to be told how it works," said council member Gil Miller prior to voting against the agreement.
In addition to requesting more information, council members voting against the agreement expressed concern over wording in the agreement that may not give Kaysville City enough power over the design and development of the connecting road.
"If this governing body does not have approval power over the road design, I am not inclined to approve this document," said Miller. "In general, I like the idea of open roads."
Residents spoke out on both sides of the issue.
Those in favor were concerned that the barriers along Laurelwood, and the lack of access to Fruit Heights from Center Street, have prevented Kaysville emergency responders from responding to fires and medical emergencies in a timely manner. Incidences of fires and accidents have brought the lack of access to the attention of many residents. Although officials be-lieve that increasing access may speed up response time one to two minutes, emergency re-sponders would most likely continue to use 200 North for primary access as other roads are generally too narrow for larger vehicles like fire trucks and contain stop signs.
Those against the agreement had many reasons for waging their battle. Center Street is a relatively narrow road, not designed to handle significant traffic, they said. It is also designated as a local street in Kaysville's master plan. Residents have measured the road as approximately 32 feet wide, barely wide enough for two cars heading in opposite directions to safely pass. In the winter, snow plows push snow off to the side of the road, further reducing the width by four more feet and sometimes covering sidewalks in snow drifts. Children walking along Center Street are often forced to stumble through deep drifts in the winter time, causing them to fall into the road or simply walk in the road for several months of the year.
With the potential increase in traffic due to the opening of the road, many residents are convinced children will be injured and even suffer. "What would you do if it was your child? What would you do if it was your street?" asked one Kaysville resident of the city council.
Residents told council members that 100-150 children cross the road each school day. Due to the increased traffic danger, some parents anticipate they will drive their children to school rather than allow them to walk, thereby increasing traffic congestion in front of local schools.
In addition to increased traffic, Kaysville's council and members of the affected communities cited problems with underground pipelines, road grades, and emergency vehicle access as reasons to deny the agreement. There may be economic concerns as well. Increased traffic on the road may lead to increased wear and tear, lower home values and therefore lower revenues from property tax, and additional safety measures may make such a venture very expensive for Kaysville City, it was noted.