KAYSVILLE – Two of the three steps necessary to acquire land for a future school here were taken on Tuesday, in votes by the Davis School Board.
The third step, which required the support of the Kaysville City Council, has been put on hold for at least another two weeks to allow school officials to work with neighbors and the developer over traffic concerns.
At a meeting Tuesday evening, members of the Davis School Board voted to approve the purchase of land south of 200 North and west of Bonneville Lane in Kaysville for a new elementary school. At the same time, they voted to approve the sale of district land near Ellison Park Elementary in Layton to Henry Walker Homes, the developer that currently owns the Kaysville land.
Later that night, Kaysville City Council members listened as a dozen homeowners detailed their fears about the property proposed for the school, most of which centered around access.
The west side of the proposed school lot borders the land designated for the West Davis Corridor. As now platted, two roads off of Bonneville Lane would provide access to the school. Those two roads are just a few houses apart and both go from east to west. Other roads abutting the school according to current plans, end in cul-de-sacs.
In a detailed Power Point presentation, resident Tim Hallows compared access to other Kaysville elementary schools to the limited access at the Bonneville and 200 North site. He called it a “funnel school,” adding, “there’s nothing like it in any other school.”
Hallows pointed out problems with cross walks and maintained that the existing streets weren’t wide enough for buses to turn in to if traffic was coming out.
School district officials had met with homeowners around the site and had redrafted the layout of the school property, adding a one-lane road around the perimeter to help with traffic flow for buses and cars dropping off and picking up children.
Still, neighbors were concerned. Some were emotional, questioning the wisdom of placing a school so close to the future highway. Some opposed the lot sizes of homes around the school because they were smaller than originally laid out. One challenged the city councilors, asking them whether or not they had something to gain from a school being built on that land. They each answered that they did not.
“We have tried to make the best of this,” said Chase Rogers, director of plans and operations for the district. The most important consideration when siting a school, he said, is “location, location, location.” Schools need to go where their “customers,” in this case, students are.
“We’ve approached every owner and every developer to find a better solution,” he said. “Is it bad, no. Is it perfect, no.”
Mayor Steve Hiatt said he considers the site a terrible location for a school, but recognized it would most likely need to be the place.
He and other city council members expressed interest in a solution proposed by Hallows, which would allow for an exit going north from the school through what is now platted as a lot for a home, onto 200 North. Because it would turn right only and merge with 200 North, it wouldn’t harm traffic flow coming east after leaving the West Davis Corridor, according to Hallows.
City leaders were adamant that they didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize an intersection or off-ramp from the corridor to 200 North.
The city tabled their decision and asked Rogers to work with homeowners and the developer and return with a plat map that would improve traffic flow and access around the school.