More than six dozen residents turned out at a meeting Tuesday night to learn about the so-called "Skier Connect Road" - a proposed road that opponents say would destroy businesses on 94th South and increase traffic in residential neighborhoods.
"The residents that showed up don't want it. They think it will affect the city, residential areas, traffic patterns" as well as hurt the community's tax base," said Joe Kadleck, president of the Coalition for a Better Sandy, which opposes the road.But Doug Thompson, Sandy City Chamber of Commerce president and backer of the proposal, maintains the road will help the city sell itself as the gateway to four major ski areas and would reduce traffic congestion and accidents on Seventh East and 94th South.
"Actually, we think it will enhance the shopping area and free up the congestion," Thompson said. "You take your life in your hands trying to turn on 94th South."
The $1.4 million road will connect 90th South to 94th South east of Seventh East. Proponents say the mile-long road would better serve skiers traveling to Little Cottonwood Canyon resorts. Opponents say the city has ignored its obligations and withheld information from residents.
The coalition has gathered more than 600 signatures and filed a 3rd District Court suit to prevent the south valley community from building the road.
The meeting in the Sandy Mall was set up to inform residents about the proposal that John Milliken, president of mall owner Sandy Development Partners, contends is illegal.
"The $1.5 million that's being used for this road is coming from the rehabilitation funds," which are paid by the additional five-cent tax the Utah Legislature added to the gas tax in 1987, said Milliken.
Additionally, Milliken said the city rezoned CPC Gravel Pit, which was supposed to be set up as a city park, for business and development use against the Sandy's master plan.
Thompson, however, said the land donated to the city from CPC is big enough for a park and a road, along with options for such developments as hotels and a college campus. And he said the options were included in the master plan.
"There will be a park there," he said. "There's quite a bit of land; it's 200 acres. You can't put it all in a park. What do you want to do, land airplanes?"
Michele Christensen, 9148 S. Morningview Drive, said she and her neighbors heard nothing about the proposed road that would pass behind her house.
"We've never received a notice. Nobody on our street's ever received a notice" about proposed hearings on the road that Christensen contends will reduce property values and increase traffic in a residential neighborhood.
But Sandy Mayor Steve Newton said, "To say that they didn't get notice is stretching it a bit, to say the least."
The mayor also said the plan to build the Ski Connect Road has "been on the street map and intended for at least 10 years."
"We want to help everybody we can," said the chamber president. "But where ever we put that road, somebody's gonna be hurt. It doesn't touch a single house."
The coalition filed an earlier request for a temporary restraining order that was rejected last June by 3rd District Judge Scott Daniels. Another hearing to halt construction is scheduled Tuesday morning before Daniels, said coalition attorney Jeffrey Appel.
Construction on the road began June 15 and will be completed in September, said Newton.