Most homeowners want government to stay out of their neighborhoods. But a group of concerned Sandy parents are asking the bureaucracy to step right into their back yards.
Residents of the Crescent Ridge Subdivision, near 11000 South and 300 East, want to be fenced in - literally.In fact, if the city or developers won't construct a fence protecting their children from the east Jordan Canal, citizens say they'll put up a barrier themselves.
"My feeling is that they (city officials and developers) have lost all common sense. We can see the canal from our homes, and we have a lot of little kids here," said Ava Nebeker, mother of two toddlers. "We absolutely need a fence out there, and who is responsible? As residents, we are willing to put the fence up and will hold a fund-raiser to do it."
The canal controversy has been getting muddier since construction on Phase 1 of the subdivision began about five years ago. Citizens then wanted to know if the canal - down the road from their lots - would be fenced off once the construction on Phase 2 homes began.
"We were assured by the planners five years ago that they couldn't drive a tractor into Phase 2 until they fenced it," said Jolene Currit, mother of five children, ages 3-12.
Assurances were apparently short-lived.
Trade West Development Corp. has purchased eight of the 29 plots in the so-called Phase 2 area. New homes are expected to be built by winter's end. The homes don't border the canal, but a gravel road, which will soon be paved, heads west, downhill within 200 feet of the waterfront.
Yet, there is still no fence around the canal - and there likely won't be one until Trade West or another developer purchases the rest of the property.
"Their intent is to fence it as soon as they own it," said Jerry Dinkelman, owner of Century 21-All West, who orchestrated the sale of the land to Trade West. "The area has been unfenced for eons. Until the development gets to that point, they (the citizens) have nothing to worry about."
Subdivision residents disagree, and on Tuesday they will take their case to the Sandy City Council.
Until now high weeds and thistle have kept children away from the swift-moving high canal waters. At least, for the most part.
In spring of 1988 when two 3-year-old boys wandered to the canal bank, citizen concern heightened.
Linda Dumas will never forget the day her son, Kyle, wet to his knees, told of his friend, David, pulling him out of the high water.
"I didn't sleep for three nights," said Dumas, who has fought since to get City Hall involved in the controversy.
"We feel we have done everything we can through government and have gotten no response. They have acted like, `If we don't answer them, they will go away,' " Nebeker said. "But it's not a political issue. It's a safety issue. Kids and water are like magnets. And now they can follow the yellow-brick (gravel) road to the canal."
What's the city going to do about the potentially hazardous situation?
Sandy City ordinances require that if a structure is built within 100 feet of the canal, it has to be fenced.
This "mini-development" of Phase 2 is more than 100 feet from the canal, as is the development's gravel road.
And Dinkelman is convinced that Trade West will have sufficient funds to purchase the remaining lots in Phase 2 by spring, when the canal water is again high.
It's drained each November and filled again in March - the same time the subdivision's 100-plus children catch their first case of spring fever.
By then, Dinkelman said, a fence will be up.
But Currit believes it will be at the city's - not the developer's - expense.
"My feelings are that, after we make a grandstand Tuesday night, the money will be given by Sandy City to fence the canal, which means that someone somewhere will not get a crossing guard or the sidewalk or road they need to protect their children," she said. "The builders get whatever they want."