A request by the League of Women Voters of Utah County to increase the number of public hearings on a supplemental environmental impact statement prepared for U.S. 189 sounds like a good idea to county commission Chairman Malcolm Beck.
Hearings on the impact statement, which will govern future highway development through Provo Canyon, are scheduled for Aug. 17 in Heber City and Aug. 18 in Provo.The hearings will give people an opportunity to tell state officials how they feel about proposed changes for the 30-mile stretch from the mouth of Provo Canyon to U.S. 40, south of Heber.
But two scheduled hearings don't "provide adequate time for community groups to thoroughly study the U.S. Highway 189 document," League of Women Voters President Linda R. Clark told the Utah Transportation Commission in a recent letter.
"Furthermore, many people are away from home in the month of August. The League of Women Voters supports the scheduling of public hearings when the public can most easily participate. We hope you will consider an additional public hearing essential for desired public input."
Because public comments will be accepted through Sept. 15, Clark said, an additional public hearing could be easily scheduled after the Aug. 18 hearing in Provo. She requested a second Provo hearing be scheduled Sept. 8.
"I have received several messages from various members of our community, stating that your scheduled meeting of Aug. 18, 1988 is too soon," Clark said in the letter. "My copies of the document did not arrive until July 27, 1988 despite my continued requests for immediate copies."
On Friday, Beck said, he will discuss the league's recommendation with Dan Nelson, UDOT District 6 director, and Wayne Winters, a member of the UDOT board of directors.
"We will try to talk them (state officials) into it because it took awhile to get that impact statement out," Beck said. He agreed with Clark that many interested people likely will miss the August hearings because of vacations, and that an added hearing in September is a good idea.
"The way they set it (the hearings schedule) up, it should have been done that way anyway," he said.
Public comments gathered at the hearings will be incorporated in a final impact statement, after which the state Transportation Commission and Federal Highway Administration will recommend one of four development alternatives that will govern future canyon highway improvements.
The study is available at the Orem and Provo public libraries, the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, the Utah County Commission offices and the Wasatch County Library in Heber City.