It's called Sandy Beach. And for many Utah County residents it's the next best thing to Southern California.
But if a group of property owners get its way, it will soon be a closed beach.Located where the Spanish Fork River empties into Utah Lake, the beach is a popular recreational spot for hundreds of local residents.
On a hot day, dozens of sunbathers will cover the sand. On a hot night, dozens of partiers will litter the sand. Day or night, all-terrain-vehicle riders love the sand. To Utah County residents it's like having sand dunes next to the ocean.
But where there's fun there's also trouble. And those who own the beach and property along the road leading to the beach say they have had enough. They recently mailed the county a letter signed by all property owners asking that the road leading to the beach, called River Lane, be closed.
They say the beach has become a nuisance and the activities that go on there are dangerous. Drunken drivers, vandalism, trespassing on private property and late-night disturbances have become common, the more than 25 property owners say.
"Over the past few years, particularly the past three years, things have gotten out of reason," the letter says. "The large parties, drug dealing, random litter, rape and other various sordid activities all are incompatible with us, and we believe our natural resources.
"Because of these and other such types of activity, we plead to have the public stopped from going west at the north end of River Lane."
Two months ago a woman was paralyzed when two all-terrain vehicles collided on the beach. Also, the beach is a popular spot for truant high school students. One day last spring, sheriff's deputies where called to the beach to break up a party attended by more than 200 truant teenagers.
Utah County Sheriff Dave Bateman said it is difficult for deputies to patrol the beach. He agreed that the beach has become a popular spot for dangerous and illegal activity and that it should be closed.
"We make all kinds of arrests and write all kinds of tickets down there on a weekly basis," Bateman said. "But it's just far enough away that it's difficult to patrol all the time."
The property owners want the road closed where it starts running alongside the river, about a mile from the lake. The road used to end there but the county extended it to the lake in 1983 so it could maintain the river during the high-water years.
Whether the property owners' request is granted is up to the Utah County Planning Commission. The commission will consider the request at its May 21 meeting. If it determines the request is justified, it will recommend to the County Commission that the road be closed. If it denies the request, it will be up to property owners to keep trespassers off their property.