To the editor:
Your editorial of Sept. 12 concerning the Sandy City "Skier Connect" road issue left out several important points which Sandy residents have a right to know.The editorial claims that business in the 700 East and 9400 South area would be cut by up to 30 percent. This is very questionable. When the 7200 South freeway exit was closed for three months a couple of years ago, the McDonalds Restaurant at that exit experienced a 7 percent loss of business.
Based on this hard data, the same owner of the McDonalds in this commercial area anticipates a slight decline of business at first when the Ski Connect Road opens, and then a substantial increase in business once traffic is able to get in and out of his business much more quickly.
His business is definitely impulse shopper oriented which is much more negatively impacted by reduced traffic than the rest of the commercial area which is primarily destination shopper oriented. A neighboring business owner also feels the lower traffic congestion will benefit his business due to much more convenient shopping.
The proposed road will alleviate commuter traffic and bring many from the north and south of Sandy back to this area. Additionally, the vastly improved traffic safety will bring untold savings from a decline in vehicular property damage.
The claim that there has been no forum to present the four alternative plans to Sandy City, is simply not true. I personally have spent several hours meeting with John Milliken, Cynthia Schoewe, and others of Price Development. Other council members and administration officials have met with them also, both in public and private settings.
As recently as Sept. 7, at Mr. Milliken's invitation the Sandy City mayor, City Council, and Chamber of Commerce officials met with Mr. Milliken and other concerned individuals to discuss this issue. Not once were any alternative plans presented. City Council members offered again to meet with these individuals to discuss any additional data, and urged such meetings occur before the Sept. 20 UDOT public hearing.
This issue has been studied and restudied since 1964 at the city, county and state levels. When the UDOT hearing is concluded, it is time to move forward one way or the other without additional delay.
Citizens have had opportunity for input through 10 public hearings from April 7, 1976, through June 7, 1988, and several neighborhood and other meetings as well. Their input and the concerns of the business community have been reflected in some of the most restrictive zoning in Sandy's history. This new zoning demonstrates sensitivity and concern for the interests and well-being of both residents and businesses in the area.
The new zoning does not preclude in any way the possibility of a large city park in the future and the ordinance specifically states this. Is there room for continued effort to enhance and protect the interests of the residents and businesses already established in this area? Certainly!
I, for one, will continue to be as diligent as possible in this regard. Hopefully the UDOT public hearing on Sept. 20 will give everyone, once and for all, an opportunity to hear other viewpoints and voice their interests.
Judge Daniels' injunction was for lack of a UDOT hearing and not for Sandy City's failure to comply with the public hearing process. Could Sandy City communicate more effectively in this regard? Most certainly! Perhaps we need to learn from others how to effectively use the media on this issue.
As we all become more informed concerning the skier connect road issue, hopefully there will be fewer misunderstandings and the less controversial it will become. It is my hope that the UDOT hearing will help achieve this purpose and that, whatever the outcome, we will pull together upon firmer common ground.
Dennis B. Tenney
Sandy City Council