Facing a public hearing to determine whether the so-called "Ski Connect" should be built, city and Chamber of Commerce leaders are trying to counter opposition to the road by area business owners.
The hearing, which will be conducted by the Utah Department of Transportation, is scheduled for Sept. 20. On Friday, opponents of the road are scheduled to outline their concerns before the Utah Transportation Commission.The Coalition for a Better Sandy, organized by the owners of the Sandy Mall, has purchased a full-page ad in a local newspaper and is distributing brochures questioning the need for the road.
Both the ad and the brochure urge Sandy residents to attend the public hearing on the road that was ordered by 3rd District Judge Scott Daniels after the coalition sued both UDOT and the city to stop construction.
Coalition lawyers had successfully argued that the public hearings legally required before a decision on the road could be made were never held. Proponents of the road have said the project had been planned for years.
The Sandy Mall and other businesses at the busy intersection of 94th South and Seventh East say they stand to lose some 30 percent of their customers. The Sandy Mall is currently in the midst of a multimillion-dollar expansion project.
With the help of the city, the Sandy Chamber of Commerce is printing and distributing a 31/2-page information sheet on the Ski Connect labeled "The Facts" to allay some of the concerns raised by the coalition.
The chamber, which has supported the road from the beginning despite opposition from some businesses, reaffirmed that position Wednesday when directors voted 14-1 in favor of the road. One director abstained.
The information sheet points out that developing a new east-west route through the city to ease commuter congestion is a top priority. The road would connect 90th South and Seventh East with 94th South near 1150 East.
That location, according to the information sheet, was determined to be the cheapest and least disruptive place to put the road, since there were only a few property owners to deal with.
And some of them, including the owner of a gravel pit operation, were willing to donate part of their land to the project because it would increase the value of their remaining property.
The sheet only briefly addresses what effect the Ski Connect would have on the businesses at 94th South and Seventh East, suggesting the road would encourage people to patronize the area by making the intersection safer.
"The road would benefit the entire community and its transportation needs," the information sheet stresses. It would provide what is described as a direct, convenient and safer route for commuters from the Alta Canyon Quadrant.
And, the information sheet states, the Ski Connect would also live up to its name by linking I-15 with Sandy's main tourist attractions - the mountain ski resorts.
There is also a reference to the lack of public hearings on the road. A total of 10 hearings held since 1976 are cited, including three held by the city in conjunction with UDOT.