The Sandy City Council has postponed indefinitely its vote on a proposed recreational trails plan after a city official warned that accidents involving horse trails could bankrupt the city.
Chief Administrative Officer Byron Jorgenson told the council Tuesday night that after a Jan. 2 sledding accident in a city park killed a 2-year-old Sandy girl, he's more aware than before that "anything we do creates liability."He said he felt compelled to say something about "the incredible risk that I think we're possibly going to assume if we establish some horse trails along Wasatch Boulevard and the substantial financial ramifications that we'll have." Such trails are included in the proposal.
Jorgenson said he's owned horses about half of his life and loves to ride, but riding along major thoroughfares without any barrier separating cars from horses is asking for trouble.
City Public Works Director Darrel Scow, who raises and trains cutting horses, agreed. He said many residents of Bell Canyon Acres, where he lives, like to ride, and almost all of their injury accidents occur on 106th South and 13th East, where they must ride within 40 feet of vehicle traffic. He said his own 15-year-old daughter ended up in surgery after a friend came by and honked at her while she was riding.
"That's an element that you cannot control." He said the residents are constructing a fence to separate the trails from the road, and their existing trail is already much wider than the proposed 8-foot trails the city is considering.
Jorgenson apologized for not raising his concerns earlier, either in the public hearing on the trails plan or earlier council discussions. He offered to set up a committee to work on ways to make the trail plan safer.
Councilman Dennis Tenney said that although Jorgenson's comments were late, he thought them important enough to postpone Tuesday's scheduled vote.
The council decided to delay action until those people wishing to comment on the safety and trail design issues can submit comments in writing to City Planning Commission Chairman Mike Tingey.