The Orem City Council agreed Tuesday to protect a neighborhood threatened by a five-lane street on one side and possible mall encroachment on the other.
It will do that by closing off access to 800 East from one of the two streets that enter the area - 900 South or 750 East.The city staff was directed to work out the best way to close that access and to report at either the June 23 or July 7 meeting.
Until then, residents along 750 East and 900 South will have to endure a couple more weeks of traffic turning off 800 East and 800 South to escape the construction and the traffic light at the intersection.
According to those attending the City Council meeting, since the city bought homes along 800 East and started widening the street, sound and traffic levels have jumped in the once quiet neighborhood.
"This is a tragedy waiting to happen," said resident Joanne Mansfield, explaining that more than a dozen small children live along 750 East. "Please protect our neighborhood."
"Our little street is becoming a freeway," said Scott Mansfield.
Richard Manning, public works director, said there would need to be a cul-de-sac created or at least a hammerhead turnaround area so that snow and garbage removal trucks could get in and out.
He also recommended the city only temporarily block 900 South because someday it may be beneficial to connect 900 South to 700 East to complete a grid in the city's traffic system.
David Lee said he bought land at the corner of 900 South and 750 East expecting to be able to put up a dental office. He said if the city is going to prevent him from building or from having access to his project, he would appreciate being bought out at the same price he paid.
Manning said another property owner next to Lee intends to establish a Thai restaurant and will have customers who will access to the business.
City Manager Jim Reams asked the council to not overly restrict the staff in preparing a way to close the road and still offer opportunities to provide services and retain options for the future.
Manning said whatever is decided, it will need to be finalized before a sound wall along the east side of 800 East is constructed.
Councilwoman Judy Bell said she feels a strong moral obligation to do what the city can to mitigate the damage being done to the neighborhood.
She reminded those in the audience that Orem residents voted for a road bond that is paying for the widening of 800 East and that the city "did not choose" to put in the road without clear need and at the request of the townspeople.
"However, to do that, we destroy neighborhoods," she added.
"The residents deserve our help," said Councilman David Palfreyman.
The council voted unanimously to have the staff prepare a recommendation and return within two weeks, if possible.