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NATURE CORRIDOR GETS SUPPORT; WIDTH STIRS DEBATE

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Public sentiment for a nature preserve and trail through the Kays Creek hollow area between U.S. 89 and the Commons Park is strong, but city officials and developers are still trying to determine how wide the corridor should be.

"Everyone is 100 percent to want to see a trail," Mayor Jerry Stevenson said during a recent 21/2 hour public meeting on Kays Creek attended by about 40 area residents and developers. "The debate is in the width of the corridor . . . This is a larger issue . . . But to what point are we going to start taking property?"The meeting in City Hall included comments from landowners, developers and the newly formed Layton Land Trust, a nonprofit group working to preserve the natural green space of the area.

Following the meeting where some landowners in the hollow heard proposals on the potential development for the first time, Dean Allen, Layton's director of parks and recreation, remained encouraged about the future of the nature trail.

"I think we understand that these things take time and there's a lot of different goals . . . There's a lot private property involved. It's a very complex issue."

Allen said while the Layton Land Trust group has accelerated the corridor's nature plan, he still expects it to take another decade to become a reality.

Stevenson also agrees and said many unresolved questions raised at the meeting reaffirmed that belief.

"We've got a tremendous opportunity here. We can pick up these parcels as they become available," he said. "We're trying to reach a compromise. We're not trying to take the rights of property owners away."

Council member Lyndia Graham was encouraged because the different parties were finally talking back and forth, but she said many future discussions are needed.

The Layton Land Trust wants to raise $50,000 from city residents for the nature preserve and another $50,000 from businesses. Families are being asked to contribute $100 to have their name put along the side of the trail. Businesses are being solicited to donate $500 or more to have their name engraved on a special monument planned for the nature preserve. It also wants to pursue grants for trail development money.

Subdivision developers that currently own land in the hollow want to donate land for the trail in exchange for permission to build low-density housing on the hillside above the hollow. They'll also require an easement for a sewer line through the area because city standards prohibit using pump stations to take sewage out of low-lying areas.

Neil Wall, one developer, is considering donating 14 acres to the project if he can build 35 lots, including three or four on the lower end of an access road into the hollow.

Bruce Dickamore of Bountiful, another developer, wants to build 58 homes on 32 acres in the upper hollow while providing a trail access through his land.