The city's rapid residential development is prompting the City Council to address its long-range planning and open space issues.

The council has already had one joint meeting with the Planning Commission on open space vs. development, and Mayor H. Arthur Johnson expects the subject to be addressed a lot more in future meetings."It's a hard thing to define," Johnson said during Tuesday's City Council meeting. "Open space means different things to different people."

Councilman Robert H. Rees said the council regularly pays homage to open space but ends up approving lots of new development.

"Before we know it, all the city will be chewed up with development," Rees said. "We need to start doing something about this."

Rees said it would be nice to have an open space plan in place so when the council considers approval for subdivisions - like the Old Mill Farms at its Tuesday meeting - it knows what direction to go.

Although Rees said he may sound like an environmentalist, he believes he isn't one. He said he is simply concerned about natural, open areas of the city that can't be replaced after being taken away for housing. He said big housing lots are simply not open spaces.

He'd like the city to not only have some nature trails and parks but also some places that are left as they are where wild animals remain. He said he doesn't mind smelling a skunk once in a while near his home.

It was the preliminary approval by the City Council of South Bench Estates subdivision, phases 6 and 7, - near the south end of Main Street - that prompted Rees to bring up the open space issue at a June council meeting.

Councilman Joe Hill said he understood what Rees was asking for but questioned what good some natural areas, like wetlands, would be for residents.

Councilman Brian Cook agreed and wondered how the public could get access to such areas. He said someone still needs to own such undeveloped land and a partnership with businesses, developers and the city would likely be required.

"I feel the same way," Councilman Stephen Whitesides told Rees. "The only problem is you're talking a lot of money. I'm not sure how to do it."

Whitesides is also concerned that mixed messages don't get sent to developers while the city is considering an open space policy.

"We need it (open spaces) in Kaysville," Johnson said.

He said the council has defined three types of open spaces: any undeveloped parcel of land that's accessible to the public; developed parcels of land that are accessible to the public, such as parks; and privately owned land with open spaces, such as farms and large lots, that have no public access.

City Manager John Thacker estimates Kaysville has more than 18,000 residents. Buildout point is about 28,000 people, and so the city is just over two-thirds developed now.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

How city has grown

1950 1,898

1960 3,608

1970 6,192

1980 10,331

1985 11,503

1988 12,571

1990 13,961

1991 14,783

1992 15,590

1993 *16,137

1994 16,785

1995 17,365

1996 18,007

* Figures for 1993-1996 are estimates.