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Layton OKs hillside subdivision

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LAYTON -- After land slippage problems on the steep hillsides in the Heather Glen subdivision last spring, Layton officials said they'd restrict building on such slopes in the future.

They proved that claim this winter by making sure a new subdivision in that area will use an extensive system of land drains to control underground water.The City Council unanimously granted final approval to the Cherry Hollow subdivision, 2200 E. 1500 North, March 18 after developers had outlined a detailed plan to ensure perpetual care of the land drains.

Approval for the 51-lot subdivision had been tabled by the council last month, pending questions about land drainage.

In April 1998, land slippage from underground water in the Heather Glen subdivision -- located across the hollow from Cherry Hollow -- forced the condemnation of one severely damaged home on Sunset Drive and made cracks in the yards of other nearby homes.

Heather Glen homeowners accused the city of not doing its job in forcing developers of that subdivision to control known groundwater problems.

Mayor Jerry Stevenson said Cherry Hollow planners have done their homework in this new development, located on the south side of Kays Creek Drive and north of Cherry Lane.

"I'm impressed with how this is structured," he said, explaining he's confident the planned, underground land-drain system will prevent more land slippage problems.

Councilmen Steve Curtis and Stuart Adams also said they're impressed with the land drainage system.

Cherry Hollow also will have a homeowners association that will maintain an escrow account to pay for periodic inspections of the land drains so that they won't become clogged.

The cost will probably amount to about $33 a year per homeowner.

Potential homebuyers will also be told of the possible unstable slopes in the subdivision and the land drains. Future inspection records of the drainage system will be made available to Layton.

One of the developers, Scott Brubaker of Smith-Brubaker, said his company has used land drains successfully at least eight times in the past three years in other hillside developments along the Wasatch Front.

"They're being put in quite often," he said.

Smith-Brubaker also deleted some lots in their subdivision plans because of the extra piping and retaining walls required and to enhance stability.

The subdivision contains a conservative number of lots now, and the other developer, Ernie Smith, promised the land drains will work adequately if they are maintained properly.

The Planning Commission warned in its recommendation to the council that the drains could fill with silt if not maintained. However, the developers said the drains will be enclosed with a new kind of fabric that will shield the drains. They said this new land drain technology is proven to work.