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Layton property owners decry road plan

LAYTON — Some property owners in Layton are crying foul over Utah Department of Transportation plans to widen Main Street and eliminate most of the parking in front of their businesses.

City leaders say they see the benefits to an improved freeway interchange on the south end of Layton. Currently, the only way onto the freeway in that area is by heading south, and the only offramp is for northbound traffic.

UDOT plans to break ground on Tuesday at noon and to have an open house Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Layton Elementary for those who will be affected by the construction to meet the contractor.

Beginning Wednesday, the bridge over Main Street, at about milepost 330, will be permanently closed to make way for demolition to begin Saturday, according to UDOT.

As part of the $97 million construction project, UDOT plans to create a full interchange, create a new section of 750 South from Fort Lane to Flint Street and widen Main Street to three lanes in each direction.

The changes will require the removal of a handful of businesses, which are in the process of looking for property where they can relocate.

The remaining business and property owners are worried they will lose business because the plan to widen Main Street will eliminate some of the parking that is critical to get customers in their doors.

The property owners have formed the Downtown Layton Property Group to stay involved in the construction process and to try to convince UDOT to scale back its plans for widening Main Street.

They have filed a notice of intent to sue with the Utah Attorney General's Office to figure out who owns the parking lots in front of their businesses. Property owners say they do. UDOT says it does.

In an open letter, the group states that a center divider planned for Main Street will limit the number of cars that can access businesses on the east side of the street.

Bryan Cooper, the group's spokesman, said property owners have tried to raise their concerns with UDOT.

"They have no answers for it," Cooper said, adding that he expects UDOT's design-build engineers to take up the parking issue when they arrive at that phase of the project.

A letter from the interchange's project manager to the group states UDOT will provide similar, but not the same, parking as currently exists in the area.

Many of those businesses don't have off-street parking, says Peter Matson, Layton's long-range planner.

Matson said the Layton City Council, during a work meeting Thursday, instructed city staff to stay involved in the planning for the project.

"Not allowing left turns could have a serious impact, not only for existing businesses, but how business develops in the future," Matson said. "The City Council is very concerned about that."

Layton's community and economic development director Bill Wright is directly involved in UDOT's planning meetings by representing the city, Matson said.

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