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Open Space Battle Brewing in North Salt Lake

Open Space Battle Brewing in North Salt Lake

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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John Daley reportingOpen space and real estate are on a collision course along the border of Salt Lake City and North Salt Lake.

In many ways, this is a tale of two cities, two mayors, two competing ideas for open space. One side wants part of it developed and made more accessible, the other wants to keep it in its natural state.

High up above the refineries in North Salt Lake, beyond the new homes making their way up the foothills, a sliver of open space in the heart of the Wasatch Front.

The city of North Salt Lake owns 80 acres of land here. City leaders want to develop part of it, build between 30 and 120 homes, a cemetery, and use some money to save other open space neaby.

Kay Briggs/ Mayor of North Salt Lake: "There are three different developers that have talked to us and they'd love to have a crack at it. And again, they're talking about developing only a very small piece, somewhere between ten and fifty acres."

The land is due east of the large gravel pit and bordered by Davis County development to the north. But the site is within Salt Lake City's boundaries, zoned for open space.

Rocky Anderson/ Mayor of Salt Lake City: "It is just wrong to be building these big trophy homes in these places, to get higher and higher, get better views."

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail runs right through the site, and North Salt Lake envisions a new trailhead, perhaps paving part of it to provide more access to adjacent public lands. But the two men who founded the Bonneville Shoreline Trail are part of a group fighting to save the land as it is, saying its serenity, its wildlife habitat, make it...

Jim Byrne Open Space Advocate: "One of hte last, best places along the Wasatch Front that has this kind of values."

Rick Reese/ Open Space Advocate: "The value in maintaining this would be far beyond what any economic value could be, any sort of short term economic gain."

Competing visions of open space and property rights, with no easy or cheap solution.

Robyn Gross/ North Salt Lake Resident: "We love it and everybody else does in North Salt Lake, too, that's ever been up here."

Kay Briggs/ Mayor of North Salt Lake City: "I'm trying to make it a place where we can hike and jog and run and bicycle and have a good time. That's what we're trying to do with it. What somebody else is trying to protect if for, I'm not sure."

Salt Lake's city council will hold a public hearing on the proposed boundary change and possibly vote on it next week--December 14th.

Negotiations are on-going--both sides hope to find a solution they both can agree on. If not, this dispute could be headed to court.

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