August 21, 2013
Davis County Clipper
By Rebecca Palmer
FARMINGTON — The Farmington City Council decided after a closed session Tuesday evening to go up against the Utah Department of Transportation over the West Davis Corridor.
The council had considered filing a lawsuit over their disagreements with UDOT’s draft environmental impact statement (EIS), but decided instead to make their claims known in a public comment.
““We think we’re on strong legal grounds to challenge UDOT on some of the EIS points,” said City Manager Dave Millheim. “Rather than do it formally, we’re going to do a detailed and public comment.”
The Farmington council’s disagreements are in regard to four large conservation easements through which the proposed freeway would run, if UDOT gets its way.
In its draft statement, UDOT recommends that the new road be built near Glover Lane and into Bluff Road in Syracuse rather than through parts of Kaysville.
Farmington officials believe that UDOT did not adequately consider the four conservation agreements, which total hundreds of acres, according to Millheim. The city believes that land should fall under Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, which requires extra care and scrutiny. The section doesn’t prohibit federal road projects on such land, but requires several safeguards.
UDOT’s position, according to Millheim, is that the land in question isn’t being used as a park or other specific public use so it shouldn’t be classified under 4(f).
“We believe that they’ve basically discounted the conservation easements,” Millheim said. “We just disagree very strongly with their interpretation of that.”
The city has other disagreements as well, and will release a robust statement for the public to examine within about a week.
UDOT did not immediately return calls about Farmington’s position.
At a separate meeting on Tuesday, the Kaysville City Council voted for a resolution in favor of UDOT’s plan.