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Coalville Council Plans For Trails

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Coalville City is considering upgrading its master plan for trails, parks and open space.

A hearing hosted by the Coalville Council Monday night drew comments from nine citizens—some of them welcoming improved trails; but others wondering if trails would be an intrusion and a burden on their property.   

Under the plan, the city is looking at expanding three different classes of trails.    One is single-track; the second would be up to four feet wide; and the third would be multiple-use, allowing for bicyclists and horses.

Among the comments on Monday, Margarita Richins wondered how Coalville would be impacted by improving its trails.   

“I like the sidewalks.   I think sidewalks are great.  Some trails are great.   I love the rail/trail.   But my vision of Coalville is probably a little different than planning commission’s.  And I don’t want to see Coalville as a resort area or as Park City or someone like we’ve been comparing the trails to.  I like Coalville to be a bedroom community that people come home to after they have a long day at work in the city.”

One of the plan’s supporters is Dennis Simister.    His letter to the council was read by Mayor Trevor Johnson.      

“I believe it would be a great benefit to our community to have more access to walking trails, bike paths and horse trails.    Other communities I have visited that have trails throughout town and along creeks and rivers are very inviting and create a welcoming atmosphere to the residents and visitors to get out into nature.  I feel Coalville has very limited access at this time to amenities like this.  I spend a fair amount of time walking in the mornings and many streets have no sidewalks.   So I walk at the side of the road.  Not only can this be dangerous in the early morning hours, it is also a bit monotonous to walk the same routes in town over and over again.”

A map displayed at the meeting showed potential trails crossing private property.    A note said the trails are “conceptual,” but if the properties are proposed for development, the owners would have to contribute to the trail system.

Brenda Rees asked what demands would be placed on “development.”     She told Mayor Johnson that at a previous meeting on the plan, it was suggested that remodeling a kitchen could bring a trail requirement.     

“(Johnson) What sort of things specifically in your mind or (Rees) The disproportionate amount, like I said.  The last time I attended, a kitchen meant we had to turn over 6000 feet.”

In an interview with KPCW, Mayor Johnson said the city is governed by a state law which says the trail requirement on an owner has to be proportionate to the development being considered.       

“It is being proposed that at least the easement is granted along the regular public easement, to where they could eventually put a trail where there some other funding sources down the road come in, or maybe a developer comes in later and wants to develop more of that property.  But as far as the actual trigger mechanism that requires someone to pay or improve and install the trail, we’re still working some of those things out.   But in your example that is far from the case.”

The Mayor said they’re still working on that issue, because there are many different kinds of properties.

Johnson said the Master Plan doesn’t put a priority on setting up trailheads and parking lots.    He said they want a system accessible to locals.

But the Mayor said they have wondered what would happen if the trail system attracted visitors from other communities—the issue now facing the Snyderville/Park City trail system.     

“There’s a desire, it sounds like, by the Planning Commission, City Council to try and keep things as local as possible and not to be necessarily copying or patterning after a Park City or Snyderville Basin.”

Asked about the cost of building or maintaining trails, Mayor Johnson said that’s hard to pin down.    He said the cost could range from $1 to $40 a lineal foot.

He said that the Council will probably be ready for a vote on the Trails Master Plan at their next meeting.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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