Centerville approves widening road, taking out front yards of historic homes
Centerville • Disappointed silence followed a 3-2 vote to widen lanes at the intersection of Parrish Lane and Main Street, wiping out about 10 feet in front of three historic homes.
The amount of property that will be removed from the front yards of homes built in the late 1800s originally was slated at 17 feet, but the council whittled it down to 9Â½ feet Tuesday night by removing a raised median on Main Street.
"Eminent domain is not something we treat lightly," said Councilman Justin Y. Allen. "One of the things that makes me feel better about this is I do think [the Utah Department of Transportation] and the city has worked hard to minimize the impacts as much as possible."
The decision, in which Councilmen Lawrence Wright and Ken Averett were the dissenting votes, came despite several earlier meetings and another dozen impassioned comments Tuesday from residents, venting the frustrations of the 1,000 people who signed a petition asking the city not to impede on the homeowners' private property.
"Not one person has come up and said, 'This is a great idea, let's do it,'" said Maragaret Ihrig, who does not live in the homes directly impacted. "We don't know what else to do as a community. We repeat ourselves, and some of us get emotional ,and I don't mean this to be rude, but you look like you're bored with us. Listen to us, none of us want this."
Averett, a real estate agent, said the decision to take private property from homeowners "ran counterintuitive to my nature."
Andy Bavelas, who lives west of Main Street, said the growth of the commercial zones of Centerville is hurting local businesses, and widening Main Street will only encourage that growth.
Alan Hayward, a Centerville resident who will not have property directly impacted, stormed out of the meeting after he addressed the council.
"The city has made decisions that stick in everybody's craw. The citizens don't want this stuff. This is supposed to be a representative government," said Hayward as he pounded the podium.
Councilman John Higginson, who lives in the north end of the town of about 15,000, said his neighbors have told him they want better traffic flow through the area.
"Traffic will only increase. To do only one phase is short-sighted. We don't want to have to address this again in a few years," Higginson said. "We have the funding now."