Open-space proposal divides Alpine residents

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    By KELLY BRIGHT

    Alpine residents are divided as to where the planning commission should establish trails in the master open-space plan.

    The trails in Alpine are scattered throughout the city. “Many of them seem to lead nowhere,” one Alpine resident said during the planning commission meeting Tuesday.

    “And if I want to use one I feel like I’m walking through someone’s backyard. Consequently not many people even use the trails that are already in place,” the same resident added.

    Some residents in the Silver Leaf development opposed the trail planned for the city-maintained 1.5 acre grassy area behind their homes.

    They said they felt that they would lose their privacy and that the tucked-away area would become unsafe.

    The open-space ordinance, as proposed, does not allow residents to build a fence more than four feet high along their backyards, when their private property is adjacent to the open-space.

    City Planning Commissioner Mary Jensen strongly urged the board to compromise.

    “Go ahead with the looped trail in the grassy area, but let residents build a six-foot fence to retain their privacy along the 20-foot easement. The trail was planned for after the construction of their homes,” she said.

    Jensen also said she felt that trails like this one would invite more use of the open-space areas.

    But others on the board disagreed. They felt the city should concentrate its limited tax base on trails that would receive the greatest use by the community.

    The planning commission has been working on this plan since May when the city use map was approved.

    The commission said it wants to plan in advance for Alpine’s projected growth by setting aside certain parcels of property zoned for open space.

    According to the open-space ordinance, which the planning commission has been attempting to pass, the purpose is two fold. First, it would preserve views and natural vegetation and wild life, creating a buffer between developed areas.

    Secondly, the new ordinance would provide recreation areas for ballparks, swimming pools, picnic and playground areas, and trails. However, the trails planned for the open- space areas are what have some of the residents up in arms.

    David Blake, also on the planning commission, motioned that the open-space ordinance and the trail ordinance become separate issues.

    He also motioned all subdivisions in process or in the future should be subject to the finalizing of the trail ordinance. The motion was approved and the matter will be reviewed again in three weeks when the planning commission reconvenes.

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