“There is nothing permanent except change.” Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, was famous for his prophetic statements in which he explained the inevitable nature of change and how embracing change can be a great benefit to society. For a city, change can lead to outcomes of monumental growth in terms of population, economic prosperity, and commercial development. These are changes, that if accommodated correctly, can lead to overwhelming success for the city and its citizens. Syracuse City is the fifth fastest growing city, in the third fastest growing county, in the fastest growing state in the nation. In fact, it is projected that by the year 2060, Syracuse will have the second highest population in Davis County with 53,389 people, following only Layton with 94,942. The rapid growth not only in Syracuse, but Davis and Weber Counties respectively, calls for change. Change that requires the City government to collaborate with companies and the state government to ensure that residents are being cared for and are provided with the resources necessary to be successful. This type of change also requires added amenities and opportunities for economic growth while still adhering to the culture of the city.
What major changes are happening?
In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) along with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) recognized the need for an alternative corridor of transportation for west Davis County and have since been conducting Environmental Impact Studies (EIS). They acknowledged that the congestion on I-15 is quickly growing and could render I-15 an inefficient mode of transportation if not properly addressed. The population growth is centered throughout the cities and towns in the western portion of the counties, as the area has been experiencing a large influx of new subdivisions. The West Davis Corridor was designed to address this transportation problem directly by creating a roadway that would extend from I-15 in Farmington and run along the shore of the Great Salt Lake through West Kaysville, West Layton, Syracuse, West Point, and Clinton. The West Davis Corridor will provide direct access to Syracuse City featuring two exchanges in the City, the West Exchange located on 2000 W and the Antelope Exchange, as indicated on the map. Both exchanges will provide Park and Ride Lots for public transportation as well as a 20-mile trail that will run along the corridor for pedestrians and cyclists.
However, an important question to ask is, how intrusive will the West Davis Corridor be for the citizens of Syracuse? In order to be as least intrusive as possible, the corridor will only feature street lights at the exchanges,Cwhich are designed to only provide light directly beneath them so as to be in accordance with Antelope Island’s Dark Sky Initiative. The Corridor will also provide sound barriers in some areas, as well as noise reducing pavement to minimalize noise pollution. The Corridor also falls in accordance with the EPA’s Clean Air Act.
The Syracuse City Council is currently working with UDOT and members of Utah’s Legislature to address some concerns regarding the current plans for the West Davis Corridor. Currently, the plans do not include an exchange with S.R. 193. The City Council believes that connecting this major highway to the new Corridor would provide convenient and efficient access to not only Syracuse, but the neighboring cities as well. Additionally, the council hopes to receive funding to expand Antelope Drive, west of 2000 West to ease traffic congestion and once again, increase the efficiency of Syracuse’s roadways.
What impact will the West Davis Corridor have on Syracuse?
The West Davis Corridor is highly favored by Mayor Mike Gailey, who stated “Syracuse has never been a crossroads.” He went on to explain that the Corridor would provide multiple entry points to Syracuse which will attract economic and commercial growth as well as provide options when dealing with a disaster or emergency. “The West Davis Corridor will put Syracuse on the map,” the Mayor stated. Brigham Mellor, the Director of Community and Economic Development for Syracuse said “When the West Davis Corridor is completed, the city [will be] 10 minutes closer to Utah’s largest metropolitan area (Salt Lake City). That means 10 minutes closer to the airport [and] 10 minutes closer to the largest job market in the state.” These changes not only provide a more convenient access to Salt Lake City but become one of Syracuse’s most attractive features to future businesses.
Why is Syracuse building all these houses?
In addition to economic development, Syracuse is also experiencing large residential growth and, therefore, many new subdivisions are being created to accommodate. The map on page 9 indicates the new subdivisions in blue along with the number of unfinished homes in each subdivision. The city itself however, does not build houses. Landowners sell their land to developers and businesses who then conduct all of their building under the codes enforced by the city. The Community and Economic Development Department along with the city council work together to promote orderly development through zoning. Zoning is a process where the city maps and organizes various sections of the city and dedicates each section as either agricultural, commercial, residential, etc. This process is done to ensure a cohesive plan for growth and protect the citizens by allowing their City Council to make the final decision on any zoning changes. With the addition of the West Davis Corridor, zoning changes can occur in order to maintain an efficient pattern of growth in response to the new amenity.
What is Syracuse doing to prepare for growth?
The city has a General Plan to accommodate the future growth. Realizing that change can occur, which can require alterations to the plan, the city can amend or receive requests to amend their General Plan from time to time to be more efficient.
As mentioned, Syracuse’s population growth can be traced back to new developments and subdivisions in various regions of the city. This growth is only expected to increase, especially as the West Davis Corridor will provide more access and greater opportunity for home development in Syracuse. Additionally, the city is preparing for more growth by…
1. Planning for demand for more parks and recreation programs.
2. Planning functional road networks.
3. Planning for expansion of culinary and secondary water systems
4. Conducting market studies to optimize the City’s opportunities for economic development
5. Planning for more demand on public safety services, such as Fire and Ambulance response, and police protection.