This is an archived article that was published on in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As if the threat of landslides weren't enough, residents of Suncrest, the slide-prone hillside development in Draper, now have cracked and sinking streets to add to their worries.

And the rest of the city's taxpayers can worry along with them. The problem roads could impact all Draper residents because the city is on the hook for repairs that could cost $10 million over the next five years.

In an agreement with developers, the city took ownership of most of the roads that wind through the 3,800-acre community of more than 900 homes and businesses, built over the past eight years. Having accepted the streets into its road system, the city is now required to clear, maintain, and when necessary, replace them.

So as not to accept a Trojan horse, the city sets strict standards for roads built by developers, then monitors construction and inspects the work. It's a workable plan that protects the public interest, assuming all sides uphold their end of the bargain. In this case, it seems everybody failed the residents of Suncrest and the taxpayers.

The developer, city officials believe, may have used substandard materials during road construction. The city found that clay-like materials beneath the streets may be contributing to the sinking, cracking and crumbling of pavement. And city inspectors, it seems, failed to recognize the problem before signing off on the work.

Draper officials want an engineering firm to study the soils, determine the extent of the problem and develop a plan to repair the streets. That is a wise approach. Suncrest residents deserve decent roads, no matter who is at fault. If poor construction is the cause, or road materials are deemed defective, the city should consider holding the developer liable. And if the city is determined to be negligent in approving substandard work, then it must share the financial burden and the blame.

The rest of the state can learn from Draper's mistakes: Enact geologic-hazards ordinances that prohibit development in slide-prone areas. Consult with the scientists at the Utah Geological Survey before issuing building permits. And monitor developers closely.