Last fall the Salt Lake County Council was asked to pass a resolution to create the Central Wasatch Commission - a product of Mountain Accord - under the auspices of increased coordination between local governments for the benefit of the canyons. This body would involve mayors from Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, Cottonwood Heights and Sandy who would look at transportation needs in the canyons.
As I looked at the first attempt, I became extremely uncomfortable with the broad powers that would have been granted this new government body, including: levying fees, bonding, acquiring property, and engaging in contracts.
While these actions of themselves are not problematic, without proper checks from legislative branches it was not something I was comfortable with. A partnership between Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, Sandy, and Cottonwood Heights to collaborate on transportation solutions and other needs for the canyons should include more robust checks and balances from the legislative branches of each of those governments.
Fortunately, after months of discussions with stakeholders and community members, the Council was presented with a new, revised version of the Central Wasatch Commission. The new version included an at-large member of the County Council as a commission member, and also requires the commission to come back to the legislative branch (our County Council) as well as that of cities before exercising the powers mentioned above.
The canyons are some of our greatest resources here in Salt Lake County. We are inspired by the breathtaking views as we enjoy sports such as hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and rappelling. There are also watershed areas that provide drinking water for some residents in the valley. Because the majority of the canyons are still part of unincorporated Salt Lake County, we have planning and zoning jurisdiction over them.
Because of this planning authority, much time has been spent exploring various ordinances for the canyons. In fact, many commissions have spent the past few years reviewing zoning ordinances and giving input on this area. Over the past few months the County Council has reviewed recommendations by several planning commissions on two different ordinances: the Foothill Canyons Overlay Zone (FCOZ) and the Mountain Resort Zone (MRZ).
Residents in Salt Lake County enjoy a great quality of life, in part thanks to the outdoor recreation opportunities available through open space. I am a strong proponent of the benefits of recreation and open space to individuals, families, and the community as a whole.
I represent the county on the Jordan River Commission, and served as chair last year. I’ve been privileged to work with the people on the commission to preserve and enhance the open space around the river. Seeing this flourish as a resource for families, bikers, and all other outdoor enthusiasts has been a rewarding part of my public service. These amenities encourage physical, mental, and emotional health and well being for all.
Aimee Winder Newton has been serving on the Salt Lake County Council since January 2014. She is the current chair of the council. Her district encompasses Murray, Taylorsville, West Valley City and West Jordan, and a small portion of South Salt Lake and Millcreek... [read more]