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).
FCOZ is a set of already existing ordinances that govern the canyons, while MRZ was a new proposed set of ordinances that would be specific to the resorts in the canyons.
I received a lot of information through the process, both from county planning staff as well as engaged constituents. A number of issues generated some controversy, and I deeply appreciated the outreach from residents of the canyons.
Some property owners felt concern that their voices and views wouldn't be incorporated as part of the new ordinances. As for me, it is vital that any ordinance changes strike a thoughtful and appropriate balance between the various interests in the canyons: private property owners, recreation and visitors, ski resorts, and preservation of this wonderful resource for generations to come.
We recently finished discussion, public input, and voting on these issues. I feel confident in the process that was followed, and I believe we struck a balance that appropriately protects private property rights, as well as preserving the wonderful resources these canyons offer. Salt Lake County has been managing these canyons well for many years, and I believe we'll continue to do so successfully moving forward.
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]