"The intent is to place wildlife mitigation standards in the code to help mitigate the impact of new development. Some of those strategies could include clustering development and constructing wildlife friendly fencing," County Planner Jennifer Strader said at the Nov. 7 Summit County Council work session.
County Council Chair Dave Ure said he was opposed to the idea and argued that 78 percent of Utah is already designated as public land.
"I would say can the whole bloody thing and don't ever bring it up again," Ure said. "Summit County has spent millions and millions of dollars for open space and for habitat. And we're proud of it. We've done an excellent job. So why with the small percentage that's left in the state of Utah, are we now making it even more difficult for a person to build on."
Ure added that the County would be adding a layer of bureaucracy before anyone could build a house or development.
County Councilmember Sally Elliott said she is also reluctant to add another layer of bureaucracy, but added that the amendments have a lot of good elements.
"Having this discussion makes it abundantly clear that people who live in the Snyderville Basin love their wildlife and they don't want to see them destroyed on the road," Elliott said. "I don't think we need to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater,' but I think we need to approach it in a reasonable way, and incorporate some of the language and information into the code so there is a clear reference that we do care."
"But perhaps we don't care enough to make a wildlife amendment that will make homeowners jump through yet another hoop when it's difficult enough to get through our process," Elliott added.
County Councilmember Chris Robinson suggested they continue the current process of submitting development proposals to the Division of Wildlife Resources for comment. Then, if the developer asks for anything beyond base density, the potential for wildlife mitigation can be factored in.
"More as a negotiating thing; not mandatory," he said.
Despite the Council's opposition to the amendments, they agreed to move forward with a public hearing. "Maybe we're missing something," Robinson said.