Wasatch Back leaders gathered Tuesday to discuss their vision for the region's future, as the Mountain Accord efforts showed progress among the various parties.
The Mountain Accord addresses issues related to transportation, the economy, recreation and the environment in the central Wasatch Mountains. It involves public, private and not-for-profit entities from across the Wasatch Front and Wasatch Back. Present at Tuesday's meeting were officials from Summit County, Park City, Wasatch County, Heber City and Midway.
The meeting, which took place at the Hailstone Event Center at Jordanelle State Park, allowed officials to give ideas about the Mountain Accord's vision for the Wasatch Back. The study area includes much of the Salt Lake Valley and tracks east through Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon to include the Park City area.
Approaching Heber, the study area ends near the Jordanelle Dam, including land on the Deer Valley Resort side of U.S. 40. Doug Smith of the Wasatch County Planning Department suggested that area be expanded to the east side of U.S. 40, going up to the shoreline to accommodate the vast potential Mayflower development.
Heber City Council member Heidi Franco stressed that the Mountain Accord should extend as close to Wasatch County as possible, even into Heber and Midway, as similar transportation and environmental concerns will grow in those locations.
"We not only need to protect water and view sheds, but water quality," Franco said. "We're trying to be proactive in preserving what we have on this side of the [Wasatch] Range."
Park City Mayor Jack Thomas said the Mountain Accord will be a "delicate balancing act" in trying to promote economic growth while safeguarding environmental quality and offering broad recreational opportunities. He warned of the impact development could have on sewer districts and water quality.
"Do we really have a commitment to preserving this quality, or are we just giving it lip service?" Thomas said.
In the realm of transportation, Summit County Council member Roger Armstrong encouraged discussions between Summit County and Wasatch County about proper solutions. Summit County is looking into the possibility of creating a bus line between Park City and Heber, and Armstrong said the time for solutions is now.
"My biggest fear is if we fall behind the transportation curve, if traffic gets ahead of us," Armstrong said. "Transportation infrastructure tends to grow around development, so we need alternatives in terms of transportation."
Transit talks have already taken place between Park City and Summit County, and officials hope meetings scheduled under the auspices of the Mountain Accord will help stimulate more regional discussions about shifting communities away from reliance on personal vehicles.
Phase One of the Mountain Accord, which is expected to end January 30, 2015, will present "preferred scenarios" for the future of the Wasatch Range. Phase Two will begin implementation of proposed actions, some of which will require federal funding or approval.
The Mountain Accord has draft 'Existing Conditions' reports and future trends for the recreation, transportation, economy and environment areas. It is looking for public input before making decisions.
To view the reports, visit mountainaccord.com and click on 'Get Involved.' Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to: Mountain Accord, 375 West 200 South, Suite 275, Salt Lake City, UT 84101.