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County Watch

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

To address growing water concerns on the East Side, the Summit County Commission has named five men to serve on the newly formed Eastern Summit County Water Advisory Committee.

Eastsiders David Ure, Dennis Marchant, Bill Wilde, Dennis Wright and Sheldon Richins were appointed to the board.

Summit County planner Don Sargent said he expects the group to meet once a month.

According to Sargent, the committee will inventory water resources and rights on the East Side, determine supply and demand of existing water systems, examine the impact of growth on water resources and possible funding for future improvements.

"Eastern Summit County is experiencing unprecedented growth and development pressure which is creating demands on the existing water resources of the area," a resolution adopted by commissioners last week states.

Easement preserves wagon ruts

The Eastern Summit County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space Advisory Committee has recommended taxpayers spend up to $350,000 to preserve about 1,608 acres of the Richins Ranch in North Summit near Henefer.

"The property is a high-priority project," Summit County planner Don Sargent said, adding that the land provides critical habitat for sage grouse and winter rangeland for big game.

Ruts left behind by wagons that belonged to pioneers from the 1800s are still visible on the land along portions of the Mormon Trail, he said, adding that sheep ranching currently occurs on the property.

Situated in Summit and Morgan counties, the 2,808-acre Richins Ranch is worth about $2.5 million, according to Sargent.

The Summit County Commission approved his request for $350,000, which is 14 percent of the conservation easement’s total cost.

"The entire property will be put under contract for the conservation easement and may be phased to complete the acquisition with available funding sources," a staff report from Sargent states.

According to Sargent, the ranch is also on the Donner-Reed and California trails.

Zoned for agriculture and grazing, potentially up to 16 residential lots could be built on the land, Sargent said, adding that the land is located near Hogback Summit and Route 65.

The Eccles Foundation, the Division of Wildlife Resources and an anonymous donor also have considered pledging money for the project.

Restaurant Tax board reappointments

The Summit County Commission has reappointed South Summit residents Tonya Hanson and Jeane Lehan to each serve an additional 3-year term on the county’s Restaurant Tax Advisory Committee.

Hanson will likely remain chairwoman of the board while Lehan represents the interests of the lodging community, County Commission Administrator Anita Lewis said.

The advisory committee reviews applications each year from non-profit groups interested in receiving grants from a pot of money generated by sales of prepared food in Summit County.

Restaurant Tax proceeds must contribute to boosting tourism revenues in the area. For information about how to apply for grants contact Lewis at 615-3220.


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