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County Watch

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

A public open house at the Utah Olympic Park Dec. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. will discuss the dearth of affordable-housing dearth in western Summit County.

"We’re committed to taking the time it takes to work with the community," Summit County Community Development Director Nora Shepard said. "Are there a couple areas where we could sort of test some ideas?"

A push for air monitors

Members of the Summit County Commission want representatives from the Utah Division of Air Quality to test air in Summit County as soon as possible.

"These people are supposed to have us a couple of instruments to measure the air quality," Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan said.

The smog that people see in Park City could result from dirty air caused by weather inversions in Salt Lake City creeping through Parleys Canyon, County Commissioner Bob Richer said.

"We need to start to get a baseline," Richer said.

The Summit County Commission is attempting to convince state environmental officials to monitor air quality on the Wasatch Back. Health officials do not believe the air Summit County residents breathe is unhealthy, but Health Director Steve Jenkins said he won’t know for sure until the air is tested.

The state may agree to fund the installation of a small monitor to check air quality around Park City due to the proximity of the area to the smoggy Wasatch Front.

Technicians haven’t determined where to place the monitor to measure the highest levels of pollution on the West Side.

Groundwater guardian

The Groundwater Foundation will recognize Swaner Nature Preserve officials for helping protect the East Canyon Creek watershed in western Summit County at the group’s national conference Nov. 28-30 in Lakewood, Colo.

The Groundwater Foundation identified Swaner as a Groundwater Guardian Community.

Costly work could reduce gridlock

Officials in Summit County expect to spend $145 million in three phases to rebuild roads to relieve traffic congestion in the Snyderville Basin in the next 25 years.

The first construction phase, the least expensive of the three at $29 million, is underway and could culminate with the realignment of Landmark Drive in 2008. Other work in the next five years could include rebuilding Rasmussen and Kilby roads in Jeremy Ranch, a transit operation center in the Basin, more park-and-ride lots and bus shelters and the realignment of a frontage road adjacent to U.S. 40 near The Home Depot.

Within 10 years, officials hope to widen a portion of State Road 224 between Interstate 80 and Bear Hollow Drive and make improvements to the Silver Summit exit on U.S. 40. Bitner Road could be extended to Silver Creek Road and Rasmussen and Kilby could be widened. Completing the second phase of planned construction could cost $33 million.

Meanwhile, Landmark Drive near the Tanger Outlet Center could be widened in the next 25 years, according to Summit County engineer Kent Wilkerson.

Also, a new interchange could be built on Interstate 80 near Pinebrook and the State Road 248/U.S. 40 junction could be overhauled.

"I theorize that congestion has not reached a critical level [in the Snyderville Basin,]" Wilkerson states in a recent report to the Summit County Commission. "Ideally we would have the regional modeling of the entire county: this is in process."

Information about the Snyderville Basin Transportation Master Plan is available at http://www.summitcounty.org.

Christmas tree permits

Permits to cut Christmas trees in the Ashley National Forest are available Nov. 16 and will be sold through Dec. 24. The permits cost $10 and one is available per household.

The permits can be purchased at U.S. Forest Service offices in Vernal, Roosevelt and Duchesne and at Flaming Gorge. Contact rangers in Vernal for more information at (435) 789-1181.

Cutting Christmas trees provides families a unique recreational opportunity in national forests in Utah. Permit holders must adhere to the following guidelines:

— Trees must be cut close to the ground leaving the stump no higher than six inches.

— Make sure permits are attached to trees before leaving the cutting area

— Tree topping is not allowed

— No cutting within 200 feet of riparian areas, roads, campgrounds, picnic areas, administrative sites or areas with summer homes

Groups should be prepared for slick, snow-packed roads and have chains, four-wheel drive or a snowmobile available. Carry a cellular telephone, flashlight, shovel, first-aid kit, matches, a hatchet, ax or handsaw and rope to secure the tree. Bring additional warm clothing, gloves, boots, a container of hot liquid and food.

In the Wasatch-Cache National Forest east of Park City information about obtaining permits in the Evanston or Mountain View Ranger Districts is available at (801) 236-3400. Permits go on sale for $10 on Nov. 13 and are not available in Kamas. For information about obtaining a permit in the Uinta National Forest near Heber call (801) 342-5100. The permits sell for $10.


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