Developers may have to do more to protect wildlife | ParkRecord.com

Developers may have to do more to protect wildlife

Sarah Moffitt, The Park Record

As new housing developments in the Snyderville Basin continue to encroach onto hillsides and rural areas, Summit County’s Sustainability department is proposing new guidelines that would help protect wildlife habitats from being affected by developments.

Summit County Sustainability Director Ashley Kohler said the idea to change the wildlife code came about when staff members were going through the General Plan and found that it mentioned protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat but did not have clear guidelines on how to do it.

"Protecting wildlife is a high priority for residents and we wanted to have a process in place that would make it easier for the developers to know what they can do to mitigate their effects on the wildlife," she said.

Kohler anticipates the proposed changes will only affect large developments that are being built near land that has been labeled as ‘Sensitive Habitat" by the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources.

"Developers will have to conduct a study with the DWR with their pre-application for a project. That way they are not going through the whole development process and then having to make changes. It will save everyone time and resources," she said. "Based on the results of the DWR study, a development will have to meet certain standards, including clustering plots together and aligning open space with pre-existing open space to create wildlife corridors."

Kohler called the proposed changes "good design standards either way" and said it is not anti-development or designed to put up road blocks for developers. Instead, it is designed to give developers a better idea on how to lay out a development.

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The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on the proposed code change Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building.