Plan to rezone parts of Brown’s Canyon is controversial |

Plan to rezone parts of Brown’s Canyon is controversial

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Summit County Councilwoman Sally Elliott says she is against a proposal that could change the zoning on more than 1,550 acres of land in Brown’s Canyon. The property is north of Brown’s Canyon Road and currently has five rock quarries, stone storage and three dirt-processing facilities.

The area is designated for agriculture and the rezoning proposal would officially create an industrial area in Brown’s Canyon. The current quarries have conditional use permits and changing the zoning could clear the way for more industrial development in the canyon.

"I am opposed to the rezone in any way, shape or form," Elliott said.

The Eastern Summit County Planning Commission recommended the Summit County Council approve the rezone proposal.

"I see no reason to create a heavy industrial use where there isn’t currently an installation of industry," Elliott said. "Heavy-industrial uses belong in transportation corridors."

Brown’s Canyon Road is a patchwork of industry, agriculture and homes. The rezoning proposal includes about 23 parcels of land in the canyon.

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"Whether it is rezoned or not, those conditional uses are going to be there," Summit County planner Sean Lewis said about the eclectic mix of businesses on the land east of Park City. "The intent of the Planning Commission was to rezone those because that is the use that is existing on those parcels."

Rezoning the land would "put everyone on notice as to what is already happening in Brown’s Canyon," Lewis said.

But the area one day may not be a haven for strip mining and rock crushing, Elliott stressed.

"Fifty years from now there are going to be derelict buildings standing out there and the land is going to be scarred forever," she said.

Some quarries in Brown’s Canyon have been there for decades. If approved the rezoning proposal would affect a chunk of the canyon near High View Road.

There could be an opportunity in May for the public to speak out about the proposal before the Summit County Council votes. Councilpersons are scheduled to visit Brown’s Canyon on May 5.

"We’re missing a piece of the picture and we need that picture to be filled in," Summit County Council Chairwoman Claudia McMullin said. "I’m just not understanding why we need an industrial zone in Brown’s Canyon."

The 5-1 vote from the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission, to support the rezoning proposal, surprised members of the Summit County Council.

"What are they thinking? Why is it important?" McMullin said. "Creating an industrial zone is a pretty big step in planning and it wasn’t clear from the minutes what was driving it Legitimizing current uses by creating a zone in which those uses are allowed, alone, does not, in my mind, support a creation of an industrial zone."