County’s first health code
When the Summit County Board of Health proposed passing a new health code, restaurant owners Jeff and Lisa Ward wondered how it would affect their business.
The Wards own Silver Star Café, which overlooks Silver Star Plaza adjacent to Park City Mountain Resort, and they have never discouraged their patrons from bringing four-legged guests.
"We’ve been doing it for years," Jeff Ward said of allowing dogs on their dining patio. "Dogs have always been a part of the atmosphere up there."
But the business practice violated federal and state health codes, which the Summit County Health Department has operated under for years, although it wasn’t strictly enforced.
So when the Board of Health was accepting public input for the new health code, the Wards said they felt inclined to participate.
"It was pretty obvious to us that we wanted our customers to be able to have their dogs and pets with them," Ward said. "It was a no-brainer to us to let the Health Department know we wanted to find a way to continue doing what we were doing."
With the passing of the new Summit County Code of Health, the Wards, and other restaurant owners like them, will be able to apply for a permit to continue allowing pets on their patios.
"Now that the county is putting it in black and white, this will help us communicate the county’s standards with our patrons and staff, while being able to continue to welcome pets," Ward said.
The Board of Health approved the first comprehensive code of health the county has ever had on Oct. 6.
The new code is designed to be pre-emptive and not punitive, Summit County Health Department Director Rich Bullough said.
The rules also address air pollution from wood-burning appliances and electronic cigarettes.
"This is going to allow us to accommodate the local will and make sure that we still can ensure the public’s health," Bullough said.
In an effort to ensure the county is monitoring air quality, beginning in January all appliances sold appliances in Summit County will have to be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Bullough said the new standards regarding wood-burning appliances are primarily in place for future development, specifically in Western Summit County, and aren’t meant to punish residents who currently own appliances that aren’t EPA approved.
The 143-page health code also regulates the sale of e-cigarettes and tobacco products to ensure Summit County standards remain consistent with the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act.
"We’re just trying to get ahead of the curve and to be reasonable," Bullough said. "Moving forward, we are trying to make sure the lifestyle that people want to live can still be protected and businesses and community members can accommodate that, while we can still protect the health and safety of our citizens."
Board of Health and Summit County Council member Kim Carson said the new code, which takes effect Jan. 1, reinforces the county’s existing policies.
"For years, Summit County had a policy but it hadn’t been codified," Carson said. "This was an important step for the county to take and the new code definitely caters to Summit County residents."
Anita Lewis, Brent Ovard and Travis English were influential in shaping how residents interact with the county.