East Side Planning Commission approves movie set in Brown’s Canyon
Earlier this month, a quaint, western town seemingly cropped up overnight among the sage brush and open space in Brown’s Canyon.
Several buildings and a replica water tower lining a dirt road were quickly erected after the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission unanimously agreed to grant a long-term temporary use permit for the Lost Creek Movie Set at the Garff Rogers Ranch, located at 7600 Browns Canyon Road. The Garff Rogers Ranch spans nearly 6,000 acres stretching along Brown’s Canyon Road and State Road 248 near the Jordanelle Reservoir.
“The Rogers and Garff families would really like to keep the ranch as open space as long as we can until it becomes it too expensive to maintain,” said Ben Rogers, a representative of the Garff Rogers Ranch. “But until that happens, it is important for us to find ways that the ranch can pay for itself so we can keep it as a cattle ranch. It is the little financial things like this that allow us to do that.
“Our hope is that in conjunction with the Park City Film Studios we can have a lot of success,” Rogers said. “We have communicated with them and it has been positive on both ends because at the end of the day what is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
The Lost Creek Movie Set is located less than 10 minutes away from the Park City Film Studios, Rogers said. He added that the expansive terrain can accommodate most outdoor filming requests that filter through the Utah Film Commission.
“I got a call from them (Utah Film Commission) that the state gets multiple calls every year about shooting in a western town,” Rogers said. “Utah has everything, as far as landscapes go, except for that.”
Rogers said they would like to build a saloon, jail and several other buildings that could be used for interior and exterior shots. He said most of the buildings would be full-scale structures, however, they would not be complete.
“They would only be facades so that you would get the feel that you are walking down the street of an old, western town,” Rogers said. “Our primary operation is the ranch and the agriculture property. This is just one of these things that if we can figure out how to get some movies filmed up there I think it would be beneficial for all of the property.
“I don’t think it would hurt if you had the next “Dances with Wolves” or “Lonesome Dove” filmed up here,” he said.
County staff anticipate minimal impacts on the surrounding community from filming. According to a planning department staff report, the closest home is located nearly 3,000 feet away. The report states that items such as set pieces and dressing-room trailers will remain within a defined parking area. The property owners have also agreed to limit the hours of filming from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“There is no adjoining community,” Rogers said. “Promontory is probably the closest, as far as roads or buildings, but they are still probably 3,000 feet away. There are some lots across the street (Brown’s Canyon Road), but those neighbors have all been curious about it and they think it is exciting because we recently finished filming for a movie starring Robert Pattinson.”
Film companies would still be required to apply for the necessary permits to film in Summit County, according to Sean Lewis, a Summit County planner. The set has been approved for one year, during which time the property owners intend to submit an application to amend the Eastern Summit County Development Code to permanently allow filming at the site.
“Right now the Eastern Summit County Code allows for this to be done on a temporary basis if it is not listed in the use chart and the developer wants to make this a permanent feature,” Lewis said. “It is pretty far off the road and there wouldn’t be anything that would impact drivers because they have a large parking area where they can set up. Other than just getting the cars to and from the site, there shouldn’t be much impact on the neighbors and the road is capable of handling the light traffic that this would generate.”
The planning commission granted the temporary permit following a public hearing on Aug. 4. No input was provided.
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The Coalville native doesn’t see any major roadblocks for this year’s fair, though presenting in front of the County Council is a little nerve wracking.