Summit County Council scraps temporary grading permit proposal
Members agree not to implement measure after public outcry
Property owners in Eastern Summit County and the Snyderville Basin were given temporary reprieve this week after the Summit County Council failed to act on a six-month zoning ordinance regulating grading activity.
County Council members agreed not to approve the temporary ordinance that would have created a process to review and regulate applications for grading activity that moves more than 40-cubic yards (about one dump truck load of dirt) or changes elevation more than two feet.
The ordinance would have allowed county staff to evaluate site work completed through a grading permit to “close the gap between engineering and planning,” according to Pat Putt, Summit County Community Development Director. Putt would have been given the authority as director to review permit proposals until permanent language was developed.
Chris Ure, a South Summit resident and former East Side planning commissioner, said the amendments are a “hurried-up deal.”
“Quit beating up on us poor law-abiding citizens,” Ure said. “I would encourage you to deny this and, if you feel there is a need, send it through the planning commission and proper process.”
Earlier this month, the Summit County Council decided to delay a decision on the amendments after North Summit property owners expressed concern over the effect the ordinance would have on agriculture although staff said agricultural activity would be exempt.
“There is nothing more permanent than temporary, especially when there is no imminent danger and no risk,” said Mike Brown, an East Side property owner. “Let’s do something through the proper process. Trying to shove something in with the code through a temporary zoning ordinance, that’s the part we find offensive. As I’ve gone through it and I’ve heard the concerns about communications between the departments, I don’t think this ordinance solves that problem.”
County Council members Roger Armstrong and Kim Carson had attended a meeting about the issue with more than 50 East Side property owners.
“We wanted to make sure the changes we were going to make didn’t disallow previously approved activities on the East Side,” said Armstrong.
Luczak, who lives in Wanship and attended the meeting with the council members, said a temporary zoning ordinance is an extreme step to take.
“Why does the county or staff feel there is a justified compelling public interest if we haven’t really had any health or safety issues?” Luzcak said to the council on Wednesday. “Why put an extra burden on famers and ranchers on the East Side who want to do any dirt work?”
Luczak built a motocross track on his property through a grading permit, causing his neighbors to sue the county after the County Council narrowly determined he could continue operating it. A 3rd District Court judge recently overturned the County Council’s decision.
Council Chair Chris Robinson said he believes the biggest change is considering recategorizing grading activity as a land-use regulation.
However, Dave Thomas, the county’s chief civil deputy attorney, said the Utah Legislature passed a measure this session that does that. Thomas said eventually, the county’s code will have to reflect the new statewide standard.
County Council member Doug Clyde encouraged the council to still discuss developing language to prevent developers from circumventing the county’s processes.
“I think the biggest problems we have are fills and wetlands that become development paths and not having a way to deal with that right now,” Clyde said. “I think the motocross track and Hole 11 at the golf course where the berm was created are great examples of this going really wrong.”
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A gas leak forced the evacuation of North Summit High School and North Summit Middle School Monday afternoon in Coalville. No injuries were reported.