Sunday, December 07, 2008

Provo River Avoids Development

The Provo River is arguably one of the nation’s best fisheries. With recent work completed between Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs it’s even better. This past week a decision to continue to put these resources recreational and wildlife values before those who would develop it was an significant.

Unbeknownst to many an application to rezone private lands on the Lower Provo River was put before Wasatch County Council (WCC). Should this request have been approved it would permit twenty residential units to be built. Four of those units would lie within the rivers riparian corridor. Even more critical, the rezoning change would open the door for other landowners in the canyon to develop additional properties.

Obviously given the sensitive nature of this resource, there was a lot at stake. As an angler, the trout fishing and those recreational values associated with it are significant. The wildlife values that this canyon supports are critical. Such a development, given its scope, would definitely impact these. Then there is water quality. Simply, it’s the lifeblood of all that is living.

After the first of two public hearings, the request was denied, but only due to the fact that the Wasatch County Planning Commission didn’t have enough members present. Those in attendance voted in favor of the rezoning request 3/2. A 4th favorable vote was needed to make the motion.

A second hearing for public comment was held before the Wasatch County Council, who would make the final decision. I entered this meeting with not much optimism given the Planning Commissions lean. I was even less optimistic given the lack of opposition that spoke before the Council; three of us all totaled. Given what was at stake it was disheartening to see a virtual no-show from the public and those who derive their livelihoods from this resource. Granted there were a number of apposing e-mails received by the Council and a few more in attendance at the first public meeting, but warm bodies in front of this Council would have carried much more weight.

I was relieved and surprised to learn, given the circumstances, of the Wasatch County Council’s judgment to deny the landowners request this past week. Their decision showed great vision. Anglers owe this group a debt of gratitude for efforts and judgment regarding this incredible resource. Their pronouncement will have a positive impact on the continued health of this valuable resource. Should it have gone the other way few would have noticed until the backhoes and bulldozers arrived.


Travis said...

Great news! I received a response back from the council which suprised me. Thank you for all that you do Steve.

Jeremy Christensen said...

Great news Steve. Can you tell me who/where to send a note of thank you?

Steve Schmidt said...

Here is the e-mail address of the Couuncil. There you'll find the council members address, etc. This wasn't my idea. Bert Ley suggested this. He was one of the few who attended the meetings and spoke in opposition of the proposal. He did a great job of presenting pertinent facts regarding the resources and it's current zoning.

Mike Guymon said...

That is Flippin' awesome news. I take my U.V.U. classes along that stretch. It would be a real shame to loose that section.
How do I gain information about when/where those meeting take place?