Proposed limestone quarry in Parleys Canyon draws criticism

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposed open-pit limestone quarry in Parleys Canyon is drawing criticism from residents and elected officials.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, real estate developer Jesse Lassley bought up most of the private land in an area adjacent to his home in Mt. Aire Canyon, with a plan to develop a massive quarry that would extract 2 million tons of limestone a year.

Before the plan became public in November, Lassley sold his home.

“The development could potentially scar the natural contours of the landscape and could irreversibly disturb the experiences of countless residents in these two canyons,” Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson told the SLT, referring to the adjacent Mill Creek Canyon.

“Creating new mining or extraction operations in our critical wildland-urban interface areas should not be allowed by County ordinance. My priority is to support recreation, clean air and water, and the preservation of our canyon’s precious areas, especially as we see increased demand for use.”

Last week, the Salt Lake County Council voted to start a process that would change the county’s zoning ordinances to ban mineral extraction. The amendment will be addressed by the planning commission on February 9.

“Utah has been the fastest-growing state in the country over the last decade, and because of that, we’re experiencing record housing costs,” said Matt Lusty, a publicist for Tree Farm, a newly formed LLC behind the quarry development. “When we talk about air quality, if you put these mines far away from where people are and where businesses are that are buying these products, that means you’re going to have more trucks driving longer distances. That’s going to be terrible for our air. You want to strategically place this.”

According to county records, late last year Tree Farm bought 14 parcels in Parleys Canyon from Ira Sachs, a Park City entrepreneur. The land purchased spans 872 acres.

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