Politics

Salt Lake moves forward with ordinance targeting mining in Parley’s Canyon

SALT LAKE CITY — Last week the Salt Lake County Mountainous Planning District unanimously voted to approve an ordinance recommending the county “eliminate mineral extraction and processing as a conditional use” and prohibit “the same and other related uses in the forestry and recreation zones.”

The move comes as a real estate developer is looking a build an open-pit limestone quarry in Parley’s Canyon. The project, now officially dubbed the ‘I-80 South Quarry,’ recently hired Granite Construction and launched a website arguing the resources will be needed to match Utah’s growth.

“As the private property owner for this project in the state of Utah, I want to be a responsible steward of this land while ensuring its highest and best use,” the property owner under the recently formed Tree Farm LLC said in a statement. “That’s why I’ve engaged the best operator for environmental friendliness, Granite Construction, to provide a product that we all need as a community.”

The ordinance change, which moves on to the Salt Lake County Planning Commission on Feb. 16, was drafted shortly after Tree Farm submitted two proposals to the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining so it could begin operations.

Public comment at the planning meeting last week was nearly entirely supportive of the ordinance.

“We’ve noted some significant shortcomings in our land use ordinances to protect our water, our wildlife, our air, our forests and other shared community values of the Wasatch Range,” Carl Fisher, the executive director for the nonprofit Save Our Canyons told KSL. “The ordinance put forth by the county take a step in the right direction, but we have a lot more work to do.”

The ordinance will move to the Salt Lake County Council at a later date for a final decision.

Zachary Shaw with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office said he thinks the law change has “a strong legal basis.”

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