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Wasatch Peaks Ranch a go after resort, residents reach legal agreement

MORGAN COUNTY, Utah — In a surprising turn of events, the legal dispute between Wasatch Peaks Ranch and Morgan County residents, who had been fighting to put the private ski and golf resort on the ballot, has been resolved after five years of legal battles. According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, the two parties engaged in talks outside the courtroom over the past two weeks, leading to an unexpected compromise.

As part of the agreement, Wasatch Peaks Ranch will establish a conservation easement on 2,300 acres of its 12,700-acre property. The resort also agreed to allow public trails across parts of its property for access to National Forest Service land along the ridgeline. The access is contingent on the construction of a public trail up to the resort’s boundaries.

Additionally, Wasatch Peaks Ranch will create a foundation aimed at benefiting the residents of Morgan County, contributing $4 million to the fund. The foundation will be overseen by a member of the county commission, a representative from the resort and individuals appointed by the involved residents.

In exchange for these concessions, the residents agreed to drop their pursuit of a referendum on the zoning laws passed by the Morgan County Council in 2019, which allowed for the development of the resort. This zoning change had converted the land from a “forestry” designation to a “special resort district.” The residents had asserted their constitutional right to vote on this change, leading to a lawsuit against Morgan County. However, Judge Noel Hyde ruled in Sept. that the residents had the right to a referendum.

The agreement also resolves the temporary restraining order and injunction Judge Hyde issued in December, allowing the resort to continue construction under the zoning regulations in question.

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