In this week’s episode we’ll talk about:
- A big grant the County received for watershed restoration and fuel reduction projects
- The approval of the Summit County Open Space Advisory Committee
- The Hoytsville Mural being painted on the Public Works building as we speak
- A County Council recap
UTAH WRI GRANT MONEY
Some good news to kick things off! Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative (WRI) awarded $4.6 million dollars in grant funding to support seven major watershed restoration and fuel reduction projects within Summit County, from Parley’s Summit and Weber Canyon to the Provo River Watershed and the North Slope of the Uintas.
More specifically, the funds include:
- $3.2 million for Public Land Wildfire Fuel Reduction in the Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest and on State and Basin Recreation Open Space
- $680K for Stream Restoration (specifically for the Weber River, East Canyon Creek, McLeod Creek, and Chalk Creek)
- $520K for Community Cost Share Wildfire Fuel Reductions Programs
- $264K for the Pinebrook Masters Association
- $105K for the Summit Park HOA
- $150K for Weber Canyon
In addition, the funds include:
- $150K for Weed Abatement and Amphibian Monitoring
- $60K for a Summit County Green Energy Biomass Facility Analysis
- $36K for Staffing and Project Management
So, a big congratulations to Jess Kirby, who heads the Summit County Public Lands Department, for securing $2.1 million of the funds for projects that she is directly involved with. A team of collaborative partners, such as USFS, Utah Dept of Natural Resources, Sageland Collaborative, and Trout Unlimited, will implement projects with the rest of the funds.
It’s a big step in moving forward with really important work! To date, the public land department has secured $5,005,854 for the Watershed Resilience Fund.
SUMMIT COUNTY OPEN SPACE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
More good news for Public Lands, the Council approved Ordinance No. 935, officially enacting a Summit County Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC) and three Regional Advisory Groups representing each of the North, South, and Western Summit County communities.
For some background information in case any of our listeners do not know, in November of 2021 Summit County voters overwhelmingly supported and passed a $50 million countywide General Obligation Bond for open space.
Since the bond was passed, the County Council has expressed a strong desire to heavily involve the community in the decision-making process for where to spend the bond proceeds, as well as receive extensive public input into the criteria used for evaluating available properties to make sure we are meeting the community’s goals. This is why the Council established OSAC and the regional advisory groups.
The role of the regional advisory groups will be to develop and recommend selection standards to OSAC to be used in evaluating potential properties for purchase or conservation. OSAC, which will be composed of nine members, three from each of the regional advisory groups, will finalize those standards and use them to advise the Council on which properties to consider for purchase/conservation with the open space bond funds.
Recruitment is open for volunteers to serve on each of the three (3) regional advisory groups representing North, South, and Western Summit County. All interested residents are encouraged to apply before June 15 at bit.ly/OSCAC22. Members of OSAC will be appointed from these three regional advisory groups.
In case you haven’t heard, the Summit County Public Art Advisory Board, with support from the Arts Council, has procured an historical mural for the Summit County Public Works Building in Hoytsville. This project was conceived in response to a request from Hoytsville residents for public artwork that honors the unique history, landscape, and spirit of the region.
International Mural Artist, Sasha Primo has spent the last several weeks staying with families in Hoytsville to get a better sense of the community and its heritage to complete the mural. But he won’t be doing it alone! He invites the community to paint with him! Join Sasha on Saturday, May 28, 2022 from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Public Works Building located at 1775 South Hoytsville Road.
No painting experience is required, and participants need only bring clothes they can paint in, water, sunscreen, hats (weather depending), and their enthusiasm. No need to stay for the entire time! Come for an hour or two and make your mark on this mural that will be part of the North Summit community for years to come!
The Council will formally dedicate the mural next week on Wednesday, June 1 ahead of their regularly scheduled meeting.
WIND FARM DEVELOPMENT
Also at this week’s Council meeting, Enyo Renewable Energy was in front of the Council to discuss their proposed development of a wind farm in the northern part of the County on the Utah/Wyoming border.
The project includes 31 Turbine Wind Units that will generate approx. 60+ megawatts of power, a solar farm that will generate 50 megawatts of power, and related ancillary infrastructure. It’s expected that the total investment for the project will be approximately $200 million.
Enyo retained Lewis Young Robertson & Burningham, Inc. (LYRB), a financial advisory firm, to conduct tax increment modeling and analysis, an energy market study, and a gap analysis in order to portray the feasibility and demand of the project.
What the firm found is that there is good demand in the market, Utah Energy Companies have specific renewable energy goals to reach within the next decade, and the state offers financial incentives for renewable energy initiatives. However, there is a gap. As it stands, the project is not financially viable by itself; Enyo is looking for local incentives in addition to state incentives and private funding.
To obtain local incentive that will help fill that gap, Enyo is proposing a partnership with the County that will include public funding for the project in the form of a tax incentive financing mechanism called a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) CRA.
In terms of what happens from here, Council and Enyo will have to reach an intent resolution which just means intent to study the project further. From there, Enyo will create a project area boundary and provide specific financial models and budgets for that specific area. Stay tuned on more information on this project in the coming months!
NIGHTLY RENTALS + CONDOTEL MANAGEMENT LICENSES
Two weeks ago, Council talked about whether or not they’d like to enhance short-term rental regulations in the County by amending both the Snyderville Basin and Eastern Summit County Development Codes on the basis of health, safety, and welfare concerns as the County has seen a large increase in licensed short-term rentals since 2019.
At that meeting, they asked the Attorney’s Office to prepare a draft ordinance that would suspend the issuance of any new business licenses for the purpose of short term rentals for the next 6 months until they can establish what set of regulations they want to pursue.
This week, that draft ordinance was presented to the Council for their review. After a lengthy discussion, no action was taken on the ordinance. Instead, the Council asked for a public hearing to be scheduled for their next meeting so they could hear from the community on the issue in order to best inform their decisions moving forward.
If you would like to provide your input on this issue, the public hearing will be held on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at the Ledges Event Center. The hearing will start after the general public comment period which begins at 6:00 PM. If you can’t make it in person, you can always provide comments via Zoom. Zoom information can be found at the top of every meeting agenda.
SNYDERVILLE BASIN DEVELOPMENT CODE
Back in late April, there was a public hearing held on proposed amendments to the Snyderville Basin Development Code with the intention to create water-wise landscaping regulations. Staff took comments made at the hearing back to the office to make necessary adjustments and returned to the Council this week to present an amended version of the ordinance.
After a lengthy discussion on water rights and the legislature’s role, the Council didn’t take action on adopting the ordinance. Instead, they continued the public hearing on the issue until the June 22nd Council meeting. If you would like to provide input or feedback on this issue, be sure to mark your calendars for that Wednesday!
And, finally, County Manager, Tom Fisher, gave a brief update on the EMS Master Planning process at this week’s Council meeting. For some context, we reported on May 13th that there is currently an RFP out to hire an outside consultant who will conduct a master planning process to recommend how the County provides EMS moving forward. Tom shared that the EMS Subcommittee is currently evaluating the bids and should make a selection in the next few weeks.