January 27, 2023 – County Council Retreat, Exciting Public Lands News & Community Visioning

Council Retreat 

On Friday, January 20, the County Council and County Department Heads gathered at the Kamas Branch of the Summit County Library to review the Council’s strategic priorities, hear from staff on the successes and lessons learned from 2022, and discuss how both of these will affect and guide the work plan for 2023. 

The group covered topics from transportation and congestion to local housing choice to environmental stewardship to land use and regional planning. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks when the 2023 Work Plan is established. We will review that when it comes to give listeners a look at what the county will be up to this year.

Public Lands News 

At this week’s council meeting, the Summit County Council approved a recommendation by the Summit County Interim County Manager, Janna Young, to enter a joint funding agreement with Summit Land Conservancy to acquire an agricultural easement for 99 acres in the Kamas Meadows known as Andrus Farm. This easement marks the first use of the $50 million General Obligation Bond funds approved by voters in 2021 to preserve open space in Summit County.

County Council Chair, Roger Armstrong, shared: “The Meadows are a vital part of the Kamas Valley’s agricultural heritage, scenic open space and vital watershed. We’re pleased to move forward with this agreement in partnership with Summit Land Conservancy and are eager to protect and preserve additional areas of Summit County for future generations, while working together to leverage our public funds with Summit Land Conservancy’s federal grants to extend the life and reach of the GO Bond funding.”

The Open Space Advisory Committee reviewing purchase opportunities for the GO Bond funding made it clear that Eastern Summit County is a high-priority area for the committee to conserve and protect. This is really exciting news in achieving that mission. 

You can read more about the purchase and the history of the property on the homepage of summitcounty.org

And, in more public lands related news…On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which included $1 million for Summit County’s Weber River Watershed Resilience Partnership. 

The Weber River Watershed Resilience Partnership includes Summit County, the United States Forest Service, Utah Forestry, Fire, and State Lands, the Weber Basin Water Conservancy, private landowners, and other state agencies and nonprofits. It focuses on watershed restoration and fire mitigation treatments in the headwaters of the Weber River aimed at building landscape-scale resilience to catastrophic wildfire and protecting this critical water source to Summit County and downstream users. 

This funding will go towards planning and implementation of fuel reduction initiatives within the Upper Weber Watershed, such as selective timber harvest and thinning operations. These tactics, when used in conjunction with returning controlled fire to the system, will help make our forested lands healthier and wildfire adaptive, as well as reduce the negative effects of post-fire impacts on the watershed.

Again, you can read more about this funding and the Weber River Watershed Resilience Partnership on the homepage of summitcounty.org

Community Visioning

Summit County is undertaking a community visioning plan to establish a roadmap for the future of our County! There’s still one more kick-off event taking place from 6 – 8 PM on Tuesday, February 7 at the Kamas Branch of the Summit County Library. We hope to see you there to learn more about the visioning process and how you can get involved. 

Community members also have the opportunity to take the “Summit County Talks” survey now through March 31. It’s an important opportunity to share how you view Summit County as it is now, what you love about our community, and what opportunities you see for it in the next 10-20 years. The survey is available at oursummitcounty.com

Next Weeks’ Preview 

Finally, we just wanted to give a quick preview into some important topics being discussed at next week’s County Council meeting, happening on Wednesday, February 1 at the Ledges Event Center. 

Next week’s agenda includes a public hearing and possible action on a special exception for High Valley Transit, as well as a continued work session and discussion related to the Dakota Pacific Development Agreement. Information on how to participate in or just listen into weekly Council meetings can be found at summitcounty.org/engage.