MORGAN -- Snowbasin development is knocking on Morgan County's door, so county officials want to make sure they're prepared with the right planning tools.
The Morgan County Council voted to repeal the master planned development reserve district ordinance and enact the resort special district zoning designation.
"This is a big change," said Grant Crowell, county planning and development services department director. "It is a different approach. I think it will work well."
Snowbasin has development plans on 8,000 acres in Morgan County. Plans announced in 2009 include a hotel, ski lodge, parking, golf courses, restaurants, tennis courts, trails, retail establishments and as many as 2,950 dwelling units, including townhomes, single-family homes and four-story condos.
Snowbasin is already proceeding with development plans on 4,200 acres in Weber County.
The MPDR ordinance, used to allow creation of large master planned communities, was used to plan for Rivala, a golf course community on 343 acres with plans for 561 residential units.
"It is clear this ordinance didn't serve the need of a large project" like Snowbasin's, Crowell said. "There is a better approach for resort projects."
Crowell said the new resort specific overlay zoning designation applies better to "large developments that are unique and need special planning techniques to which typical zoning standards don't apply very well."
"It's tailored to large tracts of open space," he said. "If this model is successful, it could be tailored to other projects."
According to the new ordinance, to use the resort overlay zone, applicants must have at least 1,280 acres of land they wish to develop, and agree to leave at least 60 percent of that land as open space.
Crowell said the resort special district doesn't necessarily replace the MPDR and could be used for development in the East Canyon area.
The new ordinance is less wordy and allows legislative action to focus more on development agreements rather than zoning code, Crowell said.
Councilman Don Mathews said it could allow landowners to have more control over the future use of their land.
Snowbasin began working with the county for pre-application activities this year. The county has formed a working group, including three county council members and three planning commission members, to consider Snowbasin's planning efforts.