MORGAN - Morgan County Council will vote Oct. 1 on a proposed Snowbasin resort plan that a local planner says will eventually double the number of dwelling units in the county.
Snowbasin representatives have not set up a timetable for when construction will begin, but the plan itself encompasses the next 50 years, said Charles Ewart, planning and development services department director for Morgan County.
The Morgan County Planning Commission voted Thursday to recommend the county council approve Snowbasin Resort Special District. This resort district encompasses 8,124 acres in Morgan County plus about 4,000 acres in Weber County. The plan allows for 2,400 building units in the special district.
None of the 30 people who attended the Morgan County Planning Commission meeting spoke. The Commission voted unanimously and without discussion to recommend the rezoning to the council, with one abstention by Shane Stephens.
Snowbasin planners put together a town hall meeting about the plan two years ago, Ewart said. Most people know what's going on and how it will affect them to some degree, he added.
Because no one in the audience spoke against the rezoning, Ewart said he felt the majority of residents are in favor.
Residents know more development in Morgan County is coming, but it needs to be carefully regulated, said Lana Rollins Walters, who co-owns property adjacent to a Snowbasin development zone. Walters said she planned to attend the public hearing, but arrived too late.
"We are this sweet little county that's remained the same for the past 100 years," Walters said "This will impact this entire county, Mountain Green especially. The needs of the people who live here have to be considered."
The original Snowbasin year-round resort plan did not mention Morgan County because the master plan did not recognize the county lines, said Wally Huffman, director of development for Good America Hotels and Resorts
"Morgan County has all of the meadowlands to accommodate summer recreation," he said. "Weber has the alpine lands for winter recreation."
The present zoning only allows for one home every 160 acres. The new zone would allow Snowbasin to build a resort with year-round and vacation housing, both condominium and single residence; hotels; a spa; restaurants; coffee shops and other retail shops; plus a golf pro shop, Huffman said.
This resort plan has been in the process since late 2006 to early 2007, but has only gained momentum within the past few months, he said.
Discussions began in Weber County because "people were so concerned about the impact," Huffman said.
"As far as the impact on Morgan County, this will be a major development," said Terri Harrington, a Design Workshop planner and architect who has been working on the project.
A long-range transportation plan drafted in 2008 recommended a new interchange at the Trappers Loop road to replace the Mountain Green half interchange because roads that are designed to "accommodate a few hundred vehicles will soon be accommodating a few thousand."
The main access to the resort will remain Trappers Loop, Harrington said. The access to the new construction will be focused near the Strawberry Gondola, she said.
Developers met with the Utah Division of Wildlife in 2009, and the agency did not have any concerns other than reducing the number of hiking trails, Harrington said.
As far as the Snowbasin property in Weber County is concerned, that land has been ready for development for more than two years. Back in January 2011, the last big hurdle was jumped when the Weber County Commission unanimously approved a rezoning request from Snowbasin Resort Co. for the land within the county.
Scott Mendoza, a planner with Weber County, said Tuesday his county's Snowbasin land was rezoned at that time to DDR-1, or Destination and Recreation Resort zone.
"They have all their entitlements in place," Mendoza said of Snowbasin. "The vision or master plan has all been approved."
The next step for Snowbasin, as far as Weber County is concerned, is to seek approval for the individual site plans on hotels, office buildings, subdivisions and the like.
"Approximately 4,000 acres in Weber County is ready to go for them," Mendoza said.