Richard Young has a separate garbage can he uses to pick up trash discarded by skiers who park behind his house.
In the early morning hours, he often hears boisterous laughter, revving car engines and other noises. At times, hundreds of cars are parked beyond the borders of his property in a remote area near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon.So when Salt Lake County said it wanted the area behind his house to be an official park-and-ride lot - a place where people could leave their cars and catch buses taking them up Little Cottonwood Canyon - Young was displeased.
"I live with the constant fear that a cigarette will ignite the tinder-dry forest area around here," he said. "We hear noisy, boisterous, vulgar language at all hours of the day and night. This diminishes property values."
County officials say they want to protect the canyons east of Salt Lake City from the pollution cars cause. They want people to ride buses to ski resorts and other recreational areas.
But their solution - park-and-ride lots - is turning into a classic "not in my back yard" confrontation. County officials are finding that virtually everyone agrees with their plan until it affects their neighborhoods.
"We're probably going to run into the same battle wherever we go," county senior planner Cal Schneller said.
The county has 24 proposed lots. Only one has been built, near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Forty-three more sites are planned in areas where parking lots already exist, such as churches and shopping centers, although the church lots may not be ideal on Sunday - the biggest skiing day.
Having built a parking lot near Big Cottonwood Canyon, the county turned its attention to Little Cottonwood Canyon, near a community known as Granite.
Young is a member of the Granite Community Council, a local board that gives advice to the county on planning and zoning matters. In an effort to soften opposition, the county gave the community council its choice of three sites for a park-and-ride lot.
The council not only rejected all three, it passed a motion calling for all parking lots to be removed from the area, citing the need to protect property values and the quality of life.
Schneller said the lot near Young's house, if it became
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official, would be well-lit and maintained by the county. One proposed site is about a quarter mile farther up the canyon than where people now park.
Schneller admits he might feel the same way Young does if he happened to live in that neighborhood, but he said sometimes people have to suffer a little for the public good.
"There's a proposed Olympic skating rink near my house," Schneller said. "It's not something I relish, but I know it will happen anyway."
A parking lot or not?
The Salt Lake County Planning Commission will meet Tuesday at 8 a.m. to decide whether to put a park-and-ride lot near Little Cottonwood Canyon, and if so, where. The meeting will be in the County Commission Chambers, 2001 S. State. The local community council has advised against selecting any of three sites being considered. The planners' decision can be appealed to the County Commission.