Few people are happy with a proposed master plan on how to protect and profit from canyons along the Wasatch Front, a blueprint of what is allowed and prohibited through the year 2010.
No surprising opinions were expressed at a public hearing Tuesday night in Olympus High School's little theater: Ski resort and Chamber of Commerce officials disliked the plan, and environmentalists gave it cautious approval.County planners estimated 1,000 people attended the hearing, the public's first chance to comment on the proposed Wasatch canyons master plan. The plan focuses primarily on development, watershed quality and transportation in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons.
The 45-page report, the product of 18 months' work by various federal, state and local agencies and citizens committees, also covers City Creek, Red Butte, Emigration, Parleys and Mill Creek canyons.
Ski resort owners and interests and Chamber of Commerce officials said the plan would unjustifiably halt growth.
"Developed ski areas have been made to feel responsible for the problems the canyons are experiencing," said Kent Hoopingarner of Snowbird Resort. "The preliminary master plan as it is written is extremely biased against the developed ski areas."
The master plan calls for no expansion of existing ski areas beyond that already laid down under the U.S. Forest Service's plans. And Hoopingarner said the plan ignores the $360 million yearly added to Utah's economy by the resorts.
"The preliminary master plan that you've proposed is too restrictive for fu-ture development," said Lt. Gov. Val Oveson, adding, "I think we need to have a presumption of possible development rather than a presumption of no development."
Representatives from environmental groups, however, said the plan should be endorsed despite some shortcomings seen by all special-interest groups.
"No one is totally happy with it," said Brook Williams, of the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club. "But no one was promised anything more than equal consideration."
Rep. Frank Pignanelli, D-Salt Lake, whose district includes City Creek Canyon, said the plan for limiting activities that would impair wa-tershed quality is "respectable and respects the concerns of those who enjoy the canyons and use the canyons."
Pignanelli called for more forceful watershed protection requirements, saying residents' future water needs are "too important to be left to hopeful participation by those who use and those who would build in the canyons."
"Please make it (the master plan) as tough and as foolproof as possible for those of us who are here and those who will come after us," state Sen. Frances Farley, D-Salt Lake, told the Planning Commission members.
Comments received at the meeting will be combined with written comments being accepted through Dec. 12 to incorporate into the plan. A final public hearing on the revisions is scheduled for February or March.