The Cache County Council voted Thursday to allow petitions both for and against a proposed water conservancy district to be circulated during public information hearings in January.

A standing-room-only crowd attended the meeting in which Councilman Dennis Funk, chairman of the council-appointed Bear River Water Development Committee, at first announced that only petitions favoring formation of a district would be circulated because "the majority of our committee voted in favor of a district."But committee member Bruce Pendry reminded the council that while a majority did favor the district, the idea did not enjoy unanimous support. The council has not taken a formal stand on the issue.

"I am against moving forward with a water conservancy district right now because the committee has not looked at alternatives," Pendry said. "There are water development experts and economists at Utah State University who have studied this issue and asked to make other proposals, but they were never consulted."

State Rep. Evan Olson, R-Young Ward, said developing the unallocated waters of the Bear River is the most important issue facing the county and "Gov. Norm Bangerter has made it one of his priorities.

"If we don't get busy and develop the water, someone else will," he said.

He said the state Division of Water Resources has designated five dam sites in the lower Bear River Basin, three of them in Cache County.