After nearly seven years of wrangling and $440,000 in expenses, Solitude Ski Resort owners have Salt Lake County's recommendation for approval of their plans to build 280 overnight lodging units in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

But final U.S. Forest Service approval of the project and the beginning of construction could still be years away.The Planning Commission has recommended that Solitude be granted conditional use permits to develop a seven-building day-use complex and overnight units in five additional buildings. No one appeared before the commission to oppose the application and the recommendation now will go to county commissioners for final county approval.

The county approval would be conditional upon final Forest Service approval of those portions of the Solitude project planned on federal property, and upon required health and water quality approvals.

To accommodate the Solitude 10-year master plan for development, the Forest Service would have to amend its master plan to allow building of overnight lodging units on public land. That amendment process could take two to three years, Solitude majority owner Gary DeSeelhorst said.

Solitude also needs Forest Service final approval to build a $3.2 million sewer line the length of Big Cottonwood Canyon before construction of the buildings can begin. A final decision on that request could also be years away.