SALT LAKE CITY — Remarking that the east side canyons "belong to all of us," Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon called on residents Thursday to help develop general plans for Parleys, Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood canyons.

Corroon urged the public to participate in an open house at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 at the Millcreek Community Center, 2266 E. Evergreen Ave. (3435 South), to provide input regarding future use of the three canyons.

"Our canyons don't belong to any one person. They belong to all of us. Our canyons do not belong to any single entity. They belong to all of us," Corroon said at a press conference at the trailhead at the mouth of Parleys Canyon.

The open house is the first of a series of periodic public meetings on the canyons. Future times and dates will be posted at:

In the past, the county developed master plans covering 10 to 20 years to guide the use, development and transportation decisions in the canyons. Long-range master plans have been replaced with "general plans," as guiding documents for future planning.

Corroon, who is not seeking re-election, said he will hand off development of the general plans to the next mayor because the public process could take a year.

The county recently completed the Emigration Canyon general plan, which will be sent to the Salt Lake County Council for its consideration.

However, Corroon recently appointed a 15-member commission working to help update the county's Foothills, Canyon Overlay Zone Ordinance.

The ordinance applies to Parleys, Emigration, Millcreek, Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood canyons in unincorporated Salt Lake County as well as Rose and Butterfield canyons in the Oquirrh Mountains. The ordinance dates back to 1997. 

Planning and Development Division director Rolen Yoshinga said the commission may have recommendations as soon as October. The Salt Lake County Council would ultimately approve changes to the ordinance.

"My hope is, we can finish with the FCOZ Ordinance by the end of the year," Corroon said.

Meanwhile, three canyon transportation studies are under way in Mill Creek, Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood canyons. Those studies, which seek to improve public access to the area while protecting watersheds and wildlife, are expected to be completed by fall 2012. One study is devoted solely to addressing parking conditions and future needs in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons.

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