A proposed 18-hole expansion of Mountain Dell Golf Course in Parleys Canyon received final approval Tuesday morning from the Salt Lake County Planning Commission.

The $2.8 million expansion will add to the 18 holes and develop a network of cross-country ski trails on the expanded course for winter use.Scott Gardner, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, which operates Mountain Dell, said work on the the new 18 holes will likely begin in September.

The commission's action approved only recreational-level use of the ski trails. Any proposals for international-level Nordic ski competition that could draw thousands of spectators to the course, which sits directly on the city's watershed, would be required to seek individual approval from the commission.

In granting a conditional-use permit for the expansion project, the commission required Parks and Recreation to increase parking at Mountain Dell to 250 spaces and to provide charter-bus transportation to the site for golfers and spectators should the course host major tournaments.

Salt Lake City public utilities officials were initially alarmed when a private developer submitted plans for an international competition level Nordic ski trail at Mountain Dell that threatened the city's watershed in Parleys Canyon.

The plan, which called for the ski trail to be built on some land separate from the golf course, "set off alarms" because it might have interfered with drainage in the area, said City Watershed Manager Russ Hone.

But Hone quickly noted that city parks and recreation officials recognized the problems with the initial plan and corrected them and restricted the ski track to the golf course surface.