RECREATION

Zoning change could have a major impact on proposed limestone quarry

Dec 10, 2021, 6:28 PM
(File Photo: A runner passing through Grandeur Peak.  KSL TV, 2018)...
(File Photo: A runner passing through Grandeur Peak. KSL TV, 2018)
(File Photo: A runner passing through Grandeur Peak. KSL TV, 2018)

PARLEY’S CANYON — A controversial proposed limestone quarry in Parley’s Canyon might not see the light of day, if a proposed ordinance change from the Salt Lake County Council goes through. County leaders are considering a change to their forestry zoning rules.

Some opponents of the proposed quarry believe it will do irreparable harm to the mountains near Grandeur Peak.  The Notice of Intent filed by Tree Farm LLC would allow for half a million tons of limestone and other minerals to be extracted from the area every year within the first three to five years of operations. After that, crews would be able to extract 2 million tons per year.

Currently, mineral extraction is an approved reason to apply for a conditional use permit.  If the proposed amendment to zoning laws is approved, that would completely change.

County Deputy Mayor of Regional Operations Catherine Kanter said, “It removes, from the zoning ordinance, a conditional use that covers mineral extraction.”

This rule change hasn’t been approved, yet.  Kanter said several different groups, and even the District Attorney’s Office need to look over the amendment.

“There are different groups, like community councils and our two planning commissions, that will consider the amendment,” Kanter said.

After getting recommendations from the other commissions, the county will have to vote on the resolution, again, and Kanter said there will be a long public comment process.

(A graphic from Salt Lake County, inviting people to comment on the proposed changes)

She said, “There will be multiple opportunities for the public to weigh in, both at the planning commission level and at the county council level.”

If this change were to be adopted, does completely halt the quarry?  Not necessarily, said Kanter.  She said Tree Farm LLC may be able to file another Notice of Intent, just without a request for mineral extraction.  She said the county will be fair and objective, but she acknowledges the quarry is getting extremely little support from county residents.

Kanter said, “There has been clear and overwhelmingly negative constituent response.”

County Mayor Jenny Wilson has already spoken out against the quarry.  After the council vote, she issued a statement saying new mining operations shouldn’t be allowed by county ordinance.

It reads, in part, “My priority is to support recreation, clean air and water, and preservation of these precious areas, especially as we see increased demand for use.  The County’s actions today further my administration’s ongoing effort to manage and safeguard our canyon areas for future generations.”

(The statement issued by Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson)

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Zoning change could have a major impact on proposed limestone quarry