Wasatch County officials told the Central Utah Water Conservancy District board that they need continued help handling pressure from prominent landholders anxious to develop property near the Jordanelle Dam project.
Although Wasatch County Planner Robert Mathis got no promises Thursday, both he and David Wilson, who represents Summit and Wasatch counties on the water district board, said they were pleased with the interest shown.Wilson, who is also a member of the Wasatch County Planning Commission, requested that the county planner make a presentation to the water district board so members would be aware of all the impacts of the dam.
Part of the multibillion-dollar Central Utah Project, the 3,000-acre reservoir created by the dam, will supply water to Wasatch, Summit, Salt Lake, Utah and eight other counties, as well as provide recreational opportunities.
Mathis said Wasatch County is spending $100,000 to develop a development master plan that is expected to be completed in two years, about the same time as the dam itself.
The plan will detail how development should occur to maintain the high quality of water in the springs and wells that now supply Heber City and Midway.
The concern of residents in Wasatch County is that development will strain water and sewer systems, Mathis said. There is a recognition, however, that the economy can no longer depend on mining and ranching.
"Even though this may look like a real bonanza for the county, it's a real challenge to make it work," Mathis said. "What we're doing now is reacting to pressures from people who want to develop."
He said there are requests pending for permission to build some 8,000 condominiums and other housing units. That's more than twice the 3,500 homes and other housing units currently in the county.
More than 2,000 condominiums are already tentatively approved to be built on property adjacent to the Deer Valley ski resort by the same Dutch company that owns the land the resort is built on.
But so far, no building permits have been issued and Mathis said he would like to delay all construction until after the master plan is completed. To do that, he said, he needs support from the water district.
The names of the landholders read like a "Who's Who" of Utah, Mathis told the water district board members. "You can't be simple with those people," he said.
Members of the water district board asked a number of questions, but took no action. Both Mathis and Wilson said after the meeting that they have been getting cooperation, and they hope the presentation will ensure it continues.