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SIDES STILL `FAR APART’ IN SNOWBASIN DISPUTE

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Negotiators representing both sides in the Snowbasin land-swap dispute remain "too far apart" on the issue to reach a consensus recommendation, a mediator said Friday.

The announcement by Ty Tice of Seattle followed six hours of intense negotiations Thursday night and several mediation sessions over the past few weeks.The decision was arrived at shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday, but it was delayed until Friday to allow negotiators the opportunity to notify the parties they represent.

On one side were those who wanted the Forest Service to give the Ogden-area ski resort the full 1,320 acres it requested for further development. Opponents asked that the agency give up nothing.

"Although significant movement was evident by all sides, it was not sufficient to close the gap between the different perceptions about the number of acres that need to move from public to private ownership to facilitate a sustainable destination resort development at Snowbasin," Tice said in a statement.

"However, the parties take heart in the improved understanding and respect gained for one another's needs and constraints during the mediation process."

Tice said development supporters expressed a desire that the land transfer may yet be settled within the "Ogden City-Weber County neighborhood, since as neighbors they will have to live with the outcome."

Meanwhile, Intermountain Regional Forester Stan Tixier is faced with a Monday deadline to decide appeals on the Forest Service's decision to exchange 220 acres of Snowbasin land, rather than the full acreage sought to bring the area into a four-season recreational resort.

Any decision arrived at by the negotiators would not have been binding on Tixier. But the forester brought Tice into the fray because opponents and proponents had indicated they will appeal any decision not favorable to their side.

"No matter what the decision is, it's going to make a lot of people unhappy," Tixier said earlier.

Tice said the negotiating group included Wasatch-Cache Forest Supervisor Susan Giannettino, Snowbasin spokesman Chris Peterson, Weber County Attorney Reed Richards, Sierra Club representatives Al Rivas and Jock Glidden, Audubon Society spokesman John Bellmon, Ogden Public Works Director Rocky Fluhart and Linda Sauer of the Coalition for the Preservation of Snowbasin.