DRAPER — Draper's mountainside paradise will stay a natural beauty in the middle of the booming city.

The Draper City Council unanimously approved the Corner Canyon Master Plan on Tuesday night. And on top of that, it was learned Draper Irrigation Co. probably will not pursue a plan for a 14-acre reservoir in the north end of the canyon.

"Not with the feeling of the City Council," said Dave Gardner, the water company's development manager. "There are other areas we'll pursue."

The local company was one of four that sold the 1,021 acres to the city for open space. But Draper Irrigation, also known as Water Pro, still held rights on 14 acres of land in the canyon's basin.

City officials and water company leaders have disputed whether those rights were meant for water tanks or a reservoir. During a public hearing two weeks ago, most residents spoke out against the idea of a large, 150 million-gallon, 100-foot-high dam in that open space. The City Council has also expressed angst over that idea.

But now Draper Irrigation will resubmit plans for a water tank that would hold 6 million gallons of water and stand at 165 feet wide and only 38 feet high. Most of that would be buried underground, Gardner said.

The water company submitted a plan to the city's Planning and Zoning Commission about one or two months ago, he said, but that plan was appealed because it did not take into account the trees already on the location.

Draper Irrigation will head back to the commission soon for approval on the tank.

"When people say, 'Why do you want to build a reservoir,' I say, 'Look how much Draper has grown,"' Gardner said. However, he said, "Overall, there wasn't much objection to the tank."

The master plan approved Tuesday recommended against a reservoir.

News of the plan's approval delighted Bruce John Stracke, a local activist who formed the Web site cornercanyon.com last year as a sounding board for other interested residents.

"As a city as small as Draper to make the commitment they did is huge," he said.

Stracke added he likes the master plan, especially since it calls for few additions.

"More is not better," he said. "We don't need a lot up there."

Draper, wanting to preserve that land from home developers, bought the land for $13.7 million last year. Part of that money came through a $7 million bond residents approved in 2004. Park City and Draper were among the first cities in Utah to issue open space bonds.

That master plan, developed by citizens and city staff members who made up the Corner Canyon Planning Committee, recommends hiking, biking and cross-country skiing as permitted uses for the land — but prohibits off-road vehicles, camping and swimming.

"I know that there's a lot of potential here. I applaud the prior council for their actions to acquire this property," Councilman Jeff Stenquist said. "But I think we can sort of say we bought a fixer-upper. There are a lot of erosion issues."

The South Mountain canyon has numerous development and maintenance needs, such as erosion control, trail improvements and alterations, and clean-up. All are addressed in detail in the master plan.

Draper Irrigation Co. will now either increase a contract with Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District or drill wells, Gardner said. Both either, he said, will cost the residents of Draper, who constitute two-thirds of the citizens the company serves. Wells, for example, cost between $2 million and $2.5 million apiece, he said. And the water company would need to build three to four wells to equal the size of a reservoir.

But council members and citizens were pleased that the dam idea is dead.


E-mail: astowell@desnews.com