SNOWBIRD SKI AND SUMMER RESORT – proposed Land Use Ordinance Text
Amendment to Section 3-47, Accessory Ski Lifts and Associated Facilities in the CE-1 Zone
July 19, 2011
Page 2 of 8
Jeff Mendenhall stated that the applicant proposes to amend Section 3-47, “Accessory Ski Lifts
and Associated Facilities in the CE-1 Zone”, to allow facilities for cross-county skiing, snow-cat
skiing, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails, as well as mountain resort features
such as zip lines, alpine slides, and mountain coasters, which would be integrated into the
mountain features. These activities would be in the Mineral Basin on the Utah County Side of
the Snowbird Ski Resort. If Snowbird at some time would desire to go into a more total resort
with lodges, then the area would need to be re-zoned into the CE-2 Zone. Staff would prefer that
the property remain in the CE-1 Zone since the CE-2 Zone would allow for more development
that might be detrimental to the mountain. Any permitted uses would still have to be approved
by the Board of Adjustment for a Conditional Use permit. A map was presented which outlined
Snowbird property in Utah County. Access to Mineral Basin would be over the mountain from
Snowbird Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake County.
Janice Reeb inquired about acreage.
Odell Miner clarified that there would be no access from American Fork Canyon in Utah County.
Bob Bonar, General Manager of Snowbird, said that currently Snowbird is using 500 acres of
their private property within Utah County. He gave a slide presentation showing the geography
of the resort and explaining that 65% of the resort property is leased forest land and the
remaining is private property. Tunnel access to Mineral Basin began in 1999 for both winter and
summer activities. Water quality, revegetation, and mine clean-up have been priority issues for
Snowbird on the American Fork side. He described winter and summer activities on the
mountain with access to all, including those with disabilities.
Motion: John Glen Stevens Second: Odell Miner
Motion to open the public hearing. The motion passed by the following vote: “Aye”, Helina
Carter-Thomas, Janice Reeb, Odell Miner, John Glen Stevens; “Nay”, none.
Chad Lewis expressed his satisfaction with the Wasatch Adaptive Sports program at Snowbird
for those with limited mobility. He felt Snowbird was a great steward of the mountain.
Katy Terry said that she approved of the Snowbird expansion. She had been in an car accident
and previously skied, and now participates in the summer and winter adaptive programs which
are very important to the disabled community.
Mark Haight mentioned that there are other private property owners in American Fork Canyon,
including the Federal Government which has condemned private property specifically for winter
sports. He is concerned about private property owners and their rights, as well as road access.
Page 3 of 8
Katina Philpot is concerned about access for free that a vast number of people use on public
lands. If there is continued development, public lands become private parcels and access is not
Helina Carter-Thomas asked for clarification if this development would cut people off from
using public land.
Jeff Mendenhall replied that any access that is now in use, would still be available. Access to the
ski resort would not be available from the Utah County side. Snowbird Resort property is private
and it would be up to them as to public use into or through their property.
Steve Cazier commented that members of his family have physical challenges and greatly enjoy
the facilities Snowbird provides for everyone to enjoy the mountains together.
Ash Johnsdottir is concerned about the amount of development in the wilderness areas; she was
concerned about environmental impact.
Jennifer Kecor, representing the Save Our Canyons organization, presented concerns about the
further development of Snowbird. Her concerns included abiding by the Utah County General
Plan objectives to preserve natural resources; mountain resort adventure features not contributing
to the activity of skiing; Utah County not having slope protection standards; development on the
top of American Fork Twin Peaks; and limiting development in the CE-1 Zone. The group is not
opposed to cross-country skiing, hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding trails, since several
of these uses are already available on public lands in the area.
A copy of the Save Our Canyons presentation was accepted into record.
Wade Philpot is concerned about the water shed areas and about electrical usage. There are
additional mercury deposits in the water because of the electrical production needed by large
developments. He is concerned that the tourist industry in Utah will dwindle when the water
sources become unsafe.
Allison Minton is supportive of Snowbird expansion that has been so supportive of her and her
handicapped children who have been able to use Snowbird facilities in all seasons.
Jeremy Jolly feels that this area can be responsibly developed and is not going to have any more
impact than the current motor vehicle use in the canyon.
Francine Bennion thinks that the purpose of an application should fit the code; she would like to
see more specific information about facilities that are being added—why we need more, what
benefits would the changes bring to Utah County residents. If new development has to be
adjoining, then if the forest service leases more property to Snowbird, the development of the
mountain goes on and on.
Page 4 of 8
Allen Sanderson was concerned that ‘mountain resort’ was a term that did not really identify
what could be included and what might it include in the future; he felt there would be a lot of
travel for Utah County residents to access the Utah County side of Snowbird; and development
of this type would not be good for the CE-1 Zone. He felt Utah County should have some slope
standards. Undeveloped recreation is good for everyone but amusement rides seem unnecessary.
He also pointed out that this application was being brought to Utah County, because Snowbird
tried to put a mountain coaster in Salt Lake County and it was denied because it was not
consistent with a ski and snow related activity, it was not similar to a ski lift, and it violated Salt
Lake County slope standards.
Duff Gardner appreciates the Wasatch Adaptive Sports program at Snowbird that his son has
participated in, and is in favor of expansion with responsible use.
Janice Reeb wanted to know if a zip line and alpine slide would be part of the adaptive sports
Pete Mandlar noted that most families were on scholarship for the Adaptive Sports program.
Most of the participants use all of the facilities.
Helina Carter-Thomas inquired about services that would be in the new area and how they would
be utilized. She also asked about what kind of revenue the additions would create for Utah
County, as well as if there was a need for an environmental impact study.
Jeff Mendenhall remarked that an environmental study would be required for the Board of
Adjustment for approval of new facilities.
John Glen Stevens inquired about how much land is Forest Service land and how much is private
Bob Bonar said that many of the current activities in use are old and need updating; with a
growing population new activities become more popular and more are needed. This is planning
to accommodate activities and take care of flora and fauna. Previously emergency services have
been worked out with Utah County and a environmental study would be done before changes
were implemented. All of the 500 acres currently in use in Utah County are private property in
the ownership of Snowbird Resort.
Junior Bounous explained that he had been associated with Sundance and Snowbird resorts
through the years. During this time things have changed, and as a result of customer demands
things do change, and there has to be planning prior to changes.
Page 5 of 8
Julie Reneer was in favor of Snowbird preserving the outdoors so that everyone could enjoy our
mountains. She and her disabled child have used the zip line and alpine slide and appreciate
accessibility to the mountains.
Janice Reeb was hesitant to add specific items to the code that might set a precedent that they are
pre-approved when brought before the Board of Adjustment. She was concerned about the
master planning process.
Motion: Odell Miner Second: John Glen Stevens
Motion to close the public hearing. The motion passed by the following vote: “Aye”, Helina
Carter-Thomas, Janice Reeb, Odell Miner, John Glen Stevens; “Nay”, none.
The Planning Commissioners, Staff and Mr. Shawcroft discussed eliminating specific activities,
what activities and uses should be permitted. Mr. Shawcroft noted that if an activity is not listed
it could not be permitted. Other concerns were: who makes determination of how much
development is allowed, what guidelines could be developed, impact on the county and county
budget, private vs. forest owned lands, responsible economic development, protecting open
space lands, slope protection, and water source protection areas.
Motion: Janice Reeb Second: John Glen Stevens
Motion to continue the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort proposal until the September 20,
2011, meeting of the Planning Commission. Staff is asked to consider additions or inclusions to
permitted facilities and give suggestions for slope standards and density that would also be
guidelines for the Board of Adjustment to follow.
The motion passed by the following vote:
“Aye”, Helina Carter-Thomas, Janice Reeb, Odell Miner, John Glen Stevens; “Nay”, none.