Planning for what Salt Lake County's Wasatch canyons will look like next year and 30 years hence begins now and residents get to weigh in.
Salt Lake County officials Thursday sought public participation in the development of general plans for Parleys and Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood canyons.
"We welcome the public and welcome their feedback," said Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon at a news conference overlooking the mouth of Parleys Canyon. "These general plans are important. We want to make sure we plan for the future."
The first of several public participation open houses is set for Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Millcreek Community Center, 2266 E. Evergreen Ave. (3435 South).
Additional meetings have yet to be scheduled, but those dates and times will be posted at pwpds.slco.org.
Citizen participation is key to making the general plans successful, said Rolen Yoshinaga, county planning director. "They will connect the planning commission and county staff closer to community desires."
A general plan, Yoshinaga explained, is a set of guidelines that provides a future vision, but unlike a master plan is not a document that defines specific land use. Nonetheless, it can establish parameters for such things as development, motorized transportation, recreation and open space.
Salt Lake County is responsible for planning on much of the lands along the foothills and in the canyons. It does not, however, have jurisdiction over wide swaths of national forest lands in the Wasatch Mountains.
The general plans will be designed to work in concert with a recently completed general plan for Emigration Canyon and a soon-to-be-completed Canyons Overlay Zone ordinance that defines development along the foothills, the mayor explained. Three canyon transportation studies that include parking also will be key factors in developing the general plans, Corroon said.
"The canyons transportation studies will come up with recommendations that will find their way into the general plan."
The general plans also will take into consideration canyon-user groups and the capacities of each of the canyons, said Kimberly Bennett, the mayor's government specialist.
"We're bringing together a diverse number of stakeholders," she said.
That includes bikers, hikers and skiers. But county planners also want to hear from others who use the canyons but may not be affiliated with defined groups. Corroon, who is in his last year as mayor, said he hopes the general plans for the canyons continue to grow and evolve.
"What we're trying to do is create a general plan we want to change every year," he said. "Things change. We didn't have mountain biking 20 years ago and now it's prolific."
And while that seems to leave open the door for more canyon development, Corroon said it need not. "The principles [of good stewardship] are not malleable."
Get your voice heard on Canyons General Plan
I Open house Thursday, 5 p.m., Millcreek Community Center, 2266 E. Evergreen Ave. (3435 South).
• Or, send comments to email@example.com