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To: Weber County Commissioners

Urgent Action Required for Powder Mountain's Compliance with Zoning and Public Access

I am writing to express serious concerns regarding the transformation of Powder Mountain into a semi-private resort by Greg Mauro and Reed Hastings, which directly contravenes the DRR-1 zoning code for public access and also brings to light the county's disproportionate financial risk in this venture.

The DRR-1 zoning within Weber County states: "Resorts that lie within an approved Destination and Recreation Resort Zone shall, by and large, enhance and diversify quality public recreational opportunities, contribute to the surrounding community’s wellbeing and overall, instill a sense of stewardship for the land." This mandate clearly outlines the intended use of such areas, emphasizing public access and community benefit. However, the recent shift towards privatization at Powder Mountain starkly contradicts these guidelines.

The December 23, 2014, staff report to the Weber County Planning Commission that approved the rezone to DRR-1 zoning explicitly stated: "Summit Mountain Holding Group has committed to having all recreational facilities open to the public, with the understanding that some recreational uses and facilities will be fee-based," as provided for in their application to re-zone their property. This commitment to public access is now being threatened by the privatization of Village and Mary's lifts.

The financial risks taken by the county, especially in funding the bond for the Summit Pass road – now serving a private village and private ski lifts – highlight a significant imbalance and lack of reciprocity from the owners of Powder Mountain. The county's maintenance of private ski bridges on this road that lead to private lifts adds insult to injury when the County took as much financial risk as anyone in co-signing a bond for a road to "nowhere" at the time. Where is the reciprocity when Weber County was more of a “founding member” than anyone else?

The backside of James Peak, which is used by Powder Mountain for its ski operations and revenue generation without any participation from the county, presents an opportunity for leverage. This utilization of county land for private gain without corresponding benefits to the county or public access is a matter of concern and also presents an opportunity to reassert the county's interests and negotiate more equitable terms in line with our zoning laws and public access commitments.

Given these multifaceted issues, I urge Weber County to use its leverage, including its zoning code and previously provided assurances, to ensure that Powder Mountain adheres to the DRR-1 zoning regulations, respects the county's financial contributions, and maintains public access as outlined in the recreation plan. It is imperative that conservation easements or any other document to perfect the public’s ability to use the resort be pursued. The commission should also consider revoking permits for the Village and Mary’s lifts and ski bridges over public roadways, as part of a broader strategy to address the current legal and ethical concerns.

Thank you for your attention to these urgent matters. I anticipate your proactive response and leadership in resolving these issues and upholding the integrity of our community's development and governance.

Why is this important?

The privatization sets a precedent for the resort to pursue further privatizations in the future if gone unchecked!



2024-01-17 10:57:29 -0500

500 signatures reached

2023-12-28 13:42:46 -0500

100 signatures reached

2023-12-27 14:53:45 -0500

50 signatures reached

2023-12-27 09:59:43 -0500

25 signatures reached

2023-12-27 00:53:28 -0500

10 signatures reached