Salt Lake County Planning Zones: Foothills and Canyons Overlay Zone and Mountain Resort Zone, FCOZ and MRZ
by John Worlock, Member of the Board of Directors of Save Our Canyons
Late this month or perhaps in early October, the Salt Lake County Council will begin deliberations on two new zoning laws designed to deal with developments in the foothills and canyons of the Wasatch Mountains that form the county’s eastern border. These two zoning laws will be known as FCOZ and MRZ, respectively,for Foothills and Canyons Overlay Zone and Mountain Resort Zone.
FCOZ has been with us for almost two decades and has been important in protecting the foothills and canyons from development that would degrade their wildness and their beauty as well as in helping Salt Lake City to protect the important watershed. FCOZ has not been perfect and the current rewriting, it is hoped, will allow it to function more effectively. The county lists population growth, improvements in construction technology, growing pressures on the watershed and increased fire danger as motivations for the revision.
MRZ, the Mountain Resort Zone is entirely new, and represents an attempt to provide zoning laws for territory within the four ski resorts to differentiate between the lower built-up areas, called villages, from the upper recreational areas.
The canyons to be so protected stretch from Emigration Canyon in the north, thru Millcreek Canyon to the two Cottonwood Canyons on the south. The ski resorts are Solitude, Brighton, Snowbird and Alta.
Save Our Canyons has, of course, been deeply involved, from their inception, in the discussions leading to these revisions. You can count on us to be close to the action up until and even beyond the actual council vote that ratifies the final zoning laws. We will be fighting to maintain strict limits on construction setback from wetlands, the limitations on building on unstable slopes and the transfer of development rights.
But this is not the time to go into the details. We’ll be back with more specifics in a few weeks. We can recommend, if you are interested, reading the summaries and drafts on the county’s website: slco.org/townships/fcoz. Also you can get inspiration from our website: saveourcanyons.org. Figure out in advance what you would like to say to your county councilperson.