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Wasatch Peaks, county and residents reach compromise

Jan 27, 2024 09:45AM ● By Linda Petersen

Wasatch Peaks Ranch, Morgan County and five Morgan residents who had been pursuing a referendum over rezoning of 12,000 acres owned by the developer as resort property have come to an agreement.

According to a letter posted on the county website, the three groups have reached a compromise whereby the five residents, Robert Bohman, Whitney Croft, Shelley Paige, Brandon Peterson, David Pike and Cindy Carter, will abandon their efforts to get a citizen referendum on the rezone and legal action against the other two parties. In exchange Wasatch Peaks will pursue a conservation agreement on 2,300 acres of its property and will help fund projects “specifically aimed at benefiting the residents of Morgan County and enhancing the quality of life in our county,” the letter said. 

Specific details on those projects or the conservation agreement are not available at this time, Morgan County Commission Chairman Mike Newton told the Morgan County News.

“This compromise was achieved with the primary objective of benefitting the larger Morgan County Community while also bringing an end to the years-long legal battle,” the letter said.

The agreement was reached early last week but was not made official until last Friday when the parties presented it to 2nd District Court Judge Noel S. Hyde at a court hearing.

“They had to go before the judge, present the agreement and the judge had to put the cases to bed,” Newton said. 

In 2019, after the land was rezoned, the five residents attempted to pursue a citizen referendum to get Morgan County voters to weigh in on the rezone but were thwarted when Morgan County said they had not met the conditions outlined in Utah law when they submitted their application. The residents subsequently took the county and Wasatch Peaks Ranch to court.

Development on the resort continued as the parties duked it out in Hyde’s court and attempted to get it heard by the Utah Supreme Court (which sent it back to Hyde). However in December, Hyde granted the five residents approval to again pursue the referendum. Morgan County and Wasatch Peaks continued getting approval for various phases of the development, taking the stance that Hyde’s ruling would only affect applications not already filed. Hyde subsequently prohibited Wasatch Peaks Ranch and Morgan County from proceeding with that or any other development until the referendum issue had been resolved. 

The referendum process would have taken several months, if not years if the five residents had been successful in taking the issue to a vote of the people. Ultimately, the three groups determined that a compromise agreement would be in the best interest of all parties, Newton said.

“We’re very pleased that an agreement has been reached and that all parties can move forward,” he said. “I think all parties were eager to get it settled.”

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