Wasatch County Moves Forward on Easing Culinary Well Regulations

Jul 17, 2020

Credit Wasatch County

The Wasatch County Council approved the June 30 primary election results at their meeting on Wednesday along with resolving ongoing discussions about culinary well policy and GRAMA requests. 

 

Clerk Auditor Cal Griffiths reported a strong turnout in the Republican primary at 66%.

 

The council also moved forward on an ordinance regarding wells in the county. Currently lots that are five acres or larger can have a culinary well dug on them, but the county signified they are willing to move forward to lower the minimum to four acres, at the request of a petitioner located in the northern part of the Heber Valley near the Provo River. 

 

Councilors had previously asked if they could restrict the approval to just the petitioner's area, but county planner Austin Corry explained that wasn’t an option. 

 

“Ultimately, all code always applies countywide, although it may not be applicable in the circumstances,” Corry said. So there was concern about the ability of that and the intent of that being confused and carried over to other areas in the county.” 

 

For lots sized between four and five acres to obtain a well, the property owner must enter into a voluntary deed with the county to not further subdivide, as well as other items including approval from the water board and the fire district. 

 

The ordinance cannot be passed until the general plan is updated in November. The council did unanimously vote to share their intent to pass the ordinance in November, giving the petitioners the ability to begin planning to install the wells ahead of that month.

 

Council also approved an ordinance regarding public records. GRAMA laws allow the public to request copies of government documents on file. The new ordinance updates the fee schedule and directs those seeking public records via a GRAMA request to go through the county records office. 

 

County attorney Jon Woodard said he didn’t have the exact number of GRAMA requests processed by the county, but his best estimate put it into the hundreds per year. 

 

“When I was helping out with those with the Sheriff's Office and with the clerk's office, I bet I processed two of those a week,” Woodard said. “So that would put it at 100, but I think that there's a lot of routine ones that there aren't’ really any legal issues on that I never see. I won't be surprised if it were up around 300 or 400 a year.” 

 

In a public hearing the council also passed an ordinance clarifying how slopes are defined as it relates to building in the county. The ordinance helps prevent building on sensitive lands.