Special service district panel supports developing county policy for land near Scofield
The Carbon County Recreation and Transportation Special Service District purchased land south of Scofield at the start of 2004, but the plans and future of the property remain uncertain.
On July 11, Fred Jensen, who owns lands adjacent to the county property, approached the district about leasing the land for grazing purposes.
Jensen pointed out that vegetation on the county's land is dying due to the lack of proper care. In addition to grazing cattle there, Jensen said he could help keep grasses growing on the county land.
At a county commission meeting on July 6, a representative from the Utah Division of Wildlife Management approached Carbon lawmakers about offering advice pertaining to maintaining a habitat for fish along Mudd Creek.
The DWR has been watching the section of land owned by the county for a few years and considers it an important area to protect for spawning fish.
Commissioner Bill Krompel told the division representative that he would pass the information on to the district. The commissioner encouraged the division to send a representative to the special service district board meeting the following Monday.
While no representative of DWR attended the special service district meeting, Krompel, who also sits on the special service district board, relayed the DWR's concerns to the members of the panel.
In addition, Krompel suggested that the district work to develop a land management plan for the area.
During the course of time that the county has owned the land, the district has been approached by various entities that want to use the land for different purposes.
The uses could range from recreational purposes to livestock grazing. Some people have suggested constructing facilities for one reason or another. However, none of the proposals have been approved or pursued.
Upon Krompel's suggestion, board members suggested that the county could use its planning and zoning staff to develop a plan for the land.
However, it was pointed out that the planning office is overwhelmed with the present workload and adding to that may not be in the county's best interest.
The board ultimately made the decision to develop a plan for the land and a motion was approved to that affect.
The plan would be developed by an outside agency. In light of Jensen's request and the fact that the county's land borders Jensen's, the board committed to give Jensen and other neighboring property owners priority if they approached the board regarding a lease or other use of the land.
In an unrelated matter, the special service district considered a funding request for an aerial survey of Nine Mile Canyon Road.
Steve Tanner, who represented the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition made the request.
Board members raised the question of whether a survey was the best route to pursue at the present time.
Sam Quigley said that without the proper funding for the completion of the road, the survey would not be of any benefit.
Tanner responded that the aerial survey would need to be done in the process of preparing a proposal requesting funding for road improvements.
Tanner said conducting the aerial survey would help determine and map the use of the canyon by the energy industry as well as mark cultural and historic sites that needed to be preserved.
Krompel indicated that the county would be meeting with state and federal agencies the next day, July 12, to tour the road and demonstrate the need for funding. T
The special service district board tabled the request for funding, pending review after the tour.
In another agenda item, Rex Sacco, county lands and access coordinator, approached the members of the special service district board regarding the use of Dugout Canyon Road by gas companies drilling or planning to start operations in that area of the county.
Specifically, Sacco wanted to know how to address the issue of tolls that needed to be collected from the companies using Dugout Canyon Road.
The county has an ordinance in place regarding the collection of tolls. Each vehicle that travels the road is required to pay a certain amount per ton, per mile. That toll is waived on smaller vehicles, as the toll collectible on smaller vehicles would be much smaller than the toll collected on larger vehicles, such as coal truck, that regularly haul large quantities of coal along the road.
The board concluded that the gas companies should be assessed tolls in a similar manner. However, determining that amount and how to assess it became unclear.
One suggestion was to determine the vehicle traffic for an individual well site. That suggestion involved calculating the weight of the vehicles required for one well site and then assessing a toll based on that amount.
Formulas can be complicated by the fact that some companies use the road to transport equipment into the area, and then use the equipment at multiple sites.
Regardless of the method used to calculate the tolls, the dollar amount of the tolls paid by gas companies would be much smaller than those generated by coal truck traffic. Gas companies would pay a few hundred dollars in a year. Coal truck traffic generates tens of thousands of dollars annually.
In light of the small amount of revenue that would be generated by the road, the board decided the best method would be to notify the gas companies of the fee. The gas companies could then determine what was an appropriate amount to pay.