It took several months and several long meetings, but the Cache County Planning Commission granted a conditional use permit for the Cherry Creek ski area, located about three miles east of Richmond.Chris Sands, the only commissioner to vote against granting Logan Checketts the permit Thursday night, said he feels it would be impossible for developers not to affect neighbors and wildlife in the area. While most commissioners noted the resort will have some effect on wildlife, many agreed it was the commission’s obligation to just make sure the proposal fit with the county’s ordinances.Commissioner Clair Ellis said, “Any time there are developments there are going to be impacts.”The decision was postponed last month because council members wanted to be sure they had enough information to make a good decision, specifically asking for a detailed analysis of how the resort would affect local elk and deer populations.The permit was approved with several conditions, including limiting night skiing to 10 p.m. and working to ensure as little impact on neighbors and wildlife as possible. These issues will be worked out as developers continue with the licensing and planning process. The proposed resort has received a lot opposition from the community. From issues of light pollution and increased traffic in Richmond to concerns over how a ski resort could influence habitat for elk, many from the community expressed concern.Not all are opposed to the ski resort, however. One Richmond resident said she could envision her kids coming home from school and heading up the mountain to ski. During January’s meeting, another resident expressed enthusiasm for the economic opportunities the ski resort could bring. Other issues, such as water rights – which must be dealt with through the state – and whether Checketts or the county will be accountable for removing snow on roads leading to the ski resort, will still need to be worked out.
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