An even more unlikely Shangri-la

 

Chalk up one for public input -- the Utah Supreme Court has ordered that before a ritzy new ski resort can proceed, Beaver County must put the project to a vote. Locals have been angered by the Jenson brothers' attempts to turn a popular fishing and backcountry recreation spot into an exclusive enclave with golf course, ski lifts, spa and boutiques (we wrote about the Mt. Holly Club proposal last summer in "An Unlikely Shangri-la").

When the southwest Utah county approved Mt. Holly's development plans, opposition groups filed suit to allow a vote on the agreement. A judge denied their request, and the case went to the state Supreme Court. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

The Utah Supreme Court ruling said the county and lower court improperly denied a referendum petition in 2007. Residents gathered enough signatures to require a public vote on a land-use agreement with the developers of the planned $3.5 billion Mount Holly Club resort, the court said.

The ruling says the referendum may be held during the next general election. Beaver County Clerk Paul Barton said that is scheduled for November.

The Mt. Holly backers are already facing financial troubles. Opponents hope that the combination of the delay, the rapidly-tanking economy and a weak real estate market will mean that the project never gets built.