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Monday, May 15, 2006

Wolf Creek Rezone Petition Public Hearing May 16th

Be sure to attend this important meeting - for more details, click here:

Notice is hereby given that the Weber County Commission will hold a public hearing on the 16th day of May 2005, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commission Chambers, 1st Floor, Weber Center, 2380 WashingtonBlvd., Ogden, Utah, to consider a petition to rezone property at 2640 North Highway 162, fromAgricultural AV-3 to Commercial CV-2. Copies of the proposal may be reviewed prior to the hearing in the Weber County PlanningCommission Office, Suite 240, in the Weber Center.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Porterville Residents Fight Rezone

Excerpts From the Standard Examiner May 8, 2006

Proposed development causes concerns

BY DEANNE WINTERTON Standard-Examiner correspondent

MORGAN — Morgan County’s development boom is attempting to stretch its fingers into sleepy Porterville, and residents are fighting the negative effects it may have on their property.

At Tuesday’s Morgan County Council meeting, landowner Robert Wingate sought to rezone 66 acres so he can build 17 5-acre lots on Red Hawk Ranch near 3570 S. Highway 66.

However, the council voted to send the action back to the Planning Commission in hopes the commission will reconvene the Porterville area plan committee.

Does the Morgan County Council actually listen to its citizens? And do their citizens actually speak up?

Residents living near the proposed development, some of whom have shallow wells, are hesitant to allow construction of the new lots, which would use individual wells and septic tanks. The concept plan also calls for an equestrian trail.

Chet Adams is concerned that the plan also calls for a park near his farm where he slaughters about 35 animals each year.

“People moving from urban areas don’t like to see animals slaughtered,” said Adams, who has lived in the area for about 48 years.

Craig Taylor, who owns land south of the proposed development, also objects to the project, saying, “A man’s entitled to sell his ground to make a profit, but this will set a precedent for this area without forethought that will shape other options of other landowners, defining future use of our property.”

Michelle Peterson, who lives at 3400 S. Highway 66, is equally concerned about water quality if the development proceeds. “If they have to dig wells, what happens to the existing wells?” she said. “I have a shallow, handdug grand-daddy well. I would like to keep my family healthy. If my well does go bad, who will help me take care of it?”

Kenneth G. Adams, who also uses a well in the area, called for reconvening the Porterville committee. “Our battle is not with Wingate, but with the proposal that could change the very face of our community,” he said.

Property Taxes Are Rising!

As has been previously mentioned on this site, many changes are occurring in and around our valley. Some are good, and some not so good. It seems as though the Post Olympic Housing boom has finally hit in a big way and there are both winners and losers.

Obvious winners are the many developers who are scattering our valley with new homes and subdivisions. Contractors, Realtors and mortgage brokers are all cashing in and we certainly don’t begrudge them for doing so. Many investors are reaping rewards by "flipping" run down properties for a ridiculous fortune, while some farmers and homeowners are selling out to jumpstart their wealth.

Weber County has taken note and is going after the easy money our valley provides by reassessing our property values. If your property taxes have not gone up yet, you can expect them to rise sharply in the upcoming years. Rumor has it the county has not reassessed the lower valley for years because it is not cost effective to do so, but they have been out in force reevaluating our properties. To the county, we are easy money.

The losers in this situation are those of us who wish to stay, but may find ourselves priced out of the market with the imminent tax increases. The time to band together and create a strong voice is now and that is one of the main reasons for the creation of this site - to unify and inform our community while planning an attack against taxes. One only has to look at Ketchum, Jackson and Park City to see the negative affects of outrageous property taxes. You will be hard pressed to find an "old timer" on a fixed income in any of those areas.

So where do we go from here? That is the million dollar question. In 1978, California voters passed Proposition 13, entitled "People's Initiative to Limit Property Taxation." In a nutshell it states that the real estate tax on a parcel of property is limited to 1% of its assessed value, until the property is resold. This "assessed value", however, may only be increased by a maximum of 2% per year.

The good new is that Utah is one of 24 states that allows citizens initiatives on ballots. Now it would be a big feat to have a few from Ogden Valley push a similar initiative onto the state ballot in 2007, but it may be realistic to get it on the Weber County ballot.

This is simply a grassroots effort at creating interest and input. While we do not have all the answers it is definitely an important issue that needs to be addressed very soon. Your input is welcomed. Check back often!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Monday, May 08, 2006

Land Sliding Away - Building On Hillsides!

Here is an editorial that appeared in the Standard May 4th regarding the Morgan Council allowing developments to be belt on known or potential slide areas. Weber County should also take note.

Land-sliding away
Standard Examiner

Thursday, May 4, 2006

For weeks, now, this newspaper has been filled with stories about hillsides moving and the miserable consequences for the people who own homes on, or below, those sliding hills.

It strikes us as both curious and a bit callous, then, to hear some comments being made by Morgan County Council members.

But first, some history: The County Council voted a couple of weeks ago to allow about 830 homes on 1,200 acres in Mountain Green. And in Phase 2 of the development, which will see 149 homes, there are 76 homes on lots that could, potentially, experience some kind of sliding in years ahead.

The county is requiring, then, that the buyers of the 76 homes be made aware that the possibility of instability exists.

"There's a certain amount of buyer beware," Councilman Bart Smith explained. "The county is doing its part to put them on notice."

The Standard-Examiner's correspondent Deanne Winterton quoted Morgan County Engineer Austin Rowser as being even blunter: "History has proven that (those lots) may not be the best place to build. Small failures are always a reality, but we do not have a county ordinance to address grading of the lots."

That sounds a lot like leaders washing their hands of the decision to let development proceed on hillsides that everyone agrees may become unstable.

Losers in the 4-3 vote -- not counting the homeowners who may be out of luck someday when their homes become uninhabitable -- were the council members who think the majority is making a mistake. Councilman David Gardiner summed it up when he said, "We have to be concerned when we hear the heartache of people with landslides on their land. I feel we're setting a very dangerous precedent."

No kidding. If Morgan County doesn't have adequate laws on the books to give its leaders the power to stop development of homes on land that may slide, it should begin investigating its options in that regard. Furthermore, if those homes are built, the possibility of slides better be known to every buyer of every home in perpetuity. Likewise, lending institutions and insurance companies should be examining whether or not it's a good idea to finance and insure homes built on potential slide areas.

As for the morality of building homes on potentially unstable lots, in a perfect world nobody would attempt such a thing. But we understand that people demand to live on hillsides and will pay a premium price for the opportunity. The developer, Gardner Development operating under the name Cottonwood Creek LLC, should be able to give homeowners some assurance that it has built homes that won't be ruined by slides. If it can't, maybe it should re-evaluate whether or not those homes should be built.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ogden Valley Utah Forum

Ogden Valley Utah Forum
Well it looks like somebody finally did something to intervene with those poor sheep and horses over in Huntsville. This ridiculous and sickening situation's been allowed to go on way longer than it should have. Too much of a conflict of interest for the Mayor to address his own sister's problems? Congradulations to the people over there that finally took the initiave to bring it to the attention of someone or anyone for that matter outside the place that should have taken care of it - and along time ago. I got tired of taking the drive over to get to Trapppers. It was a public embarrassment that was ignored for way to long. Probably as long as the Mayor's been in Office over there?