Anonymous Comments Will Be Removed
Sunday, December 30, 2007
It is time to recognize the City Council members of Huntsville as dedicated community members. They receive one dollar a year for serving their township. In addition, they have consistently supported important Ogden Valley issues that are well beyond the boundaries of their township.
It is time we all recognize the selfless work from the Huntsville City Council members.
Larry and Sharon Zini
UPDATE: An article also appeared in the Standard earlier in the week with comparisons of many Cities and Towns across the Intermountain Area.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
2008 is sure to be exciting and we promise to be right in the middle of the happenings in the Valley as well as those behind the scenes (or even behind closed doors).
To that end, Kudo's to the Huntsville Town Council who recently passed a resolution "adamantly" opposing the Powder Mountain rezone request.
While we at the Forum are trying to keep Ogden Valley our little secret, many local and national forces are working against us. This national AAA article details our ski resorts touting exactly what the developers of Powder Mountain want to change, "no lines and miles of uncrowded terrain."
We are also glad to have the interest of "Save our Canyons" and their informative web site has an informational archive of articles related to Powder Mountain. The Utah State University Campus newspaper has even weighed in over the years.
Best wishes for 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Paul Morris, Powder Mountain attorney was quoted recently on the Cache County website, as saying a road on the Cache County side of the development does not make sense at this time. He stated it would be extremely costly, and there is property that is privately owned that creates gaps in the connection for a road on the Cache County side.
Another Powder Mountain representative, Lyle Hillyard said “he and Craig Cox met with the Paradise Town Council (Cache County) and there will be a town meeting around the second week in January sponsored by Paradise for the citizens to have input and receive information about the Powder Mountain proposal.”
Mr. Hillyard also stated “he understands that the concerns are that Paradise doesn't want a road to Powder Mountain through Paradise and he doesn't either. The second concern is the watershed. As long as people continue to come through Weber County, which is the plan, it will minimize the watershed impact.” (How does that statement make you feel as Ogden Valley residents?)
These statements indicate that Powder Mountain has and will spend a great deal of time discussing the Powder Mountain development with Cache County citizens to allay their fears about a road (that will not be constructed) and watershed issues in their county, but has not shown that same deference to the Ogden Valley citizens regarding the Vista Road and all other affected roads in Ogden Valley. To our knowledge, no meetings have been held by Powder Mountain officials with citizens of Eden, Liberty, or Huntsville or the citizens of Ogden Valley as a whole. This is a noteworthy lack of communication since 75% of the development, including 100% of the vehicle traffic and construction traffic will use Ogden Valley roads.
What say you Powder Mountain? How about a meeting for all residents at the Junior High in Eden?
Larry and Sharon Zini
Monday, December 17, 2007
We will start off this morning with a recent letter to the editor of the Standard Examiner from Huntsville's own Sharon Zini. Sharon graciously thanks the Ogden Valley Planning Commissioners for "stepping up to their responsibility" regarding the Greed stricken Powder Mountain rezone request.
We also congratulate Star Standard reporter Marshall Thompson and his wife Kristen on the recent addition to their small family. With literary deadlines approaching, Marshall penned his Powder Mountain story while timing his wife's contractions. Now that's dedication and we in the valley are fortunate to have Marshall covering our local stories. It seems as though the Standard has a renewed interest in "Ogden's Hole" and we appreciate the coverage.
We also read that the Weber County Assessor's budget increased by $190,000 in 2008 vs. 2007, due to the nearly 2,000 appeals and the resultant reassessments. The funds will pay to improve the accuracy of mass property value appraisals, said Douglas Larsen, deputy assessor. “It’s the result of the very energetic property tax attitude this year,” he said. “The funds are tied to a consideration of how we collect data and how we interpret the data.”
Lastly, we will include a letter to the commissioners from a concerned Edenite regarding the looming Powder Mountain rezone:
To: Weber County Commissioners
Eden, Utah 84310
As you prepare to consider the issue of development at Powder Mountain I request you consider the following issues as part of your deliberation. I support the property rights of owners, responsible growth and development. I support growth at Powder Mountain. I support a jurisdiction’s planners and elected political leaders rights to implement policy in keeping the established precedent, existing regulations and the general ideals of local residents.
My single biggest concern regarding the “Powder Mountain” review process and proposed plan is the failure to adequately deal with issue of vehicular access. Powder Mountain is fairly unique among ski operations, in that the base operations, parking, and proposed development are all at the top of the mountain (almost). A planner worth his or her salt wouldn’t dream of designing and a staff reviewer wouldn’t dream of approving a residential community of a couple hundred units with only one point of ingress and egress. Emergency access and good traffic design dictate multiple points of ingress and egress even if a planned community sat on a flat rural road. To not require the same minimum standard for this large planned community/development is negligent. Powder Mountain Road (SR158) is a truly challenging road from a safety standpoint in good weather and down right treacherous in poor. Basic requirements of an “adequate public facility” planning ethic demands the existing road be improved significantly, or more likely, a permanent all weather alternate access road be constructed to Weber County and UDOT standards. Zoning approval should be conditioned on the secondary road being built as phase one (day one) not after 8, 80, 800 or 3000 units. The alternate (secondary) access could serve as a dedicated construction access. With out the separation of commercial and commuter traffic on Powder Mountain road, tragedies are not only likely but inevitable. Are the commissioners informed as to the accident history of that portion of SR 158?
Following are thoughts and questions as a result of my cursory review of your staff’s recommendations and the TIS update. I will be out of town the day of your hearing and hope you will consider my ramblings…
Fehr and Peers traffic analysis
1. Define actual location of recommended Commuter/shuttle parking at “base of powder mountain”
a. zoning of location
b. will location be in residential area adjacent to Wolf creek PUD or in business district of Eden? Impact on character of surrounding area.
c. lighting of location
d. hours of operation
e. spaces required
f. ADT’s are reduced by 3903 forced shuttle. Assuming two trips and two passengers per vehicle (900 +\-) spaces required?
2. With conditional denial of air transportation what is impact/change to traffic analysis?
3. Reduction of traffic by transit program is speculative. For instance, stating lift discount will drive shuttle use assumes competitive pricing on lift tickets from other ski resorts does not exist. A $5 discount (for instance) is not going to drive behavior for convenience.
4. Excerpt from TIS update: The reduction in trips due to transit will be between 15 and 20 percent for the condo, resort home, hotel, and retreat land uses. This number is based on calculations used in the updated Flagstaff Mountain Resort Transit and Parking Management Plan Update, prepared by Fehr & Peers and dated August 5, 2006. A copy of this study is available upon request from Fehr & Peers.
Obtain copy of Flagstaff Plan for relevance. Are Flagstaff residential, operations and services at the top of the mountain like Powder Mountain?
4. Does traffic study consider impact from Cache County impacts (units)
5. Does traffic study consider impact of commercial support vehicles impact on traffic flow (food delivery, trash removal and other community support supplies).
6. What is traffic impact of construction related light and heavy commercial traffic on Powder mountain road during multi year build out? I have a hard time seeing semi’s, lowboys, dump, concrete delivery, craned drywall, dumpster and other vehicles sharing the road with skier traffic.
Weber County commissioners staff recommendations.
1. OVBC conditions construction of second access at 895 units, Weber Staff recommends construction at 1223 units. Unmitigated unit increase of 36%, why? Permanent Secondary road should be condition of first building permit!
2. Why is there no staff recommendation to include or adopt OVPC conditions in the Weber staff recommendations?
1. Why not consider a MOU between Cache Co and Weber Co dealing with access and services provided by Weber Co. being equitably funded through redirected real estate tax revenue from Cache Co. parcels.
2. Is annexation a possibility?
3. Where will the child of a full time resident in the proposed community attend public school?
4. Will School Bus service be provided up Powder Mountain Road?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The two most significant conditions of the 16 proposed by the OVPC are:
1. The density numbers (dwellings) are to remain at the same level they would have been without the rezone. This would mean NO increase in density (dwellings) from the rezone.
2. A second permanent access road must be constructed to the resort when the Weber and Cache County units (resident, condo and hotel rooms) combined reach 895. A second road is in the best interest of both the developer and Valley residents, along with resort visitors as it will drastically improve safety and traffic flow problems.
Other conditions proposed by the OVPC include: wildlife corridors and buffers, a future waste water treatment facility, a reduction to one 18 hole golf course, an employee housing plan, wildfire prevention, evacuation and suppression plan, no private, corporate or commercial air transportation into the resort (excluding resort air operations medical and heli-ski operations), and all construction is to use Best Management Practices.
The Weber County Commission will now consider the rezone petition and proposed conditions. It is up to all residents of Ogden Valley and Weber County to insure that the Weber County Commission accepts those conditions. Without the limits on density and the second access road, this rezone will destroy the density control efforts and result in traffic increases that the Valley cannot accept. All citizens should write or call the 3 Weber County Commissioners and make their feelings known.
In another action last night, the OVPC denied Ron Catanzaro's request to add a four carport structure to the Edgewater
Beach Resort Condo Development.
Your VCRD Staff
Jamie Lythgoe ultimately abstained from the vote and Jim Banks was not present, but the other five commissioners voted in favor of the rezone.
Check back for a more detailed update, and be sure to read the comments below. What say you Ogden Valley?
UPDATE: 11:25 am
We have tried in vein to find the home page for the Weber Fire District through Google and the Weber County Home page. If the district has a web site, it is not easily accessible. Long story short, we could not find an online version of the "Notice of public Hearing," but we did receive this email today.
* *The Weber Fire District is proposing to increase its property tax
* If the proposed budget is approved, this would be an increase of
16.50% above the Weber Fire District property tax budgeted revenue
for the prior year.
* The Weber Fire District tax on a $265,000 residence would increase
from $163.82 to $169.16, which is $5.33 per year.
* The Weber Fire District tax on a $265,000 business would increase
from $297.86 to $307.56, which is $9.70 per year.
All concerned citizens are invited to public hearing on the tax increase.
*PUBLIC HEARING *
Date/Time: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.
Location: 2023 W. 1300 N., Farr West City, Utah
To obtain more information regarding the tax increase, citizens may
contact Weber Fire District at 801-782-3580.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
From the Standard Examiner,
Thursday, December 06, 2007
While that struggle was about survival, this is purely about GREED.
Thanks to the Calvin Grondahl for this morning's creativity and thanks to the Standard Examiner's editorial board for shedding some much needed light on the the biggest decision our Ogden Valley Planning Commissioners will ever face. We have faith they will make the correct choice.
Be sure to mark your calendars and attend this Monday's OVPC meeting. The show begins at 4:30PM. Once again, the agenda is full as some may hope their projects slide under the radar screen since the spotlight is on Powder Mountain. Stay focused!
Interestingly, Powder Mountain has been on an email campaign of their own. Click here to view an email sent to Powder Mountain employees and supporters urging them to send a letter using a simple "Copy and Paste" strategy. Surely the OVPC can see through their spam email campaign.
Speaking of Spam campaigns, you may remember infamous Ogden Resident and develop at all costs Bob Geiger, of Ski industry manufacturer Descente, N.A., in his spam mailing campaign last week.
The rezone request is fraught with problems (traffic, water, etc.) and the developers were aware of the zoning when they made the purchase. The OVPC (and the Weber County Commissioners) can simply deny the request and require Powder Mountain to develop under existing zoning.
On another note, we understand a productive work session was held last evening with legislator's Froerer, Christensen and several local residents with regard to property tax solutions. Check back later for an update along with details on working groups that were created for various proposals.
Better yet, sign up for our email updates by adding your address to the form on the right column, or by clicking on the email icon on the left column. You may sign up for updates of all our sister sites by clicking on the Email icon entitled "Reading List by Feedblitz" in the left column.
That's all for now. What say you Ogden Valley?
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Jim’s e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Planning Department will give the OVPC Commissioners a copy of your e-mails as quickly as possible.
Your VCRD Staff
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The updated Powder Mountain report is now on Weber County’s web site at: www1.co.weber.ut.us/wiki/index.php/Planning.
Scroll down and choose Agenda, Ogden Valley Township, December 10 and then choose Regular. Then scroll down to Item #5 under Regular and click on the ZP number to see the report. Toward the end of the updated Powder Mountain report is the Staff Recommendation section which includes 15 items being considered for inclusion in any rezone approval.
Send your comments before 9 AM tomorrow on the rezone and the 15 items under consideration to Ms. Sherri Sillito at: email@example.com. Ask her to provide each of the OVPC commissioners a copy of your e-mail and include your name and address.
Your VCRD Staff
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
When checking for the “Conditions” discussed go to:
Then scroll down to section Pending Projects, choose Re-zoning Petitions and then Powder Mountain. Be sure to read the November 29 report containing the discussed “conditions”. Earlier reports do not contain the most current definition or list of the conditions discussed during the meeting.
Please understand that the discussion last evening is not a “given” for how the Commissioners will vote on this rezone request. They may vote to deny the request altogether, vote to grant with some density reduction and/or, some or all of the “Conditions”.
Any comments you wish to make to the OVPC concerning these “Conditions” MUST be received by Sherri Sillito no later than Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 10 AM to be included in their packet. This deadline was set to allow review of your comments prior to the next OVPC meeting on Dec. 10 at which time the Commissioners hope to vote on the petition. Per Ms. Sillito, any comments sent after 10 AM on Dec. 4 will be faxed to the Commissioners or handed to them on Dec. 10 prior to their meeting. So they may not have an opportunity to review and consider your input.
Contact information for Ms. Sillito is: firstname.lastname@example.org
If the updated “Conditions” are available for review soon enough, please get your comments into the Commissioners before Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 10 AM.
Your VCRD staff
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Commissioner Bill Seigel formally opposed this move, he stated that they have talked about this rezone enough and it is time to vote. Chairman Louis Cooper feels that possibly some agreement with restrictions could be reached to satisfy all interested parties.
We did not see any new answers to the questions surrounding density numbers or traffic and safety issues in the Valley and the Powder Mountain Road. New questions regarding water usage and watershed depletion due to two 18 hole Golf courses were raised along with the possibility that Powder Mountain may choose to install snow making equipment to protect their financial investment if natural snow is less than expected with the predicted climate changes and drought. The water depletion issue can be significant when you consider that all this would be new water usage and at a very high volume all through the year.
Corey Pope from UDOT stated that if UDOT was asked to build the Powder Mountain Road now, it probably would not build it due to the extreme grades and narrow confines. A resident of Weber County that drives a school bus for a living said that under Federal Rules, School Buses cannot use roads where the grade exceeds 6%. The Powder Mountain Road has some areas where the grade is more than double that number. In fact the average grade number for the entire road is over 12%. This should not be minimized when considering buses and traffic from up to 10,000 skiers and more on holiday weekends.
The density numbers can be deceptive as well. The planning staff used some hotel room numbers that are not used to calculate density, and the total units in Weber County were reduced from 2800 to 2504. But this is misleading for traffic and people predictions because people will be driving their cars and riding buses to stay in those hotel rooms that are not counted in the density statistics. In addition, the 900 units and their visitors to Cache County must be counted in any traffic
predictions since all of them will have to pass through Ogden Valley and up Powder Mountain Road going in and coming out of the resort.
To clarify the Planning Staff's responsibilities, they carry the burden to offer the best approach to petitioners based on what the petitioner is trying to achieve. These recommendations do not reflect any endorsement of the petition, but a willingness to provide county services for each citizen. The Powder Mountain Project Manager stated that the rezone was "approved" by the planning staff. This is not true, they recommended the only path (a rezone) that would provide the required zoning for the two 18 hole golf courses.
Your VCRD Staff
Monday, November 26, 2007
Tuesday's OVPC meeting is getting bigger and more important than ever. As we stated yesterday, Powder Mountain has been phone calling for support and now the infamous Bob Geiger, of Ski industry manufacturer Descente, N.A., has been soliciting support via SPAM email.
To view his heartwrenching plea of support, click here:
Are we going to continue to have Ogden guide the direction of "Ogden's playground"? AKA, our HOME!! We at the forum say NO WAY Bobbie!!!
Also, be sure to read the letter from Marian Martin regarding Ski Lake's Edgewater Resort proposal.
UPDATED: 11/27/07 @ 10:00 am
Click here to read a letter to the OVPC from Peter Turner, local resident/owner of DPS Skis, a ski manufacturer as well as a letter from Richard Sorensen of Huntsville.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
As part of their "new" campaign, Powder Mountain has been making calls to sympathetic Valley residents in an attempt to drum up support for their massive rezone proposal.
We have heard many concerns, and even the results of an extensive study about traffic issues, but that is just one potential (and life threatening) issue. Water is an equally important issue as they have plans for at least two golf courses.
One item they have conveniently failed to mention is that of snow making. Powder Mountain currently touts "real snow," but will certainly add snow making in the future to support their 10,000+ daily skiers and boarders. Between water hog golf courses in the summer and snow making in the winter, they are sure to have a severe , year round impact on the Ogden Valley below.
The Tuesday Planning commission meeting may very well be one of the most important of the last decade. Be sure to pass this information on to EVERYONE, sign the petition, contact the commissioners and ATTEND the meeting on Tuesday.
Weber County Commission Chambers
2380 Washington Blvd.
Lastly, from the Salt Lake Tribune, we read of Huntsville resident Ben Howard's incredulous lesson in forgiveness towards the driver who took the lives of his wife and children.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Members of the Ogden Valley Planning Commission:
I would like to address the issue of the two proposed golf courses on Powder Mountain in relation to the Ogden River Water Project’s long-term ability to fulfill its current and future water demands. The proposal comes against the backdrop of a long-term drought. Despite water conservation measures taken throughout the year, water volume in Pineview Reservoir is currently well below historical norms. In fact, there is considerable evidence that the climate is changing, and that our water supply problems will only grow with time. The mean projection of the climate models relied upon by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows a 6.1°F temperature increase within 100 years, with warming greater in the Interior West. This change will limit snowpacks and decrease the ability of snow-fed watersheds like ours to recharge reservoirs. At the same time, Utah is undergoing rapid population growth, meaning that more people will be competing for less water.
One study of San Antonio municipal golf courses suggested that approximately 2100 gallons of water were required to support each round of golf played. I see the effects of this water demand in Eden where a small stream behind my house abruptly stops flowing in April or so when it is appropriated to feed the Wolf Creek golf course. The applicants have provided no evidence that even one golf course is an extravagance that our water supply can support, particularly at 7000 feet where lower barometric pressure and higher evapotranspiration would require greater than average irrigation. Additionally, there is a good chance that high levels of fertilizers and pesticides used on any proposed golf course would have an adverse effect on both surface and ground water, particularly since the proposed source is so near the head of our watershed. A 2002 TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) report from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality called for a 24% reduction of nitrogen and phosphorous loadings in Pineview Reservoir. The new golf courses could only be considered a significant setback with respect to that goal.
Regarding water quality and use, the applicants are likely to make vague promises about using recycled water and efficient irrigation methods, and will likely point out the fact that any construction will ultimately need to be sanctioned in view of the a long-term water plan. However, experience tells us that once this kind of specific zoning change is made, development becomes not a question of “if,” but “when.” At this point, the Commission may require proof that the proposal is consistent with both current and projected water resources and needs. This dynamic would subtly change if the landowner could claim the “right” to develop under altered zoning. The courts in Utah have defended the latitude that zoning commissions have in considering local input and their own expertise in determining if a proposed zoning change is consistent with community well-being (see Utah Supreme Court decision: Bradley v. Payson City). I believe that the Commission should decide that it is incumbent upon the landowners to show exactly how the two proposed golf courses would be compatible with our growing population and shrinking snowpack. A third-party hydrological assessment of the watershed might be an appropriate route. We depend upon you to look ahead and reconcile proposed uses (in this case, recreation) with the community’s long-term needs and values. Admittedly, this is not an easy task, but I urge you to give consideration to the implications of committing a significant amount of water to golf that would otherwise end up in the reservoir or in the aquifer.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
We recommend that anyone who has constructive input for property tax reform take part in this workshop.
This workshop is not intended as a complaint venue, but a constructive session to develop a fair and reasonable method to mitigate the growth of our property taxes.
This workshop is a clear indication that our elected representative wishes to receive input from his constituents on their
ideas and suggestions.
"Speak up for what you want, or take what you get".
Larry and Sharon Zini
Sunday, November 18, 2007
In Saturday's Standard, we read a guest commentary from Huntsville resident and VCRD Chairman Larry Zini regarding the Powder Mountain rezone request. As Larry so emphatically states, "Contact the county planning commission and Weber County commissioners with your thoughts or concerns via email, telephone or letter. The time to act is now!"
Be sure to contact the commissioners, but also sign the online petition and share this information with neighbors and friends.
Also, be sure to attend the VCRD (Valley Citizens for Responsible Development) meeting Monday evening. If you are not a member, bring your $10 per spouse and join.
Click here to read More about Powder Mountain and their wretched proposal...
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Valley residents must consider that all vehicle traffic to and from a Powder Mountain Resort will have to pass through Ogden Canyon, Trapper’s Loop or the North Divide. It will then funnel from those points to the single two lane road up to Powder Mountain (Hwy. 158).
According to the traffic study presented by Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants at the October 23, 2007 OVPC meeting, the Powder Mountain road cannot be made significantly wider and the numerous steep grades (up to 13%+ grade in sections) cannot be eliminated or reduced. Their proposal suggested that signs and grade warnings could be used to help with the road use. It was also suggested that several stoplights be installed in the Valley to help with the traffic flow.
The safety issues of Hwy. 158 on Powder Mountain Road are daunting and should not be minimized. With the numerous steep grades involved and the predicted increased usage, runaway vehicles on the icy and snowy road could be disastrous. There can be no escape for a large truck or bus coming down the road that starts to slide on slick pavement. And no runaway truck ramps can be installed per the UDOT representative at the meeting.
Mr. Steve Clarke, Eden resident and active in several Valley organizations has stated in his safety study that 76% of all crashes on Powder Mountain Road were running off the side of the road, most coming downhill with speed and weather as the main factors. Mr. Clarke also points out that road conditions change quickly and create accidents due to black ice and snowfall.
The project manager for Powder Mountain has projected resort usage at over 10,000 people a day along with the additional vehicles, and many more on holiday weekends. Residents should consider the impact of these cars and buses inching along Hwy. 158, past Eden’s Valley Market intersection and past the Wolf Creek resort area. There could be a continuous line of vehicles that will wind it’s way to the top of Powder Mountain. The Powder Mountain rezone also calls for the construction of two 18 Hole Golf courses so the additional vehicles and people will not be limited to the winter ski months.
There are fewer than 100 units on the Mountain today. Under the zoning now in effect any development would be restricted to less than 1500 units. However, under the new rezone petition, 2800 units would be constructed on the Weber County side and another 900 on the Cache County side. Access to all areas for construction and resort use for all 3700 units would be from the Powder Mountain Road, thus through Ogden Valley.
In addition, the 2800 units in Weber County will overwhelm the density plans for Ogden Valley, and will open the door for other developers to expect similar rezone petitions to be approved.
The VCRD asks that all residents and members carefully consider these points and contact your OVPC and Weber County Commissioners with your thoughts or concerns via e-mail, telephone or letter. The time to act is now! This rezone request is scheduled to be heard at the OVPC meeting on November 27th at 4:30PM.
Your VCRD Staff
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
If you feel it was the responsibility of Ms. Lythgoe to investigate and disclose all Cobabe family holdings in and around the Powder Mountain rezone area when the rezone petition was initially put before the OVPC earlier this year, you should express your feelings to the County Commissioners via e-mail, telephone or letter.
Conversely, if you feel this conflict of interest perception is much ado about nothing and would not affect the final disposition of the rezone petition, inform the County Commissioners of your opinion in the same manner.
It should be stated here that despite the overheated rhetoric, the initial Conflict of Interest disclosure about the Cobabe property holdings did not initiate with any Ogden Valley resident, it was published first in the Salt Lake City Tribune by a Cache County reporter for the Trib and later picked up by the Standard Examiner.
Whatever your opinion, we encourage you to contact your OVPC and Weber County Commissioners and express your views.
The strength of any group of citizens is their collective voice on this kind of issue. We are confident that our Valley citizens are intelligent enough to to understand what is at stake with the Powder Mountain rezone petition.
"Speak Up for what you want, or take what you get!"
Your VCRD Staff
Saturday, October 27, 2007
How appropriate at Halloween that some folks in the Valley angrily roam the Ogden Valley Utah Forum Blog and (I am guessing) the Letters section of the Ogden Valley News like the crowd chasing Frankenstein’s monster, only this time the mob is chasing Ogden Valley Planning Commissioner Jamie Lythgoe for her alleged conflict of interest.
I am a member of the Valley Citizens for Responsible Development, but I disagree with the various accusations that Commissioner Lythgoe is somehow arrogantly—and dishonestly--refusing to recuse herself from debate and decision on the Powder Mountain rezone. I practiced law for twenty-five years and for each of those years volunteered my time to prosecute lawyers for infractions of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the majority of which infractions involved conflicts of interest. I also co-authored, with two other persons, the first Code of Ethics for the City of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, the nucleus of which was a conflict of interest provision which called for removal from office for its violation. It is fair to say that I recognize conflicts as well as anyone I know, and I dislike them as much as anyone I know.
Some things to consider:
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Jamie Lythgoe, an OVPC Commissioner, belatedly provided disclosure of her family (Cobabe) holdings that include one-half of one percent of Western America Holding, the company requesting the rezone now before the OVPC, and 200+ acres of land adjacent to the rezone area. It is important to note that none of this family ownership information disclosed by Ms. Lythgoe Tuesday night was forthcoming until a newspaper article broke the story last week.
Representing the VCRD, I personally talked to Ms. Lythgoe in early September about the issue of Conflict of Interest at Powder Mountain. She told me that Ms. Hurtado, deputy County attorney, stated there was no conflict of interest with her being in the Real Estate business in the area. During this conversation, Ms. Lythgoe never disclosed the current holdings of the Cobabe family she later detailed at yesterday's OVPC meeting.
If there is any question whether the Cobabe holdings would appreciate in value with the rezone of almost 8,000 acres for a "World Class Resort" adjacent to their property, one needs only to look at what is happening all across Ogden Valley to property value assessments and taxes because of new adjacent developments.
The VCRD membership feels that the conflict of interest rule clearly applies on this issue. The Cobabe family owns one-half of one percent of the development area (almost 8000 acres) that will be impacted by the rezone request, and an additional 200+ acres adjacent to the rezone area.
Most of the OVPC Commissioners Tuesday appeared to have no problem with the conflict of interest issue for Ms. Lythgoe despite the fact that her family's holdings clearly fit the conflict of interest criteria as defined in the Planning Commission Procedures.
The Planning Commission Procedures, (Regarding Conflict of Interest) Part A reads:
"A Planning Commissioner to whom some private benefits may come as the result of a Planning Commission action should not be a participant in the action." Part 1 states "The Private benefit may be direct or indirect, create a material, personal gain or provide a distinct advantage to relations or to friends or to groups and associations which hold some of share of a person's loyalty."
The Commission Chairman, Louis Cooper and the Asst. County Attorney Allred were quoted in the Standard Examiner last week that they were under the impression that the Cobabe family had sold all of their interests at Powder Mountain. In addition, Monette Hurtado this morning is quoted regarding Ms. Lythgoe's disclosure as saying "As to her specific ownership, I don't know the details," and "She did disclose that her family sold all their land."
In summary, what we have here is a deputy County Attorney that admits not knowing all the details about Ms. Lythgoe's family ownership but is quoted as the source for the "No conflict of Interest" legal opinion by the OVPC Chairman Louis Cooper.
It is obvious and disappointing that the OVPC Commissioners are dominated by the deputy County attorney and are reluctant to challenge her opinion even when the facts regarding a conflict of interest hits them right between the eyes. We would remind the Commissioners that her job is legal advice for the County and they should not subordinate their independent judgment on a sensitive issue such as conflict of interest involving a fellow Commissioner when it could further undermine the public trust in government.
Our members question the reason that Ms. Lythgoe doggedly will not recuse herself on this Powder Mountain issue unless she has some long range stake in the outcome. As the OVPC Chairman pointed out, there are six other commissioners to address this rezone. The OVPC members have recused themselves in the recent past numerous times on conflict issues less egregious than the direct Cobabe family ownership of a property rezone now before the OVPC.
Your VCRD Staff
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Those who read the blog should remember they are reading the postings and comments of citizens that are trying to express their feelings and concerns about issues that affect them In Ogden Valley.
The VCRD cannot and will not change any posting, only the owner of the blog can do that if the content is not acceptable.
All blog posting by the VCRD staff have always been named at the end of the post as such or with my name as author.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
Beginning tomorrow you are asked to vote on a quarter cent tax hike. Sounds innocent enough. Family of four impacted only $8-9 a month. The Weber County mayors, commissioners, and chambers of commerce in all three Counties teamed up into the Northern Utah Transportation Alliance to run a campaign for the sales tax increase.
Question: Where were all these people while our property taxes are being increased five (5) to fifty-seven (57) times the inflation rate of 2.67%? Yet they have the unmitigated gall to push for even more taxes from us. And a tax which has no end date? Think of it…a forever tax!
I am getting wake up phone calls asking so what is next? What can we do D-Bell? To find out what we can do, click here...
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
At any rate, be sure to sign the petition in our right side column opposing the rezone request. As we have stated, only one group will benefit from the rezone - the developers! Be sure to write the planning commissioners and attend this potentially precedent setting meeting on October 23,2007.
Lastly, we have added "Huntsville Election 2007" information to our right column and it will be updated in the upcoming days.
What say you Ogden Valley - Conflict or No Conflict?
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The article brings up some interesting and possibly overlooked items.
- The Cache County Council will decide Oct. 23 whether to allow another development extension. This is the same day the Ogden Valley Planning Commission (OVPC) will vote on a Major rezone request.
- Early in 2005, investors partnered with Powder Mountain's original owners and members of the Alvin Cobabe family to form the Western America Holding Co. and develop the 7,960-acre area.
The latter is an extremely important point as it has long been rumored Powder Mountain had been "sold." According to the Tribune, the Cobabe family "partnered" to form Western America Holding Co.
The issue of a conflict of interest has been brought up many times to OVPC member Jamie Lythgoe who claims to have no interest in Powder Mountain after the "sale," but this suggests otherwise.
Lythgoe is the Granddaughter and heiress of Powder Mountain founder and apparent partner of Western America Holding Co., Alvin Cobabe. Additionally, many Powder Mountain properties are still listed on County records as belonging to the Cobabes.
This is, without question, a conflict of interest, and Ms. Lythgoe must recuse herself from any and all action related to Powder Mountain.
What say you now, Ms. Hurtado? (Weber County Attorney)
In today's Standard, we read an editorial that is right on target - Just get it done. Kudos to the editorial staff.
We also hear that Fox 13 will run the story tonight (Sunday) at 9 PM and throughout the day on Monday.
Some time ago, we at the forum created a page dedicated to the developing Tax Revolt. The site contains links to the latest media coverage and to other local tax sites. Add your email address to the Subscribe list on all of the related sites to receive updates and alerts.
As the Wingmen say, "Get informed and get involved!
We nearly overlooked a letter to the editor from Larry Zini regarding a local water company's efforts to increase the water rates by 125%. The increase will most likely help fund more Ski Lake Condo's to further beautify our Valley.
And Marshall Thompson of the Standard writes, "Resort tour shows more than paper" with regard to the Powder Mountain Rezone request. Ogden Valley Planning Commission member Gregg Graves said it best, “Just doing that, I don’t see how that benefits the valley as a whole.”
Right on Commissioner Graves - not only will the rezone NOT benefit anyone in Ogden Valley, but it will be a DETRIMENT to Ogden Valley and will forever cast a black shadow over us. Be sure to sign the Powder Mountain rezone petition.
For more details on the rezone request, Click here.
UPDATE - 12:00 PM: We are in the process of creating a web section dedicated to the Huntsville Election, much like the Ogden Election Info at the Weber County Forum. Check back in a day or two.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
On October 23rd the Ogden Valley Planning Commission will be asked to grant this rezone by the Powder Mountain developer. This petition has been tabled twice and will in all probability be voted on at this meeting. The Valley Citizens for Responsible Development (VCRD) does not oppose development at Powder Mountain, but we feel that any development approval should be granted under the existing zoning and within the pending Sensitive Lands Overlay, Recreation Resort Zone, and Transfer of Development Right ordinances now in the review/approval process. No additional dwellings should be approved.
The requested rezone translates to almost doubling the density at Powder Mountain to 2800 dwellings in Weber County alone over what would be allowed under the current zoning (1477 units). The Cache County portion of the proposed development has an additional 900 plus units. Valley residents should consider what that would mean to traffic, water and air pollution issues in the Valley. In addition, the fact that there is only one road in and out (Powder Mountain Road) could be a serious factor in case of a wild fire emergency. Cache County has already denied the petitioner's request to add another road into Powder Mountain from their county.
The VCRD membership feels the worst scenario for our Valley is for the Ogden Valley Planning Commission or Weber County Commission to approve a precedent setting rezone that would undo much of the ongoing density planning efforts, and negatively impact the charm and character of Ogden Valley. The unprecedented increase in density (dwellings) from this proposed rezone petition with its major change in usage, and thus the associated increase in units, will negatively impact the road traffic, air quality, wildlife, and water quality in Ogden Valley. This rezone petition should not be approved.
If the Powder Mountain request for a rezoning is approved, this action could open the flood gates for resorts like Wolf Creek, Snow Basin, and other resort developers to petition the Commission for similar rezoning and expect to receive a favorable decision. This could be a disaster for the General Plan in Ogden Valley.
The time is now to write your Ogden Valley Planning Commission and express your feelings. The OVPC has wide discretion on this rezone and our members and all residents should be heard loud and clear. If you have not done so, please go to our blog, www.ogden-valley.blogspot.com to vote on the petition on Powder Mountain.
Write to your OVPC Commissioners via Sherri Sillitoe: email@example.com and ask that your
e-mail be distributed to all OVPC Commissioners.
Remember, "Speak up for what you want, or take what you get."
Your VCRD Staff and Valley Contributors
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Huntsville Town is up for Sale.
All Media invited to our "Media Day"
TIME Saturday, 13 October.
TIME: 1100 AM
WHERE: At the Town Park (Southeast corner Bowery )
Light refreshments will be served
Wingmen Sorensen and Bell will be available for guided tours of the Town.
Information will be available of assessment errors.
Wingmen are available to answer questions (until the last question is answered)
CONTACT: For more information call D Bell 801 710-6270 or 801 745-1419
Huntsville Town "For Sale - Can't afford the property taxes"
is a citizen initiative begun after Weber County Tax notices were
received in early August. The idea came from Indianapolis, Indiana
where a similar political statement proved effective in drawing national
attention to citizen's who feel they are being abused by disparate
and excessive taxation.
Property Tax Petitions move across the State like a Speeding Freight Train Huntsville Town citizen Richard Sorensen designed, purchased and distributed
lawn signs. Another citizen, D-Bell, began a campaign to have Huntsville Town
properties reassessed. A petition written by Bell and distributed by Sorensen
rolled through Huntsville Town (pop. 600) like a high speed freight train.
The citizen response was such the "informational" meeting with County officials
had to be moved to the Snowcrest Junior High within 24 hours.
At the Snowcrest Junior High gymnasium (15 August) at least one thousand or
more angry Valley residents "pinned back the ears" of Weber County Commissioners,
Assessors and local Representative Gage Froerer.
The Ogden Valley Forum was so heated with tax outrage, and Click here to read the rest of the press release
Monday, October 08, 2007
We at the forum ask, where is the transparency in our government?
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Be sure to add your email address to the Ogden Valley Tax Revolt page to receive updates.
Friday, October 05, 2007
We've been told that this is a first for the "public" to be invited along on such a field trip. So we encourage anyone who believes such a trip may be beneficial to join along.
For those of you who have not visited the County's Planning Commission web site recently you will find some nice changes. As an example, under the agenda for Oct. 12 click on Powder Mountain and you will find Staff's review of the rezoning request plus maps of the current and proposed zoning changes. These maps provide quite a visual for what will happen if this rezone is approved! There are other good additions to the site as well. Some things are missing, like the minutes of past meetings. But the site is still in the process of redesign and the minutes will be added back soon.
Your VCRD staff
From today's Standard, we read a letter to the editor from Huntsville Resident Harold "JR" Johansen, entitled Vouchers a windfall for schools, taxpayers
And, an article we missed from a few days ago congratulates 11 year old Eden resident John Michael Lewis for his first place finish in Ogden’s Harvest Moon Celebration.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Our condolences go out to the family.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
When voicing our concerns to the OVPC about the Powder Mountain Rezone petition, it is crucial that we focus on the specifics of the rezone petition and the issues and problems that can arise if the request is approved. For example you may wish to consider some of the following items: the numbers associated with the major density increase that would be brought about by the proposed zoning changes; increased traffic to the Valley on our predominately rural roads, safety concerns about the Powder Mountain Road itself, and the fact that it is the only way in and out of the resort, and the impact on the wildlife areas inside and surrounding the zones in the petition.
Where possible, it will be beneficial if we can make recommendations to the Commissioners on alternatives we'd like to see in this petition. We must assume the petition will be approved in some form. Please send your comments to:
Ogden Valley Planning Commission (OVPC)
In care of their clerk, Sherri Sillito
Her telephone number is: 801-399-8791
Her e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Include instructions to distribute your letter to all Ogden Valley Planning Commission members.
Remember to include your Name, and Address so they know who you are and to eliminate the possibility that your e-mail or letter would be discarded.
Your VCRD Staff
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
At last night’s Ogden Valley Planning Committee meeting the rezone request for Powder Mountain was tabled until October 23 without Commission discussion or public input. However, the OVPC did set a date for their members to make a field trip to Powder Mountain to view the areas involved in the request. This trip has been scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12 at 1PM. The Commission was asked if the public could accompany them on the trip. They had no problem with the request but Staff indicated they should check with legal because County vehicles will be used for the trip. We will follow up with Staff next week and let you know their response.
Another item on the agenda was a discussion only, no action required by the OVPC. The discussion was initiated by Ron Catanzaro, the Ski Lake developer, on his concept of establishing an overlay nightly rental zone for, first, his residential home development, the Chalets, located off Old Snowbasin Road and backing onto Hwy. 39. His idea also included expanding the overlay zone to other, similar developments in the Valley. Five different individuals from all over Ogden Valley spoke against this proposal. The OVPC commission did not appear to be receptive to this concept and the message was clear to Mr. Catanzaro that this type of zoning change was not in the best interest of the Ogden Valley.
Your VCRD Staff
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The VCRD recommends that the Powder Mountain Rezone be tabled or denied, pending the passage of the Resort and TDR Ordinances, still being finalized. If this rezone is passed without the density controls provided by these pending ordinances, we can expect other developers and resort planners to file similar rezone petitions and continued unchecked development growth in Ogden Valley.
The VCRD staff suggests that all Valley citizens stay involved on these issues, attend the Commission meetings or Public Hearings, and continue to write to your Commission members to express your feelings.
Write to your OVPC at email@example.com, remember to include your name and valley address.
If you have not signed the Powder Mountain Petition please look to the right of this message to find the Powder Mountain petition and sign by September 23.
Please forward this message or call those residents and neighbors not on line to get them involved on this important issue.
UPDATE: Be sure to read D-Bell's Speech before Utah Legislature’s Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee
Also, be sure to pick up and post your "FOR SALE - Can't Afford The Taxes" sign
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The property tax issue is obviously huge, so we have created a page dedicated to the issue - Ogden Valley Tax Revolt - and it will include links to many local articles and news reports about the ongoing tax fight.
From there, you can link to other tax related sites such as D-Bell's "Wingmen for Property Tax Re-Forum" and a page we created for State Legislator Gage Froerer's submissions. The link for the Ogden Valley "For Sale - Can't Afford the Taxes" site is also there.
These links have been modified with graphics - simply click on the graphic in the right column and you will be "linked" to the site.
We are also looking at the creation of pages for candidates for the upcoming elections in Huntsville, but in the future will include County candidates as well. If you have any questions we can direct to the Huntsville Candidates, please post below or email to firstname.lastname@example.org We will compile the questions and include them in our political pages.
More improvements are planned and be sure to sign up for our email updates using the form in the right column. As an added bonus, we have included a sign up link below. As always, no spam, just updates on local issues.
Sign up for all by clicking the email icon next to "Reading List by Feedblitz"
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Ogden Valley For Sale Signs, Property Tax Hearing, Powder Mountain Rezone and Letter from UDOT regarding Ogden Canyon concerns
UPDATE at 11:30 PM 9-18-07
See you at the State Capitol, Ogden Valley! (If you are not recieving our updates, add your email address to our "Subscribe Me" link in the right column.)
There are several important items today.
Be sure to attend the:
Public Hearing on Property Taxes for the Utah Legislature's Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
W135 House Building, State Capitol Complex, Salt Lake City
Comments may be sent to email@example.comIt will be important that we pack the building and let the Legislature know we are serious about tax reform.
Our own "Wingman" D-Bell is on the agenda and could use your support. Arrive early for good parking and seating. By the way, D-Bell had a guest commentary in Today's Standard.
Also, we just heard that the Ogden Valley - "For Sale - Can't Afford The Taxes" Signs" will be available Wednesday afternoon, and
ABC 4 News featured Huntsville Town for sale on Monday. Click here to view the segment which featured Huntsville residents D-Bell and Richard Sorensen.
Click the sign for details.
Next, Powder Mountain will once again be seeking a MAJOR rezone during a hearing on September 25, 2007. More details will follow, so mark your calendars and be sure to sign the petition.
Lastly, Larry Zini just received this reply from UDOT regarding his concerns over large truck usage of Ogden Canyon. Click on the image to make larger.
That's all for now..... SEE YOU AT THE STATE CAPITAL!
the Sensitive Land Ordinance last night.
This is the first of the 3 Ordinances for Ogden Valley that will provide
specific guidelines to help retain the character and charm of our Valley.
We recommend that residents support the Resort and TDR Ordinances
when they are presented at future public hearings.
Your VCRD Staff
Monday, September 17, 2007
We just received a tip that our local Property Tax Wingman, D-Bell, will discussing our Tax issues during the KTVX 4 news at 4, 6 and 10pm tonight. Be sure to tune in!
Also, be sure to read today's Salt Lake Tribune Article, "Huntsville homeowners boil as property taxes soar"
Blogmeister's Note: Today (Monday, September 17th) is the deadline to file an appeal with Weber County for your Property Tax Assessment. Don't forget to bombard the Assessor's office with your appeals!
But there are other important issues that face us, and the first is a PUBLIC HEARING tonight. We are rerunning a post from about two weeks ago with details.
As Ogden Valley residents we are under severe pressure these days with substantial property tax increases and an endless stream of developer petitions that demand continued involvement on many development issues.
While the current property tax issue is front and center now with many residents, there are other items simultaneously happening that can have an adverse affect on Ogden Valley if we don't remain engaged.
The three draft Ogden Valley ordinances are moving through the Planning Commission work sessions. We will have the first Public Hearing September 17th at 5PM on the draft Sensitive Land Ordinance. You can view this draft ordinance with Planning Committee changes on the Weber County web site at www1.co.weber.ut.us/planning_commission/.
Concurrently, developer petitions like the Powder Mountain Rezone request and the amendment request to the CV-2 zone at Old Snowbasin Road should not be placed on our mental back burner.
The Powder Mountain Rezone if granted without the controlling effects of the Resort Zone and TDR Ordinances will add to the increased land values and ultimately to even higher property taxes. It will also open the flood gates for Snow Basin and Wolf Creek to seek similar rezone petitions and the unchecked upward spiral in density, property values and taxes will continue. The Powder Mountain rezone hearing will be on the 25th of September and all concerned residents should make themselves heard by being at the meeting and/or writing to the Ogden Valley Planning Commissioners.
The request to amend the restricted CVR-1 zone at Hwy. 39 and Old Snow Basin Road will be heard by the OVPC on September 13 at 5PM. Lifting the restrictions on this zoning could have a negative affect on the overall usage of the site and impact on the scenic corridor along Hwy. 39.
The VCRD staff suggests that all Valley citizens stay involved on these issues, attend the Commission meetings or Public Hearings, and continue to write to your Commission members to express your feelings. Write to your OVPC at firstname.lastname@example.org, remember to include your name and valley address. If you have not signed the Powder Mountain Petition please look to the right of this message to find the Powder Mountain petition and sign by September 21.
Your VCRD Staff
Sunday, September 16, 2007
We suggest you file an appeal, even if you were not planning on it, as it will ultimately help your neighbor and will make a strong statement. The County has stated they will accept appeals postmarked by September 17, 2007, although we would suggest hand delivery.
We also hear that D-Bell(click to view his missives) and Huntsville Town Councilman Richard Sorensen, will be delivering the petitions requesting a reassessment of all Valley properties. The petitions currently have 1,019 signatures, but there is room for more. If you have not yet signed, do it now by clicking on the petition link in the right column.
From yesterday's Standard, we read the "State Hears Davis Relief Plan."
And today, we read The family of a Huntsville woman who died from invasive meningococcal meningitis earlier this year wants to remind parents to get their children vaccinated against the deadly disease.
Kudos to her father, Cory Thompson of Huntsville, for his generosity and dedication to getting the word out and assisting with vaccinations.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The petition by the new property owner to lift the restrictions on the CVR-1 property at Old Snowbasin Road and Hwy 39 was denied by a unanimous vote of the Ogden Valley Planning Commission. This means that the proposed 35 foot high building will not be constructed and the approved condo/tel commercial plan will remain intact if the land is devleoped.
The petition to rezone the property at approximately 4022 N. and 3500 E. in Liberty was approved with specific requirements. The new owner must start the development within 2 years (he wanted 5), he must follow the conceptual design as shown during his presentation to blend with the rural character of the Valley, and parking must be in the back. Should the owner fail to begin development within the 2 year period the property will revert to the current zoning.
Your VCRD Staff
Also, we just found out about a meeting for some? residents with Gage and Commissioner Zogmaister last evening (Wednesday) at the Ogden Valley Branch Library. We were not notified of the meeting, but would love to hear if you attended.
Was it by special invitation?
Also, in todays SL Tribune, we read that the State Legislature is holding a Public Hearing on September 19th - we at the Forum broke the story two days ago. Where do you get your news, Ogden Valley? Be sure to sign up for our new email list. The form is in the Right column.
Click the comment link below this post and give us an update.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
A page dedicated to the Property Tax Issue has been created, and among other pertinent items, it contains information on Property appeals and a State Public Hearing on Utah's Property Tax
We will update daily, so check back often and become educated on Proposition 13 type issues.
ALSO, THE LEGAL FIGHT IS ON and your donations are necessary. So far some $3,000 has been pledged from local residents, but we need more for the WAR CHEST. Contact "Taxlead" D-Bell with your support, and click here to read his legal updates.
Monday, September 10, 2007
We also read that the county expects over 2000 appeals, although to date they have only received 675. The deadline is September 17, so time is critical if you have not yet submitted your appeal.
From the September 7 issue, we hear rumblings of several state legislators who are planning property tax relief for seniors. While we at the forum are optimistic, we don't hold much hope of the legislature passing a bill that would provide WIDESPREAD tax relief. We must turn up the heat and keep applying the pressure.
For more tax related info, be sure to check our sister page which will be updated over the next few days.
UPDATE: 9:00 am
All great minds think alike, and the following was posted concurrently by our VCRD staff:
Help for property tax appeals.
Thanks to the dedication of Richard Sorensen, Huntsville City Councilman, and several Real Estate volunteers, many residents of Huntsville received help regarding their property tax appeals Saturday night at the Huntsville Town Hall.
The resident response exceeded all expectations and indicates the importance of this issue to all.
We urge all Valley residents that wish to appeal their property tax assessment, to do so before Sept. 17th of this year. Read the story in Sunday's Standard Examiner about details. There is a story on the front page and also in the Top of Utah section. If you need any help, contact Mountain Valley Realty (745-4141), Gage Froerer & Assoc (745-4221) and John Allaire (745-2619)
Your VCRD Staff