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Monday, April 30, 2007

IMPORTANT! The Developers for The Rivers Files Appeal to County Commission - On May 1st agenda!

As expected, the Developers of the River's Cluster Subdivision, whose preliminary approval was DENIED by the Ogden Valley Planning Commission, made an appeal to the Weber Planning Commission. The decision on preliminary approval is SUPPOSEDLY on the Weber County Commission agenda for:

Tuesday, May 1st
10 am
Weber County Commission Chambers.

However, as of 7:30 AM on the Monday preceding the meeting, their is no agenda on the Commission Web Site , even though the site states that agendas will be "posted the Friday afternoon before Commission Meeting."

UPDATE 8 AM : The County Commission Agenda is now posted and includes The Rivers as well as the Appointment of Planning Commission Members.

A rendering of the proposed subdivision is depicted on the right column. It shows the vast difference in density as it compares to the adjacent lots in Huntsville Town. Also, the homes in the River's Cluster will be much bigger than many Huntsville dwellings and 35 feet tall (the max allowed), while some of their lots are smaller than two homes currently under construction in Huntsville.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Proposed OV Ordinances

Our Opinion By Larry and Sharon Zini

We feel the VCRD (Valley Citizens for Responsible Development) is moving in the right direction. Communication among the citizens that care about our valley is essential to muster the clout needed to deal with the strong influence of some developers and a mostly compliant Ogden Valley Planning Commission.

These contentious development growth issues impact the entire Ogden Valley, not just the towns of Huntsville, Eden or Liberty, or the unincorporated areas. If all concerned Valley citizens support the VCRD, it can become a powerful political force. With each of us getting involved and contacting our Weber County Commissioners, it would send a strong message to those three ELECTED officials.

We encourage everyone to read the blogs placed by concerned Valley residents. You should post your opinions in the comments area and participate.

We also recommend that all concerned Valley residents read the 3 new proposed ordinances, not just the overviews, the actual ordinances. The overview does not address the very generous "Bonus Density" provisions for developers. We consider bonus density provisions to be the heart of the accelerated growth issues in the Valley.

Sharon and I have reviewed the three proposed ordinances pending consideration by the Weber County Planning Commission, CHAPTER 38B, Ogden Valley Sensitive Lands Overlay Districts, CHAPTER 43, Ogden Valley Master-Planned Recreational Resort Zone RR-I and TITLE 37, Ogden Valley Transfer of Development Rights as well as CHAPTER 22B, Cluster Subdivision Special Provisions.  

We feel the TDR Ordinance was drafted with good intentions, but it provides an accelerated growth opportunity to developers through the generous "bonus" provisions noted under 37-3, the terms to be included in the Chapter 22B, Cluster Subdivision Special Provisions following approval of the TDR Ordinance. This could result in significantly more units for developers in the Valley than anticipated and will accelerate the negative impact on the overall quality of life.  

The following is a hypothetical example of how the "Bonus Density" provisions included in 37-3 of the TDR proposed ordinance can add to the growth of units in the Valley in a manner that is not obvious at first glance. We have all heard that "The Devil is in the details."

If a developer asks for approval for 200 units and he also has 50 units of TDRs he purchased from a Valley resident, he appears on the surface to have the ability to develop 250 units. However, under the proposed "Bonus Density" provisions of the new TDR ordinance, he will receive an additional 100 units (40% of 250) for his project. At this point, the total units now involved are 350 units. It does not end there. If the developer is involved with Resort zoning, he receives an additional 10% in bonus units for employee dwellings (35 units or 10% of 350) and these units do not count against his total units approved. These additional employee units are included in the draft ordinance CHAPTER 43, Ogden Valley Master-Planned Recreational Resort Zone RR-43-3-H Employee Housing and Transportation Provision.

In summary, we started with 250 units and now we are at 385 units in the above example. This is a 54% increase in units over the original request. We feel the TDR bonus density provision should be removed from the new proposed ordinance. The bonus density units when earned by developers, should be maximized at 20% of the original proposed developer units.

We believe that a temporary moratorium on development in the Ogden Valley should be considered by the Weber County Commission until these proposed ordinances can be reviewed and a new impact study conducted.

Larry and Sharon Zini

UPDATE April 30, 2007:
This comment promoted for ease of viewing:

We at the forum have long been opposed to the Bonus density that is given so freely to developers who cluster, provide open space, etc. The bonus is in the developers ability to "cluster" their infrastructure such as roads, utilities, etc. and they should not receive further incentives - we call that double dipping.

And now, as Larry and Sharon have pointed out, the TDR's include verbiage for HUGE bonuses that will create substantially more units.

Contact the commissioners and urge them to call a "time out" and ask for a moratorium on all new development. As we see it, that is the only option.

Contacts List for County Commissioners:
Jan Zogmaister
Craig Dearden
Ken Bischof
Shelly Halacy, Administrative Assistant to the Weber County Commission

Weber County Commission
2380 Washington Blvd. Suite 360
Ogden, UT 84401

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Valley Citizens for Responsible Development Meeting April 26th

Valley Citizens For Responsible Development(VCRD) is hosting a Public Awareness Meeting

April 26, 2007

7:00 PM

Ogden Valley Branch of the Weber County Libray



Discussion and Information about:

The results of VCRD's appeal to the Board of Adjustment on the home density calculations and use of wetlands in the calculations

The Appeal to the Board of Adjustments on the proposed Bison Creek Sewer System

Membership Status

Input and discussion on where to proceed with VCRD's efforts

Other business and information - open discussion

Please attend and invite your neighbors to this important meeting.

Time is running out for Responsible Development, so get involved now.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ogden Valley Planning Commission Agenda 4-24-07 and notice of cancellation of the Public hearing to review the proposed ordinances

We are not sure why, but the Public hearing scheduled for April 24, 2007 has been cancelled. Here is the notice posted on the Planning Commission web site:


There will not be a public hearing on the three proposed Ogden Valley ordinances on April 24th

The regularly scheduled planning commission meeting is still on for 4:30 PM with a pre meeting at 4:00 PM

At first glance, it appears as there are no big surprises, but there may just be. Pay closed attention to the items in Bold and note the comments in italics.

Consent Agenda Items
A. Conditional Use Permit CUP #09-07 Site Plan Approval for Carvers Cove Petting Farm located at approximately 2329 N. 5025 E. in Eden
B. Final Approval for Powder Ridge Condominiums Phase 1 Second Amendment (30 Units) located at approximately 6172 Powder Ridge Road

Regular Agenda Items

1. Conditional Use Permit CUP #08-07 Site Plan Approval for Powder View Waste Water Treatment Facility at 4675 N. 2900 E., Liberty Another sewage treatment plant for Liberty. Be aware of the location, especially if it is in your neighborhood.

2. Conditional Use Permit CUP #10-07 Site Plan Approval for Sal Pineview Cell Tower Located at 678 N. 7100 E., Zoning AV-3

3. Zoning Petition Z.P. #03-07 by Casey Quinn to Rezone lots 3, 4, 6 and 7 of Section 2, Township 5 North, Range 2 East from Forest F-40 to Forest F-5
The planning department is even against this one!

4. Preliminary Approval of Copyak Subdivision Amended Lots 2 & 3 located at approximately 2450 N. Highway 158
Near Diamond Peaks Ski Shop

To see more details and the Planning Department comments,

Click here to view

Friday, April 13, 2007

3 land use ordinances

Friends and Colleagues,

As we all know, development in Ogden Valley is happening at an extraordinary rate. We desperately need effective planning and development ordinances to regulate the growth in a way that preserves the character of the Valley we all currently enjoy. Balancing private property and development rights against the Valley we love will be difficult in any case, but a balanced group of citizens have worked for three years to develop three helpful ordinances…they are not perfect, but they are pretty good.

  • The Sensitive Lands Ordinance will help to preserve ridgelines, scenic corridors, cultural heritage, wildlife habitats, streams & wetlands.
  • The TDR (Transfer of Development Rights) will help to limit the maximum number of housing units and preserve open space.
  • The Resort Zone Ordinance will help to make resorts commercially viable while preserving open space.
  • The complete text of the ordinances can be seen at

Here are more detailed arguments for each of the ordinances.

Please help us grow Ogden Valley in a smart way by contacting the county commissioners in support of the ordinances. The “no rules” forces are hard at work to defeat them.






Why TDR’s? TDR’s provide a legal mechanism to grant density fairly and equitably to the existing resorts that need higher density for increased skier visits, as well as, new resorts that will be proposed in Ogden Valley in the future. Without TDR’s, granting the additional units the resorts and others developers need would destroy the rural / resort growth opportunity by creating an overcrowded urban like environment. If new units are granted to one developer – in all likelihood they would be granted to all.

They enable building units rights granted by current zoning to be sold, purchased, and transferred, from one parcel of property to another, so that higher density units may be granted to resort development projects without increasing the overall unit density in Ogden Valley.

TDR’s are a resource designated in our Ogden Valley General Plan and the Recreation Element. They’re used to help ensure prosperous smart growth, jobs, and a viable economic engine that also maintains and establishes a unique rural / resort community that respects Ogden Valleys historic heritage.

Current zoning in Ogden Valley allows for between 16,000 and 18,000 units (estimated 36,000 to 40,000 people) depending on cluster bonus density. The Ogden Valley General Plan calculated the maximum unit carrying capacity of the valley as a rural / resort area at 6,700 (estimated 18,000 to 20,000 people). Dangers from a build out above 6,700 units include – air pollution inversions – ground water, streams, wetlands and Pine View Reservoir water pollution – and traffic gridlock into and out of the valley. It is simple common sense that recreation enthusiasts will no longer desire to come to Ogden Valley to recreate under these conditions. And the residents of the valley will loose the livable community they have today and the future community described in the development parameters contained in the Ogden Valley General Plan.

TDR’s provide landowners with an additional property right. It allows them to take needed cash out of their property, without having to sell it and move out of the valley as is often the case now.

TDR’s are affordable for buyers buying second homes in a recreation community. Amortized into the buyers mortgage – TDR’ are a component of the purchase that helps ensure the buyer that the resort community they invest and live in today is still present 20 or 30 years from now when their purchase is paid for.


Resort development done correctly can help Ogden Valley maintain a rural / recreational community and help prevent just another typical Wasatch front sub-urban bedroom community.

Resorts, when executed in conformation to the general plan, provide local jobs, a strong tax base and recreational opportunities for locals and tourists. Resorts could actually enhance our valleys recreational and rural attributes without the negative impacts created by other industrial based businesses.

Resort clustering requires that 60% of the development stays in open space, and open space is a major factor in maintaining the rural / recreational environment in Ogden Valley.

Resorts are the driving element for the TDR market. Resorts will need additional density and TDR’s provide a fair equitable way for them to get it. TDR costs are passed along to the buyers of the resort homes. Resort buyers can rest assured that their real estate purchase includes a TDR unit offset else where in the valley.

Without TDR’s, high density Resort Zones would significantly increase the density allowed under current zoning. Therefore, this ordinance should only be passed in conjunction with the TDR ordinance.


Without a Sensitive Lands Ordinance their will be no incentive for developers to create projects that plan for – and market to buyers – the preservation of wildlife habitat areas, wetlands, rivers and streams, scenic corridors and historical cultural resources. We need well planned developments that respect and protect the valleys natural resources to meet and fulfill the rural / recreational vision outlined in the Ogden Valley General Plan. This valley is a one-of-a-kind special place. Ogden Valley requires some minimum level of development parameters to ensure that it maintains it special characteristics as it grows.

Without ridgeline building parameters, every ridge line could be filled with houses and the vistas and views that are so important to the special character of valley will be gone forever. Views and open spaces are two major things that define the special character of Ogden Valley, and they are important to preserve, even as we grow.

In a high growth build out, deeper set-backs (100 feet) along the designated visual corridor roads are an imperative element for reducing congestion and helping us maintain a rural community feel. In addition to looking and feeling different from traditional urban and sub-urban roadways, deeper set-backs provide improved safety for homes along the corridor, and they offer smoother traffic flows onto and off from these heavily traveled roads. Deeper set-backs also provide better safety, more space for bikers and pedestrians, and trails and pathways. They also improve the entrances and exits into subdivisions and commercial developments.


When passed, these 3 important ordinances will have the same level of success for Ogden Valley that other preceding ordinances have had once they passed. Our Night Sky, Sign and Pathway Ordinances have helped direct development and growth to better conform to our general plan. These ordinances have helped make Ogden Valley a stronger community and a better place to live. Smart, successful, sustained growth, requires parameters to help shape it. It won’t happen by chance, or hope, or by having no zoning and ordinances at all.

Given the accelerated rate of development currently being proposed in Ogden Valley, and the contentious opposition from valley residents some of those developments have brought with them, we need these 3 new ordinances urgently to ensure that the Ogden Valley General Plan comes to fruition, and that this special valley will remain the unique magical place that it is – for current and future residents and guests – even as it grows.

Respectively posted

Ron Gleason

Update by Val 4-13-07 5:00 PM
Contacts List for County Commissioners:
Jan Zogmaister
Craig Dearden
Ken Bischof
Shelly Halacy, Administrative Assistant to the Weber County Commission

Weber County Commission
2380 Washington Blvd. Suite 360
Ogden, UT 84401

Please contact the commissioners ASAP and encourage them to approve the Proposed ordinances!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ogden Valley Planning Commission Meeting Report - THE RIVERS DENIED!!

This was originally posted by Larry Zini as a comment, but we have promoted it to the top due to its importance. CITIZENS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

My wife and I attended a special OVPC (Ogden Valley Planning Commission) meeting in Ogden last night. One of the new proposed developments in the valley is called The River Cluster subdivision that would back up to the town of Huntsville near the big curve on Highway 39. The preliminary approval request was sent to the Weber County Commission as DENIED by the OVPC. It was a 4 to 2 vote. It could still be passed by the 3 member Weber County Commission, the developer has 15 days to appeal.

Attending the OVPC meeting was Jan Zogmaister, one of the three Weber County Commissioners. She has been at the last two OVPC meetings and said she has also reviewed the minutes and listened to the tapes of recent OVPC meetings.

To clarify the chain of command, the Weber County Commissioners are elected by the voters and The 3 Weber County Commissioners appoint the OVPC Commissioners.

It appears that the Weber County commission has taken note of the growing opposition to the wide open development issues in our valley. It is a hopeful sign that at least one commissioner as taken the time to attend and oversee the OVPC performance.

This highlights the importance that all residents write or call the 3 Weber County Commissioners on these issues. Let them know what you think!

Larry Zini

UPDATE - 4/13/2007
Last evening, the Weber County Board of Adjustment met to hear several appeals. Item 4 on the agenda was:
Board of Adjustment BOA #06-07 Interpretation of Zoning Ordinance by Dawn Goode

The Goode's and the resident group, Valley Citizens for Responsible Development (VCRD) were disputing the calculations from the Bison Creek Ranch Developer used to derive the number of lots allowed when taking into account bonuses for open space, clustering, etc. A couple of months ago, The Ogden Valley Planning Commission approved the number of lots (150) as suggested by the "good neighbor" developer, Destination Eden, aka John Lewis of the Moose Hollow fame and Barry Scwartz .

In a nutshell, VCRD's contention (and ours) is that wetlands should not be included in calculations as "developable" or "buildable" lands. Sadly, the BOA sided with the Ogden Valley Planning Commission and upheld their previous interpretation.

According to VCRD's calculations, Bison Creek Ranch should only be allowed 121.63 lots instead of the 150 that have received preliminary approval.

It is time to pressure the County commissioners for a Moritorium on development until the new, proposed ordinances have been put in place and a study has been completed by an out of state Urban Planning firm rather than relying on a Recreation Element proposal from a Logan based Environmental consulting firm.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Here We Go Again!

We just received word of a special meeting of the Ogden Valley Planning Commission meeting as well as a meeting of appeal to the County Commissioners regarding the recent approval of the Bison Creek Ranch Subdivision in East Huntsville.

Ogden Valley Planning Commission Special Meeting

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

5:00 PM Pre Meeting (public invited) Our intel tells us Commissioner Jan Zogmaister will be addressing the planning commission.

5:30 PM Planning Commission Meeting

Click here to see agenda

Normally these meetings are held on the 4th Tuesday of each Month, but this is a special mid-term meeting for Preliminary Approval of The Rivers Ghetto Cluster Subdivision located on the South border of Huntsville Town in the River Bottoms. 46 lots are proposed on 12 Acres. Some of the proposed lots are smaller in size than two homes currently under construction in Huntsville Town.

A visit to the County Planning Commission web site does not list this meeting under "Meeting Schedules" and it is not listed on the Planning Commission Home Page. It is only visible by clicking on "Agendas." See for yourself by clicking here

It was our understanding that this request was tabled during the last Planning commission meeting for 30 days, but here it is in a special meeting that has not been publicized. It certainly has the appearance that someone is trying to rush it through with no further public input. Be there or be square as they say!


Special Meeting of Appeal to the Weber County Commission

Thursday, April 12, 4:15 PM

A Valley Citizen's group has filed a formal appeal regarding the preliminary approval of the Bison Creek Ranch Subdivision proposed on Highway 39 east of Huntsville -- 150 Homes on 458 +/- Acres.

The county commission will hear the appeal during this special meeting.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Case for a Building Moratorium--What Now?

I am the author of the letter to the Ogden Valley News proposing a moratorium on building in the Valley at least until the County Commission can rectify the problem with the current zoning vs. the 1998 Ogden Valley Carrying Capacity Analysis.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of persons who have called me or have otherwise expressed their agreement with the sentiments in the letter, and have--every one of them--asked "What now? How do we organize and keep this going to the point at which we can get somebody to actually listen and DO something before it's too late?"

One person asked my permission to send my letter to the Standard Examiner, to which I assented. I may send copies directly to each of the Commissioners, to the members of the OV Planning Commission, to our professional county "planners," and even to our esteemed county legal department advisor to the Planning Commission, to get their reactions to the letter, on the record. But there are no doubt more and better things that can be done. I sense that the letter has stirred some important feelings in a lot of us, and that the time to capitalize on those feelings is now. What does anyone else think? And more important, who's ready to DO something?? I know I am.

Frank Cumberland