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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!


Larry Zini said...

Dear Ms. Zogmaister:

It seems to Sharon and me that many issues that appear to be within the scope of responsibility of the OVPC are not discussed or voted on based on the judgment of Monet Hurtado. This is frustrating and difficult for most of us to understand.   If the OVPC cannot have input on these issues, than who does have that responsibility?  This frustration is starting to appear in the increased citizen contacts directly to the Weber County Commission.

It is our feeling that in Weber County ordinances where the word "may" is used, County Attorney Monet Hurtado fosters a different interpretation of the meaning of that word than was intended.   To most the word "may" keynotes the OVPC may, or may not, recommend approval on requests before the commission.  Ms. Hurtado has stated her interpretation at numerous meetings that if the request complies with all technical requirements, the OVPC cannot deny the request.

The problem with this approach is that many requests are recommended for approval under the "Conditional Use" provision that allow the developers to circumvent the intent of the existing Weber County ordinances.    

We have reviewed the three draft 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. 

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

We feel the TDR ordinance was drafted with good intentions, but it provides an accelerated growth opportunity to developers through the more than generous "bonus" provisions noted under 37-3, the terms to be recommended for inclusion in the Cluster Subdivision Chapter. This could result in significantly more development in the valley than anticipated and may negatively impact the overall quality of life in the valley now and in the future.   

Please share our concerns about these draft ordinances and request for a temporary moratorium on development with the other two commissioners on the Weber County Commission.

Larry and Sharon Zini

Valley said...

Excellent comments Larry and we hope others are submitting their comments to the commissioners as well.