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Friday, November 30, 2007

Status of Powder Mountain Rezone Petition

At last night’s meeting of the OVPC the Commissioners discussed 14 possible “Conditions” that they may include as part of any approval of the rezone request from Powder Mountain developers. The “Conditions” will be posted on the County’s web site. However, per Ms. Sillito they may not be posted until Monday, or Tuesday of next week! Staff will attempt to have the information updated sooner but there is no guarantee that it will be done before then.

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:

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

Powder Mountain Rezone

The Powder Mountain rezone was tabled again last night until November 29th at 5PM. It appears some of the OVPC members were clearly split on this idea, but it was decided to continue the debate on the 29th.

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

Infamous Ogdenite Bob Geiger Solicits support for Powder Mountains rezone

Updates Below

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

Powder Mountain "plans in detail" and Huntsville Resident offers a lesson in forgiveness

From today's Standard, we read Marshall Thompson's "Resort plans in detail." He reviews Powder Mountain's washed up publicity campaign and their hopes of setting "the record straight." Among other points, the developers down play the threat of litigation against Cache County and Western America Holding Company's Lee Daniels 'is confident that a solution [to the rezone] can be found that pleases everybody.'

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.

4:30 PM

Weber County Commission Chambers

2380 Washington Blvd.

Ogden, Utah

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

Powder Mountain Rezone and Water

This is a guest post from Sean Healy

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.


Sean Healy
Eden Resident

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Property Tax Workshop

Gage Froerer our Utah State Legislator, and Valley resident John Primbs will conduct a workshop to consider all reasonable property tax reduction ideas and suggestions. This workshop will be at the Huntsville Library on December 5th at 7PM.

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

Powder Mountain Rezone, VCRD meeting and more!

Powder Mountain Rezone

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

Powder Mountain and Ogden Valley

The residents of Ogden Valley are facing a significant change in lifestyle if the rezone petition is approved for Powder Mountain. This rezone change, coming before the Ogden Valley Planning Commission on November 27th for a vote, will have a profound impact on the character and future look of Ogden Valley.

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