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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

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