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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Kudos to the Huntsville City Council

As stated in the opinion piece in the Standard Examiner on Sunday (Dec. 30th), public service by council members in Utah is sometimes provided at a price, but not always.

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

Huntsville Town Passes resolution opposing Powder Mountain's rezone request and Merry Christmas

We hope you all had a Merry Christmas and we wish you a prosperous New Year. We appreciate the many readers and contributors who have made the Ogden Valley Forum one of the most visited web sites in Ogden Valley (we think it is the most popular site, but are not quite ready to go out that far on the limb - if you know of a more popular site, please let us know).

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

Invisible Residents of Ogden Valley?

As residents of Ogden Valley we wonder why the Powder Mountain developers and their staff are so intent on interaction with the citizens of Cache County, but have largely ignored Ogden Valley residents.

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

Letter to Editor, 'Intrepid Reporter' and Letter to Commissioners from a Concerned Edenite

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
From: Resident
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?

Dual Jurisdiction

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

Conditional approval of the Powder Mountain Rezone

The Ogden Valley Planning Commission (OVPC) conditionally approved the Powder Mountain rezone last night. The VCRD has opposed the Powder Mountain Rezone petition as originally submitted. However, when the OVPC approved the rezone last night they attached several significant conditions to be implemented by the Powder Mountain developers. These conditions addressed many of the objectionable aspects of the rezone.

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


The Powder Mountain rezone was approved last evening with strong conditions (restrictions) for approval. From this morning's Standard, Marshall Thompson offers an overview.

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

Blogmeister's NOTE:

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.

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

Powder Mountain Looking for Partners and Investors

With about 24 hours before the OVPC's landmark decision on the Powder Mountain rezone request, we read that the developers are still looking for investors to "make it happen."

From the Standard Examiner,

“They are looking for investors and partners who have the financial wherewithal and the expertise on how to develop a world-class resort,” Lisa Davis James said.
Cache County Attorney George Daines for more than a year has pushed to examine the financial stability of the developers. He said he did not want Cache County left high and dry if the project fell through for lack of funds....
“They told us the amount of money they had was not enough and that they were looking for more investors,” he said.
Larry Zini, a member of the Valley Citizens for Responsible Development, said Powder Mountain’s continuing search for investors concerns him, especially since the planning commission has yet to vote on the rezone petition.
“I’m a little surprised that they’ve been able to round up investors with the problems they have with the road to the resort,” he said.
The OVPC along with Weber County Planning Staff have put in significant time and effort to create conditions for approval, but we at the forum urge them to DENY the request - quite simply, there are too many obstacles and unknowns. Send them back to Cache County for another spin of the roulette wheel. Better yet, send them to Germany via Deutsche Bank.
Not only is the rezone fraught with problems, but the process for public input is too. Many tried in vein to submit comments to the OVPC via email, only to find their emails had been returned. Alternative addresses were made available after the deadline, but we are not sure that the comments ever made it to the hands of the Commissioners.
We also read yesterday that Powder Mountain was the only resort in the state that was still not open. How long until they install snow making equipment and what effect will that have on the watershed?
Be sure to attend the meeting Monday evening at 4:30 PM at the Weber County Commission Chambers.
There are many other important items on the Monday agenda, so don't lose focus. There are several items up for a public hearing and the previously mentioned request for amendments to the Edgewater Beach Resort.
From Friday's Salt Lake Tribune, we read that a Single Weber County resident shows to rail against tax hike for the Weber County Budget. That resident was Huntsville's D-Bell, founder of Utah Wingmen for Property Tax Reform.
It appears apathy to the Property tax increase has set in, although we at the forum will take some of the blame for overlooking and failing to publicize the Public Hearing. Please assist us in the future by tipping us off to any important or news worthy events and meetings. Our email address is in the top left column.
That's all for now - see you Monday Night.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Powder Mountain and the Standard Examiner

Our apologies for the many updates this week, but Powder Mountain's over the top rezone request may very well be the largest attack on Ogden Valley residents since some local Native American's traveling to Uintah county scuffled with some of Brother Brigham's boys in the late 1800's.

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!

Powder Mountain and More

As was stated yesterday, the County's new email system curiously has been having some issues. Be sure to send Mr. Jim Gentry an email ASAP and ask that your message be passed on to the Ogden Valley Planning Commissioners.

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

Alert! New Address for Powder Mountain E-Mails

I just received a call from Scott Mendoza of Weber County Planning Department advising me that they are having difficulty with their new e-mail system. So anyone who has received a “bounce back” (return undeliverable) of your e-mails to Sherri Sillito or Scott Mendoza should resend the e-mail to Jim Gentry until the problems in new system have been resolved. Jim has not been updated to the latest e-mail system.

Jim’s e-mail address is:

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

Input on Powder Mountain Extended to 9 AM

Weber County has extended the deadline to 9 AM on December 5 for e-mails to be received on Powder Mountain’s rezone request. These e-mails will be included in the packets provided to the Ogden Valley Commissioners for their review prior to their next meeting.

The updated Powder Mountain report is now on Weber County’s web site at:

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: 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

Weber County Blog

We have a sister blog in the Weber County Forum. I urge all blog users to check it out.( This blog reaches many Weber County residents outside of Ogden Valley. We have many common issues with our neighbors to the West, and the more residents informed, the better. I was provided a guest post on the WC blog regarding the Powder Mountain Rezone. You may enjoy the comments to that post. We are not alone!

Larry Zini
VCRD Chairman