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Monday, December 15, 2008

Froerer Property Tax Relief Bill

Below is an overview of a residential property tax exemption bill that will be proposed by Representative Gage Froerer in the 2009 General Session of the Utah Legislation.

If passed the bill will provide relief for many residential property owners in Weber County and elsewhere who were required by county ordinance to build their homes on larger than one acre of land. The bill would also provide a vehicle for counties to penalize those individuals that illegally claim the homeowner’s exemption on multiple properties within the state.

We recommend that you give this bill your consideration, and if in agreement with it’s intent, e-mail, write or call your state representatives and senators in support of 2009FL-0057/001.

Sharon and Larry Zini


General Description:
This bill amends provisions of the Property Tax Act relating to the residential property tax exemption.

Highlighted Provisions:
This bill:
• Amends the size of residential property that may qualify for a residential exemption due to a local zoning requirement for residential property;

• Provides that a county assessor may require an owner of residential property to file a statement showing that the property qualifies for the residential exemption with the county assessor if:
-- the residential property is sold; or
-- the county assessor has reason to believe that the residential property no longer qualifies for the residential property tax exemption;

• Provides a penalty for falsely obtaining a residential property tax exemption;

• Defines terms; and

• Makes technical changes.

Effective date.
This bill takes effect on January 1, 2010.

To read the proposed bill in its entirety, click here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Property Taxes to supplement Sales Tax?

A recent news story stated that increased property taxes may be needed because sales tax revenue is down in Utah. This may not be a bad idea if the collection of property taxes and the prosecution of tax scofflaws were effective in Utah and Weber County. How can the county increase property taxes when they don’t seal off the loopholes used by land owners to avoid staying current on their property taxes?

My husband and I live in Ogden Valley. Fourteen months ago we brought to the attention of Commissioners Craig Dearden and Jan Zogmaister the fact that both the Weber County Planning and the Building Permit departments were granting construction petitions to developers and builders despite the fact that the petitioners had delinquent property taxes on their property. To our knowledge there still has not been any action taken to remedy this situation. In addition, we also found out that many multiple property owners in the county are claiming the primary residence tax exemption on more than one piece of property. These two problems certainly cost Weber County many thousands of dollars in revenue and restrict the cash flow into County coffers.

Despite several additional direct letters to our Weber County Commissioners on these matters (with no response), it appears that the good old boys and girl of the County Commission will continue to ignore these facts and will not take any definitive steps to close off these loopholes to improve county tax collections.

One has to wonder if every citizen did not pay their property tax on time like these scofflaws, what the revenue stream would look like for Weber County. The fine for late payment should be at least 20% for delinquent property taxes in Weber County and developers should not be granted new permits to develop or build within the county until they are current on their existing property taxes.

What makes this all so ironic, is at a general meeting in Ogden Valley over a year ago about property taxes, a Deputy Tax Assessor opened the meeting by saying to about 500 residents that the biggest property tax problem in Weber County is UNCOLLECTED PROPERTY TAXES!

Sharon Zini

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


American Legion Post #129
604 S. 7800 E.
Huntsville, UT 84317
(Just south of Subway in Huntsville)




Kent Cutler!!!

over 100,000 Songs to choose from

Come and show off your talent or just for the party.

Also, come in for the Pool Player's Challenges!  


Friday, November 21, 2008

Ogden Canyon Lime Kiln Restored

This morning we direct you to the Weber County Forum for an excellent tribute to those who have worked diligently to get the historic Lime Kiln restored in Ogden Canyon.

The article has links to KSL video along with articles and other bits of interesting, historical trivia.

Friday, November 14, 2008

More on the Middle Fork "Road"

A couple of days ago we mentioned what appeared to be a new road dozed near Middle Fork. Today we have more details from the DWR:

To Whom It May Concern:

This is regarding the wildlife habitat improvement project at the Middle Fork Wildlife Management Area (WMA). There have been questions over the actions taken to improve wildlife habitat on the WMA. This will hopefully answer and address those questions and concerns.

The Division of Wildlife Resources is committed to improving resources for wildlife. This project is designed to accomplish this on Middle Fork WMA property. This project is an attempt to improve and restore winter habitat critical for mule deer and other wildlife species on this property.

The project will entail bulldozing a line to remove competitive perennial plants and prepare the soil to enhance seedling survival of the seeded species. The line will also contain future habitat enhancement projects that will take place in the fall of 2009. This line will be planted fall of 2008 with plant species that benefit and improve winter habitat for mule deer and other wildlife. The seeded plants will include shrubs such as Forage Kochia (Kochia prostrata) and Mountain Big Sage (Artemesia tridentata vaseyana), and herbaceous species such as dry land alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia), Small Burnet (Sanguisorba minor) and other wildlife friendly plants. One of the concerns is that the Kochia being used is the weed Kochia scoparia or Weed Kochia. This is not the case. While Kochia scoparia is a weedy annual, Forage Kochia (Kochia prostrata) is a perennial sub-shrub that is very palatable, somewhat ever green, and provides high quality forage for wildlife. Forage Kochia has been widely used in wildlife habitat enhancement projects with great success.

The Division of Wildlife Resources is grateful for the interest and concern of the people of Ogden Valley in these important resources for the wildlife that share this area.

For questions or concerns, please contact Ron Greer, Habitat Biologist at 801-710-7324 or email at

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New "Road" between Middle Fork and Geertsen

Out of nowhere, a new road up the face of the mountain between Middle Fork and Geertsen has appeared. The lack of information has spurred rumors.

Not to fear, as we received an executive update yesterday from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resourses.

We will post an email explanation from Pam Kramer of the UDWR:

UDWR has just created a fire break on the Middle Fork WMA. We will be seeding the area with forage kochia, a perennial forb which tends to stay green longer into the summer season and retard fires that may move across the property. This is part of our effort to improve habitat condition on the property and to increase the browse (shrub) component so that we can winter more deer and support other wildlife species.

I put Shanna Francis of the Ogden Valley News in touch with our restoration biologist who is working on this project so there should be an article shortly in the paper.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


Pam Kramer
Habitat Biologist
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
515 East 5300
SouthOgden, Utah 84405

Friday, November 07, 2008

Utah high court strikes down law limiting citizen initiative powers

Article from Salt Lake Tribune November 7, 2008 by Cathy McKitrick

The Utah Supreme Court on Friday struck down a new law limiting citizen-initiative powers.

"This direct prohibition of the subject of an initiative brought otherwise within the conditions, manner and time restrictions imposed by law is beyond the power of the Legislature to enact," wrote Justice Michael Wilkins in voiding SB53.

The unanimous opinion noted that the Utah Constitution gives both the Legislature and the people equivalent power to enact or change legislation.

SB53, sponsored by Sen. Brent Goodfellow, D-West Valley City, sailed through this year's general legislative session and was signed by the governor in March. It took effect in early May.

As worded, it barred voters from launching initiatives regarding land-use ordinances. It also prohibited them from putting the implementation of a land-use ordinance to a public vote.

The appellate case of Sevier Power Co. v. Hansen was the first to test the fledgling statute.

Sharlene Hansen and other Sevier County residents joined a grass-roots effort seeking a ballot measure to see if voters approved of plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Sigurd.

They gathered enough signatures to get a place on November ballot. But 6th District Judge Wallace Lee, citing SB53, removed it.

Last week, Utah's high court ordered the measure back on the ballot - and, on Friday, issued the decision tossing out SB53.

"When we started out in February 2008, we believed we were doing a countywide right to vote," said Elaine Bonavita, a Richfield resident who helped spearhead the initiative effort. "But because of SB53, we now can say we played a part in restoring the right to vote to all Utahns."

In an April letter to Sevier County Attorney Dale Eyre, Assistant Attorney General Thom Roberts advised that courts could overturn SB53 because it infringed on a basic constitutional right.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Day Is Here!

Election Day: Tuesday, November 4th

What’s Happening? Local polls in Weber County are open from 7am-8pm on Tuesday, November 4th. Vote for federal, state, and local leadership positions as well as ballot questions either here in Weber County or wherever this note may find you present and eligible to vote.

Why Should I Care? Election outcomes DO make a difference in your life. Whether the question is foreign policy at the federal level or land use policy at the local level, the issues have an impact on you. As a member of a democratic society it is both your right and your responsibility to participate in the electoral process. Whether you live and vote here in Ogden Valley or elsewhere in the country, please take the time to fill out your ballot. A democracy can only be truly successful through the participation of the people.

What Can I Do? Vote. Vote. Vote.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

3 strikes/ You're Out - Ogden Valley Planning Commission Approves Rock Crusher and extensions for Both Bison Creek Ranch and Trappers Crossing

This just in from one of our Humble Huntsville readers:

In a disappointing move, the OVPC rubber stamped the requests for a one year extension for the Bison Creek Ranch and Trappers Crossing subdivisions. Their claim was one we are all too accustomed to - "The developers meet the requirements of the ordinance, so we have to grant the extension." Keith Rounkles was the lone dissenting voter with regard to the Bison Creek Extension.

Even more disappointing was the Carte Blanche approval of a rock crusher in the nearby Rivers Ghetto project - or rather the Rivers Cluster development may be more politically correct - bite my tongue. After desperate pleas from neighbors and advocates, the Planning commission approved the Rock Crushing operation. Only two hero dissenters had the conviction to vote nay - Keith Rounkles and Gary Allen.

The approval did have some minor restrictions that the developer, Jamie Gull, was not happy with. First, the approval was only for 180 days from the start of the operation, and secondly, that it could only be for phase one.

Interestingly, the developer claimed he did not want the crusher for phase two because homes would be built on the land at that point. Commissioner Rounkles queried the developer by stating, "So you are concerned about your new residents, but are not concerned about the current homeowners?" The developer claimed he was taken out of context and the reason there would be no rock crusher for Phase two was that there would be homes on the site of the proposed rock crusher.

Yesterday's petition with over 70 mostly Huntsville signees was even spotlighted to no avail. Also, during an emotional plea from long time Huntsville resident, Jenifer Georgi, she asked the Planning Commissioners why and who was responsible for allowing the destruction of wetlands and wildlife habitat. She stated that her children and grandchildren would never see the former valley.

Commissioner Rounkles agreed with Ms. Georgi and said the developers ignored recommendations from DWR. He agreed with her that developers are destroying the valley, but the OVPC has no choice.

Later, the developer accused Keith of saying that his actions were illegal and that he had no idea what he was doing with respect to the DWR recommendations. They went back and forth till Chairman Cooper stopped the bantering.

Keith showed he cares, understands and will take a stand.

Is it too late to have Keith Rounkles run for President?

Please Sign Petition To The Ogden Valley Planning Commission ASAP!

It a bit of a last ditch effort, we just received a petition entitled "Ogden Valley Residents Request Denial of Rock Crushing Operation." Time is of the essence as the All-Important Planning Commission meeting is this afternoon, and the petition sponsors are trying to round up some last minute support.

To View the Petition, click here

While we think personal letters to the Commission members carry more weight, a petition certainly has a place - NOW IS THE TIME and THIS IS THE PLACE.

Time is ticking, so:
  • Spread the word to your friends and neighbors via phone and email to sign the petition
  • Send an email letter to the Planning Commissioners if you can - be sure to ask Ms. Sillito to pass on your letter to commissioners prior to the meeting
  • Attend the 5 Pm meeting tonight
  • Become informed on the issues at tonights meeting by reviewing the last few posts on the Forum

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trappers Crossing and Bison Creek Request One Year Extension and The Rivers Requests "Design Review" of Rock Crusher Operation

As we mentioned a couple of days ago, the developers from Trapper's Crossing and Bison Creek Ranch have requested a one year extension. The rubber stamp planning staff is recommending that the planning commission approve both extension requests, but we disagree.

Ron Gleason, a concerned citizen, offered his recommendations, which we will paste below. As much as we would like to send both developers packing, we agree with his recommendation for offering Trapper's Crossing an extension IF they have culinary water, while denying Bison Creek Ranch an extension for several reasons. We have added the emphasis.

The county has finally published the agenda for the 10/28 meeting. IMO there are a couple of very important items that people should attend and express their opinions or write emails to the planning staff and OVPC commissioners

The agenda can be found here

There are two items on the consent agenda. These items have to be called out at the beginning of the meeting or the consent agenda will be rubber stamped

* Request a One Year Time Extension of Final Approval for Trappers Crossing Cluster Subdivision

The developer has made much progress with the build out. The question I have has to do with culinary water. The development was approved with culinary water being managed by Eden Water and the source coming from a well on the Bison Creek property. At final approval it was indicated that a condition of Final Approval would be the availability of wet water.

Where is the water coming from since the Bison Creek project has not moved forward and what progress has been made.

The extension should be granted as long as water can be provided

* Request a One Year Time Extension of Final Approval for Bison Creek Ranch Cluster Subdivision

This extension should be denied

* Does final approval run with the land?
* Ownership has changed - As documented in letter from Paul Laughton, developer of Trappers Crossing, dated September 13, 2008 the Bison Property has changed hands.
Therefore my question is does final approval for a development run with the land?

If not then the new owner should have to get re-approval for the development.

* Is foreclosure imminent?

There are signs on the fence surrounding the property indicating a trustee sale. At the trustee citizens were informed that it was cancelled as new terms with the bank(s) were being worked on and new date in early November would be established for the trustee sale if is needed.

Is the property going to be foreclosed on?

If so then the approval should be denied.

* The development was to house a regional sewer plant with a capacity of 700 or so residential hookups. Furthermore two subdivisions, Trappers Crossing and The Rivers, were to utilize the system and have approximately 85 connections.

These two development now have their own sewer system so 1/3 of the committed connections for the sewer plant are gone.

Is the sewer plant still a viable option that the new owners can justify?

* Wet water. Similar to the sewer.

Water system was to be built, managed by Eden water and it would provide to three subdivisions; Bison Creek, The Rivers and Trappers Crossing.

Is the development of the water system still viable and will the other two subdivisions utilize the system?

On the regular agenda the follow item is important

* Approval of Design Review DR #04-08 to Operate a Rock Crusher on a Temporary Basis with the Rivers Cluster Subdivision Located at approximately 7800 East Highway 39

Everyone should download the 'meeting packet' located here

I do not know how a temporary rock crusher use can be approved as 'design review' and not a conditional use.

I recommend denial of this agenda item

Reasoning for my denial request click here

A Neighbor of The Rivers Expresses concern

From a concerned neighbor of "The Rivers"

We received a notice in the mail today from the Weber County Planning Office stating that the Rivers Cluster Subdivision, located at 7800E Highway 39, is requesting approval of a rock crusher on site.

We live within 500 feet and we are very concerned about the noise (we already have a baby who has difficulty sleeping), and we have been trying to spread the word by going door to door.

Residents are invited to express their thoughts concerning this request at the Ogden Valley Township Planning meeting to be held on Tuesday, October 28th at 5:00 pm in the Commission Chambers (1st floor, Weber Center 2380 Washington Blvd. call 801-399-8791 for more info)

Also, I have just been made aware that the developers of The Rivers Cluster have joined forces with the developers building up behind The Jackson Fork Inn. Their plan is to pump the sewage from the Rivers up to their processing plant, then send the processed sewage back down to be dumped right here, next door to our little town. It makes me sick to even think about it!

Please send this information on to anyone you think may be interested, and if you know anything more about the sewage situation please share.

Thank you for keeping us updated on the forum!

At least two other very important agenda items are planned for the OVPC meeting and we will post our always unbiased review of those items soon. Stay tuned, contact the planning commissioners and attend the meeting.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Important Ogden Valley Planning Commission Meeting Tuesday - Be There!

Rampant, wide spread development of Ogden Valley has seemingly slowed with the slowing economy, but some persistent developers are returning to the Ogden Valley planning commission this Tuesday for more handouts in the form of extensions and rock crushers.

Be sure to attend as the agenda has a full line up:

Weber County Commission Chambers,

Weber Center (2380 Washington Blvd).

5:00 pm

Under "Consent Items," two important items are listed:

  • Request a One Year Time Extension of Final Approval for Trappers Crossing Cluster Subdivision
  • Request a One Year Time Extension of Final Approval for Bison Creek Ranch Cluster Subdivision

Hidden in the "Regular Items," we see:

  • Approval of Design Review DR #04-08 to Operate a Rock Crusher on a Temporary Basis with the Rivers Cluster Subdivision Located at approximately 7800 East Highway 39

Click here to view the agenda in its entirety

Also, be sure to contact the planning commissioners and let your feelings be known regarding the aforementioned agenda items. The VCRD web site is an excellent resource with contact info, public speaking and letter writing suggestions.

More will be posted on this topic prior to the Tuesday meeting, but be sure to download the Planning Commission Packet, become informed and get involved.

We will also include links to past Ogden Valley Forum articles:

Trapper's Crossing

The Rivers

Bison Creek Ranch

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

County Commission Candidates

Updates below

We were disappointed to read the endorsement of Commissioner Dearden in yesterday's Standard Examiner editorial. An Ogden Valley voice is noticeably lacking on the Commission and Lewis Johnson of Huntsville is our guy.

Lewis is well experienced as he has served on the Huntsville Town Council, the Huntsville Board of Adjustments and is currently President of the Huntsville water company. He holds a Master's degree and is a teacher at North Ogden Junior High. Prior to that, he taught at our own Snowcrest.

A couple of points:

  • Lewis states he would have voted against the Powder Mountain Incorporation

  • Lewis will request a 20% pay cut for Commissioners if elected

  • “My candidacy is about representation for everyone,” Lewis so eloquently states.

Not to let our humble readers down, we will include some of the latest press regarding the Weber County Commission Campaign.

Lewis Johnson For Weber County Commission Web Site

Standard Examiner Q & A of both candidates

Letter To the Editor in Support of Lewis from Huntsville resident Douglas Wilson

Standard Article entitled "Weber County Commission Candidates Debate Issues

The Commissioners are disconnected from their Ogden Valley constituents, and it is time we let them know it is time for some Valley representation.

Join us in supporting Lewis at the polls.

Update 10/21/08 @ 11 PM In the reddest state in the land, we know there are many who simply check the GOP box. Yours truly instead votes for the person, not the party. If you are having problems voting for someone from the dark side, we have even more interesting reading that may satiate your hunger for honesty, openness and integrity in government.

First, we have heard from a VERY reliable source that the County commission challenger is in fact a registered Republican.

Secondly, we have included an enlightening pamphlet written by Steve Olsen, candidate for Utah Senate District 20 entitled Why Most Utahn's Are Democrats, But Just Don't Know It Yet.

Election Day Nearing

Election day is rapidly approaching, but we all have the opportunity to vote early and avoid the lines.

Here are the Countywide Early Voting locations:

Weber County Library-Huntsville, 131 S 7400 E, Huntsville
North Ogden City Offices, 505 E 2600 N, North Ogden
Weber County Library-Roy, 1950 W 4800 S, Roy
The Weber Center, 2380 Washington Blvd, 1st Floor, Ogden
The Weber Ice Sheet, 4390 Harrison Blvd, Ogden
Marriott-Slaterville City Offices, 1570 W 400 N, Marriott-Slaterville

Early voting locations will be open at the following times:
Tuesday thru Friday, October 21-24, 2008 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, October 25, 2008 9:00 a.m. to 5:00p.m. Monday thru Friday, October 27-31, 2008 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Utah Home Values

The property tax payers in Utah should be asking some serious
questions of their County Tax Assessors office.

According to the latest NBC news report, home values across
the country have dropped 19% in the last year. Some areas such
as California, Nevada and Florida have dropped up to 34%.

The Weber County Assessors office would have you believe that Utah’s
home values are somehow immune from this nationwide drop in
value so they can continue to raise or not reduce your property taxes.
A person in Utah that now pays $3,000 a year in property taxes would realize a $570 drop in taxes if their property were assessed 19% below the previous year.

Some examples: Salt Lake City zip 84108 has had a reduction in home values of
18.39%, Holladay, zip 84117 has had a reduction in value of 14.63%.
These stats are from A Real Estate website in Salt Lake County.
It is reasonable to accept that the drop in values may not be exactly the same
in Weber County, but all we receive are tax increases from our Weber County
Assessor when the entire housing market is dropping in value.

The problem with the Assessors office is they do not readily share
the key information with the taxpayers on how they arrive at the
assessments. From what can be learned, they are inconsistent
and arbitrary and it is difficult to get an explanation when you
have questions.

The Weber County Assessor has to be responsible to some entity,
and it may be the 3 Weber County Commissioners. We should write
and call their offices to get some answers.

Your VCRD Staff

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Halloween Costume Party

Come Dine and Dance

American Legion Post 129 Huntsville

Saturday - October 25th

Dance to the music of - - "SHADES OF GREY" - band

Starts @ 8:00P.M. - $5.00 cover charge @ the door


Chili and all the fixings

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Residents Fear Powder Mountain (aka Powderville) Can't Pay For Itself

Don't miss the excellent Di Lewis article in this morning's Standard. The entire article is linked here, but we will pull out some mouthwatering quotes for your morning feast.

The article starts out with:

It’s always about the money. Finances are the largest problem facing the fledgling town of Powder Mountain, say a few residents who applied to be a part of the town government.


Bill Dowell said he believes the biggest challenge Powder Mountain must deal with is money for the construction and upkeep of town infrastructure. With fewer than 60 families in the town, Dowell said, the only sources of income for Powder Mountain are the resort and property taxes. However, with the resort’s income fluctuating based on the whims of Mother Nature, Dowell said he is worried the town will run up a large bill putting in the necessary roads, snow removal and fire and law enforcement, then unincorporate and leave residents saddled with the debt. Dowell said he volunteered for the council to protect civil rights of residents and make sure the resort’s wants are not the sole focus of the town.

Jim Halay, a fellow Powder Mountain resident and the owner of Eden’s Alpine Pizza, shares many of Dowell’s concerns. He said there’s little income for the town, a byproduct of the state law that allowed the resort to incorporate without an independent feasibility study to see whether the town could support itself. While he believes the council should work with the resort developers, Halay said he believes it will be hard to give developers everything they want. “I believe the town is destined to fail,” he said. Halay said the town will receive only a small road fee for plowing, with the other income from sales and property taxes, but there are few businesses in Powder Mountain and he cannot see a way to fund the town “without taxing ourselves to death.”

But there is more:

And for Blaine Belnap, it ultimately comes down to an issue of fairness.

Belnap, who said he is a good friend of Powder Mountain founder Alvin Cobabe, believes the incorporation of the resort as a town without input from residents was “a violation of being an American citizen.” Being on the council would be, for him, a way to look after the welfare of the town. He also strongly believes the town should not pay for a private enterprise or for the many expensive maintenance issues Powder Mountain will soon face.... He said keeping the town running will be a balancing act, but one he hopes people can work on together.

You may recall the Di Lewis article from early September in which Powderville cronies Lavar Lowther and Doc Cobabe had their say, and today's article is apparently the fair and balanced side of the Standard giving some of the Powderville Lost boys their say. By lost boys, we mean those valiant men and women on the County commission's list of potential council members, but excluded from the arrogant developers dream team.

While we were critical of her original article, we applaud Ms. Lewis' "Fair and Balanced" approach.

What say ye now, Ogden Valley-ites?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Powderville Residents File Lawsuit

We applaud the seven Powderville residents who recently filed a lawsuit against our own Weber County Commission and are asking the court to force the commissioners to set an election for the town government. To read the Standard story, click here.

There was also a brief story on KSL's Eyewitness News.

Things are starting to heat up now.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Representative Froerer's Proposed Bill On Property Tax Hearings

We just received an email from Representative Froerer and are happy to pass along his proposed bill on property tax hearings that will be discussed at the next Rev and Tax meeting on October 15th.

Representative Froerer has requested feedback, so read it over and let him know your thoughts.

Don't let the cat get your tongue!

Ogden Canyon Cleanup

From today's Standard Examiner, we are reminded of the Ogden Canyon Cleanup tomorrow. Thanks to Keith Rounkles for heading up this effort yet again. Here's the scoop:

OGDEN — The annual cleanup day in Ogden Canyon will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday as volunteers gather at the Alaskan Inn for assignments. Volunteers should dress warmly and wear gloves, as it may be cool in the morning, organizer Keith Rounkles said. “We’ve got everything else they’ll need to clean up the riverbed and roadway.”

Work should last only until noon, when workers will be picked up and delivered to The Oaks restaurant at the east end of the canyon for a cookout. Rounkles said this is at least the 12th year the cleanup has been scheduled.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bison Creek Property Sold?

It appears that the area approved for the Bison Creek development in
the Huntsville area has signs posted on the property to the effect that the land has been purchased from the original developer.

If anyone has additional information please post in the comments.

Your VCRD Staff

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Guest Post from State Rep. Gage Froerer on Property Tax Reform

As you know, I have been actively working as a member of the Revenue and Taxation Committee to come up with solutions to our property tax problem in the Valley and the State of Utah. The time is now for definite action if we want to make any changes in the existing tax system in the next legislative session. I would ask each of you to review the issue as presented below and get back to me before mid October with your ideas and suggestions.

The Problem As I View It!
Predictability is the foundation of a fair and soundly administered tax system. Most importantly, a predictable tax system ensures tax certainty for taxpayers. "Tax certainty" means that taxpayers can, year after year, consistently expect a predictable tax bill.

No one likes an unpleasant surprise when it comes to paying taxes. Taxpayers want to be certain as to what their tax liability will be and when the taxes are due. Tax certainty improves both taxpayer compliance and support for the tax system. Taxpayers lose confidence in the tax system, and view it as arbitrary and unfair, if it cannot provide a predictable and stable tax obligation.

Tax certainty is especially critical under the property tax. The property tax is the only tax where the government determines the tax to be paid and then sends a bill to collect the tax that is due -- months after the assessment. Unlike sales or income taxes where tax choices are largely in the hands of the taxpayer, a taxpayer's property tax liability is determined and controlled, in large measure, by the government.

Utah's current property tax system, based on fair market value (FMV), does not ensure tax certainty for taxpayers. Difficulties in accurately determining fair market value on a mass basis, volatile housing prices, shifting tax burdens, and tax rate increases, have led to dramatic increases in property taxes for many Utah taxpayers.

Improving Taxpayer Certainty for Property Taxpayers
Improving taxpayer certainty will help restore taxpayer confidence in the property tax system. Under my proposal, property taxpayers can be certain that their annual property tax liability will nearly always be within certain bounds.

Highlights of the plan include (click here to view):

Issues for Discussion and Comment

1. Should this plan apply to residential property only? (Owner occupied and/or rental?) Or all locally assessed property? (No change is contemplated for personal property or centrally-assessed property.)

2. Should this plan require a dynasty provision? How are property transfers between spouses treated? Between generations?

3. Should this plan allow a transferring of the "fixed basis" from one house to another? Within counties? Between
counties? How many times? Age limit?

4. How to handle drop-in housing prices? Drop below either base year level or acquisition value?

5. Is the "growth factor" set statewide or will it vary by region?

6. How to handle new construction on raw land when no sale occurs. How is the tax basis determined? Cost basis?

I look forward to your comments and suggestions and I can ensure you that by working together, we can make a difference in our County and State.

Comments should be sent to Gage Froerer prior to October 15th.

Gage Froerer
District 8 State House of Representatives.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One Idea on Property Tax Reform

Blogmeister Update: Be sure to view the Property Tax Reform Web Site that we have linked prominently in the right column under the ACTION ALERT.

Below is one suggestion for some property tax relief for Utah citizens. There are many other possible approaches, but the citizens of Utah need to get their constructive views to their elected representatives.

We feel the place to make changes is in the movement of education funding from property taxes (50-60% of the bills) to consumer (sales) taxes. This would result in an immediate reduction in property taxes for almost everyone, and would spread the education tax load more equitably to all consumers across the state. The legislature could enact a trigger property tax supplement if sales revenues were not high enough in an off sales year. We think the public reaction would be favorable with the exception of the education people (UEA), but so many retired and low income Utah residents may be unable to pay the looming property tax bills if something definitive is not passed this year.

It is difficult to fathom the opposition of the UEA in Utah to almost any property tax reform. This approach would not have to change the amount the educational system receives, it would just change the source. Two states, Michigan and Georgia, have passed similar legislation.

Failure to act positively by our state legislature may force the Utah voters to take matters into their own hands with a statewide tax initiative similar to Proposition 13 in California in the 1970s.

Let your voices be heard! Write to the tax Committee chairmen listed in the earlier post and write to our State Senator and State Representative as well!

Larry and Sharon Zini

vote against incumbents...they have earned our disdain said...

This comment promoted to the front page

vote against incumbents...they have earned our disdain said...

Truthfully, if anyone (other than direct relatives) vote for incumbents at the County level... (Dearden is up for re-election this year), or the State Legislative level (Representative Gage Froerer is up for reelection), they deserve to continue to pay and pay and pay more and more property taxes and fees.

If you vote to keep Commissioner Dearden and Representative Froerer in office, I would suggest you are simply uninformed ...or ignorant. When Bishoff and Zogmaster and Assessor Cheryl Madson come up for reelection, we need to also remember them too. Senator Christenson has done nothing in office but attend boon doggles and accept bribes disguished as hunting trips, etc.

We all need to remember last year, and previous years they have been in office. The legislation they have passed, like the developer's dream bill, HB 466 (Powderville enabling), and many other realtor/developer friendly legislation and decisions are arrogant and blatantly offensive to decent people and rightful thinking citizens.

Representative Froerer sponsored a bill to make it legal for developers to by-pass local Planning Commissions and to go directly to County Commissions, for example. And there is more...much more, from a rabid "lapdog" of the Utah Realtor's Association...Gage Froerer. He said and did nothing while Ogden Valley property taxes continue to shoot through the roof. He said nothing while the illegal and outrageous HB 466 passed without a single vote, nor question, raised against its authors...The Utah Realtor Association. Previous to 2006 when he was "elected", Froerer served as the President of this nefarious organization.

Why would anyone want another Realtor/Developer representing our District (Ogden Valley or Ogden)? Oh...I also forgot...there ARE more than 10,000 members of the Utah Realtor's Association. They of course will virtually all be voting for more of the same graft and corruption within the Utah State Legislature. Their "dues" (amounting to more than $10,000,000
a year, are funneled into PACs (Political Action Committees), often disguised such as "The Citizens for Personal Property Rights" ironically, which are used to pay off about 60% of the Utah State legislators. This outright bribery is further disguised as "Campaign Contributions or Donations", all legal in Utah, since these bottom feeding, unethical and immoral slime control the laws.

The ONLY way out of this Utah Realtor/Developer scheme is to vote all of them out of office at every level of government.

Sat Sep 20, 05:34:00 PM 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You and your Property Taxes

We recommend that you go to this web site:


What is the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee? The Utah State Legislature knows of the propery tax problem and had the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee formed in the 2007 legislative session to look into this problem. Senator Wayne Niederhauser and Representative John Dougall Co chair this committee.

Senator Niederhauser and other members of the committee need to hear from you tax payers and how you feel about this issue. They will be making their recomendations soon; so you need to email your district senators, representatives and these committee members as soon as possible. The committee has this summer to hopefully come up with some good recomendations. Contact your repesentatives by sending an email letting them know your thoughts on the future of our property tax system.

For Ogden Valley residents and others in Weber County, contact:

State Senator Allan Christensen (
Gage Froerer State Representative (

To Contact the Revenue and Taxation Committee leaders:

Wayne Niederhauser (
John Dougall (

Remember, Speak up for what you want, or take what you get!

Your VCRD Staff

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Weber County responds to Powder Mountain Legal action

From Today's Standard Examiner: D. Lewis Reporter

OGDEN — Granting developers the right to create a town without input and then select town government without oversight is “tantamount to monarchy.”
At least that’s what the Weber County Attorney’s Office says.
In a response filed Tuesday to Aug. 26 litigation from Powder Mountain developers, the Weber County Commission acknowledges it was required by law to appoint a mayor and town council for Powder Mountain after the resort incorporated as a town on Aug. 5.
The argument now, however, is who gets to choose names on the list from which the appointments will be made.
Commissioners argue the law requires them to appoint “from a list of qualified individuals approved by the petition sponsors,” not from “the list” submitted by the town’s founders.
Tuesday’s response is the latest in the clash over Powder Mountain. The resort incorporated under a 2007 state law that allowed Powder Mountain to become a town without input from the county or residents of the affected area.
The commission approved incorporation, but refused to approve the developers’ list of six people submitted for town government.
The commissioners then worked with developers to create a larger list of 19 names, but once again declined to approve the list on Aug. 19 after they were presented with a shorter 11-person list.
While the commission states it was ready and willing to approve the town government, it felt the developers’ lists did not give commissioners room to exercise their duties to represent the people who would be part of the new town.
The petitioners — developers Mark Arnold, Edward Bates and Lee Daniels — contend the commission is required to appoint from whatever list they submit as long as the applicants are qualified, legally defined as registered voters having lived in the area making up the town for a year or more.
In response, the commission asserts this stance violates the Utah Constitution by delegating authority to control municipal functions to a private group.
Article VI Section 28 of the Constitution states, “The Legislature shall not delegate to any special commission, private corporation or association any power to … perform any municipal functions.”
The response also argues the selection of the town government is critical to the success and well-being of the town, especially because it was formed without outside input.
The response adds that, if the Legislature had intended for the commission to approve any qualified list from the petitioners, the law would have been worded differently.
The commissioners said they are supposed to protect the health, safety and welfare of county residents and attempted to do so by seeking input from both residents and the petition sponsors of Powder Mountain.
However, they feel they cannot fulfill their duties if forced to approve only the developers’ list.
Mellissa Cameron, spokeswoman for the developers, said Tuesday evening their attorneys had not yet seen the county’s response and she could not comment on it.

UPDATE: Be sure to read Rudi's post on the Weber County Forum regarding the County's response.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Property Tax Appeal Deadline Monday

We are short on time, but wanted to highlight a Standard Examiner article reminding us of the Monday deadline for appealing your property taxes.

From the Di Lewis article we read:

The appeals received so far have not been concentrated in any one area, and (Roger) Brunker (Chief Deputy of the Weber County Auditors office) said he has not seen anything like the mass appeals from Huntsville residents last year.

Larry Zini, who lives in Ogden Valley near Huntsville, said taxes are “going up at a startling rate. ... It’s crazy.”

His wife, Sharon Zini, filed an appeal last year after the estimated value of their land nearly doubled. This year, Larry Zini said, the amount he is paying in taxes went up by 27 percent, on top of the 22 percent increase he paid last year.

However, Huntsville town Councilman Richard Sorensen said he does not think the property values rose as drastically this year in Huntsville.

He said there is not “the uproar there was last year” over increased assessment values.

“Last year one of the properties in town went up 800 percent. I think it (the value of properties) went up so much last year we got the ear of the assessor’s office,” he said, adding his own taxes went down $400 from last year.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

We want to hear from you, Ogden Valley. What happened with your taxes this year?

Did you have a significant increase, decrease or did they stay the same as last years outrageous bump.

Are you willing to fight for alternative taxation during the upcoming legislative session?

Click on the comments link below and let us know.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

An Update on the Horse Theft - The Old West Lives Again!

From a page right out of the Old West, we didn't think it could get any crazier until we received an email this morning inquiring about the outcome of the missing horse saga.

We originally ran the story on August 30, 2008 at the request of several individuals close to the abduction. This site was updated a few times during the "golden hours," and the horse owner even posted an update on September 2, 2008.

We would like to think our site was helpful in the early hours to spread the word, and we posted every update that was made available in a timely manner. As a point of clarification, the Ogden Valley Forum is an "open" forum and anyone close to the case (or not so close) could have posted an update via the comments link.

A week passed, and we received this email this morning:

Was their any kind of resolution with the horse theft situation? You have not updated the site or blog as to if the horses were safely returned home. It seems in a small town like ours, out of common courtesy, as well as for our eyes that are still trying to look out for them, that there would be some kind of update.

"Out of common courtesy," we did some investigating and were surprised by what we found.

First, we found some photos that were posted at various locales Valley wide. The photos depict the alleged "Rig" and stolen horses.
See if you recognize either the rig or the yard in the background.

Click on the photo to enlarge.

In the mean time, we contacted some sources close to the investigation and received this consensus:

"They have been found and are ok. The police are in the process of their investigation so we can't say too much right now other than the horses are doing well."

We think there will be an interesting story behind the horse burglary. A KSL News Story on September 4, 2008 reported that "the Weber County Sheriff's Department tells us this may be a case of someone taking the property because they feel the pony owners owe them."

Did the owner of the white SUV take the law into his own hands?

Is there more to this crazy story?

Stay tuned - It just cannot get any better than this!

Or could it?

Don't Forget - Stephen Trimble Book signing Tonight at Ogden Valley Library

We mentioned this last week, but be sure to visit the Ogden Valley Library at 7 PM on September 10, 2008 to meet Stephen Trimble, Author of "Bargaining For Eden."

UPDATE @ 10 am

Be sure to Read Mr. Trimble's comments by clicking the "Comments" link below.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Weber County Commission and Ogden Valley Planning Commission To Update General Plan

UPDATE: The location has been changed from the Chambers to a conference room.

A Sunday Standard Examiner article informed us of a joint work session between the Planning commission and the County Commissioners to review and update the Ogden Valley General plan.

Here are the details:

September 8, 2008 (Tonight)

5:00 PM

Weber County Commission Conference Room Suite 360

2380 Washington Blvd
Ogden, UT

From the article:

Seven key policy issues will be the main topics of discussion, including recreation development scenarios, population goals, land preservation, real estate transfer taxes and water and sewer systems.

(Rob) Scott (Weber County Planner) said the plan needs to be re-evaluated because of changes to Ogden Valley since the plan was originally created, such as the Olympics, Powder Mountain and other development activity.

However, he said, the fresh look at the general plan is not a reaction to the recent controversy surrounding the incorporation of Powder Mountain as a town.

It should be an interesting meeting - see you there!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Huntsville Resident and Vietnam Veteran, Gene Wahlstrom, Passes

The local and national media has focused on one of our fallen valley heroes, Mr. Gene Wahlstrom of Huntsville, and we want to add our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the Wahlstrom family.

In arguably one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, Gene survived twenty plus years of low level/high altitude/heavy weight, precision aviating. Ironically, his life was tragically cut short by a malfunction of the aircraft. Gene was a fantastic pilot and mentor to all.

Gene and his wife Joyce were avid Harley riders, and we ran across a forum of the Patriot Guard Riders that has some very touching tributes to Gene.

We will miss you Gene. Rest in Peace.

Ogden Valley Forum Exclusive - The Powder Mountain Press Release

We secured a copy of the original Press Release from the poor, picked on Powderville petitioners, and it should generate some interesting critiques from our readers. It is relatively short, so we will post it in its entirety below (emphasis added):

Press Statement

We, the petitioners for incorporation of the Town of Powder Mountain, filed an action against Weber County in the Second District Court on August 26, 2008. We do not take this course of action lightly; in the past, we have actually been extremely slow to publicly defend our position in order to facilitate good faith negotiations. However, based upon the Weber County Commission’s actions on August 19, refusing to appoint a Town Council and Mayor, we unfortunately feel we must exercise our legal rights.

The Weber County Commission approved the Incorporation Petition on August 5, and according to the law, upon approving the incorporation petition, it is the Commission’s mandatory obligation to appoint the Town Council and Mayor from a list approved by the petitioners. We presented a list of qualified individuals to the County for the Council and Mayor. These individuals support the town and are excited to serve and represent their neighbors. We have spent countless hours getting to know the citizens who will be residents of this new Town. Every submitted person was recommended to us by a fellow Town member. By refusing to make these appointments, the Commission has demonstrated they are unwilling to facilitate the incorporation of the Town as required by law. We have become caught in an effort by the commission to protect themselves politically, so we have determined that requesting relief from the court is our only option.

We care deeply about the land under our stewardship and about the prospects of the new Town encompassing that land. We have consistently been willing to talk to all stakeholders regarding the desires of neighbors, Ogden Valley and the County. Following the petition submittal, we held dozens of town meetings, as well as small group and one-on-one home meetings. We literally called every household in the town, multiple times, offering to meet with everyone and answer their questions. Then in February, when Commissioner Craig Dearden asked us to return to the bargaining table to work on an agreement to keep the development in the County and dissolve the incorporation petition, we chose in good faith to try to work things out again, something no other incorporating town has been willing to do. We had extensive talks and spent nearly seven months and several hundred thousand dollars in staff, drafting and professional time. These discussions consistently led to unfulfilled promises and the creation of a constantly moving target by the Commission.

We have never asked for nor do we desire any special favors, just a fair and impartial panel that holds the fate of this land in their hands. We want what every single property owner in this state desires and vigorously defends, our private property rights respected. In return we have been and will continue to be good neighbors and good community and government partners. If we were not so committed to this area, and to honoring all that this resort can and should be, we would have given up long ago. It is our sincere hope to quickly move past this phase and get to the business of being a Town.

End of Press Release

Now isn't that a touching piece? It almost brings a tear to the eye of even the most calloused and insensitive.

Surely many of the items mentioned could be refuted, but we would like to hear from the Powderville Hostages - Have the Powdervillians been "good neighbors and good community and government partners?"

Dozens of Town Meetings? If I am not mistaken, "dozens" means 24 or more. Did they in fact hold 24 or more town meetings? Or maybe they are considering private meetings amongst the petitioners to be "town meetings." After all, it is a company town.

Take it away, Ogden Valley. Do you notice any credibility problems?

Powder Mountain Town Issue Heading To Court

We are short on time this morning, so we will link you to the Weber County Forum where Rudi has provided us with an excellent run down of the most recent events.

It is no surprise that the arrogant Powdervillian's have once again continued with their strong arm tactics to get their boys (and girls) on the town council.

Renowned Utah Author to Speak At Ogden Valley Library

On September 10th at 7 PM at the Ogden Valley Library in
Huntsville, Stephen Trimble will present his new book, “
Bargaining for Eden: The Fight for the Last Open Spaces
In America.”

The book takes a hard look at the values that shape
developers and land use policy. It also explores the tension
between community and development in the West.

A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Powder Mountain article-Counter Point!

If you read the article today on Powder Mountain in the Standard Examiner, you will find how a supposedly non biased article can be slanted to fit any view desired by excluding other points of view.

Let’s dissect this article with known facts and see how it stands up for unbiased reporting:

1. Mr. Lowther sounds like he is the only homeowner that is not wealthy that will be affected by this forced incorporation.

FACT: Mr. Lowther is in the minority number of affected homeowners that favor the forced incorporation, a majority oppose it.

2. Mr. Lowther said “I think the best way is to have the local people control what’s going on rather than people that don’t live in the Valley and have no real concern for what’s going on up here.”

FACT: NONE of the Petition Sponsors for the Powder Mountain incorporation live in Ogden Valley.

3. Jamie Lythgoe said she is uniquely qualified for the position after working with the OV planning commission. Lythgoe also said she does not foresee any problems with a conflict of interest. She said “I don’t think anyone has a hidden agenda.”

FACT: The Planning Commission Procedures regarding Conflict of Interest Part A, reads: “A Planning Commissioner to whom some private
benefits may come as the result of a Planning Commission action should not be a participant in the action.” It also states, “The private benefit may
be direct or indirect, create a material, personal gain or provide a distinct advantage to RELATIONS or to friends or to groups and associations which hold some share of a person’s loyalty.”

FACT: Does Lythgoe mean like working (as she did) on the OVPC and at the same time the Town Incorporation plans behind the scenes? A conflict is already fact in our opinion and where is the concern for the public trust anywhere to be found?

In October of 2007 Planning Commission Chairman Louis Cooper and Assistant County Attorney Chris Allred were quoted in the Standard-Examiner
that they were both under the impression that the Cobabe family had sold
all of their interests at Powder Mountain. In addition, Monette Hurtado
was quoted as saying, “ As to the specific ownership, I don’t know the details.
” Ms. Hurtado also said “She did disclose that her family sold all their land.”

More Facts: The Cobabe family still owns over 200 acres up in the Powder Mountain area, yet the leaders of this County refuse to address any conflict of interest.

5. The Standard Examiner reporter today wrote “Having three people from the same family's appointees has been a concern for opponents of the town”

FACT: It is the Weber County Commissioners that have opposed the family weighted list submitted by Powder Mountain in the two Commission meetings. The eloquence of Commissioner Jan Zogmaister was apparent when she stated they “could have a family reunion and have a quorum”.

One has to wonder why today’s Standard Examiner Article omitted the fact that the Powder Mountain representatives failed to answer the Weber County Commissioner’s questions on why Powder Mountain did not include any names of individuals interviewed by the Commission and a Powder Mountain representative for town council other than signers of the petition, Cobabe family members, employees or potential employees of Powder Mountain.

6. Mr. Lowther said “ he does see many potential benefits from the development, though, such as lower taxes and acquiring green space to compensate for development.”

FACT: When was the last time anyone around a big development saw their property taxes go down? The property taxes have jumped across the Ogden Valley due to all the new development in the past 4 or 5 years. Consider what will happen if Powder Mountain puts in their so called “World Class” resort next to our Valley? Your property value may go up, but that may only help if you want to sell. If you stay put, you are probably going to share in the dubious “glory” of substantial increases in property taxes in the future.

Larry and Sharon Zini

The Standard Takes Two Steps Forward and Twenty Steps Back and An Update on the Horse Theft

Just when the local rag, aka The Standard Examiner, had made such strides on the Powderville saga, we read this morning's piece of literary trash entitled "Proposed To Lead Powder Mountain Town."

One of our humble Powderville residents offered this heads up by email:

Has everyone seen the front page of the Standard Examiner today? There is a completely pro-Powder Mountain article. It seems as if it was written by the Exoro group themselves (PM's PR firm.) John (name changed to protect the innocent) is so angry he called up and cancelled our subscription to the paper. He says we should post a call for everyone to cancel their SE subscriptions for siding with the blatant violation of our rights. We are the ones getting screwed, not PM.

We agree with our humble reader. After the Standard Editorial board had made such great strides with two fabulous editorials, they allow staff writer Di Lewis to publish this. We guess they are taking a page out of Fox News' 'fair and balanced' book?

There are some humorous quotes that must be highlighted.

“I live right on Powder Mountain Road. I’m going to be one of the ones most affected by traffic and development, and I want to be in control of that,” said Lavar Lowther, a town council nominee. “I think the development is going to go ahead whether it’s through a town or a county, and I think the best way is to have the local people control what’s going on rather than people that don’t live in the valley and have no real concern for what’s going on up here.”

Local people who are in Powderville's hip pocket? Or members of one family? Can you say nepotism?

Jamie Lythgoe, another potential council member, believes her experience and background with Powder Mountain would be an asset to the town, although it has also raised questions about a conflict of interest.

Much of the controversy surrounding Lythgoe stems from her family ties to Powder Mountain and her former position on the Ogden Valley Planning Commission.

She does not foresee any problems with a conflict of interest. “I don’t think anyone has a hidden agenda.”

Hasn't her agenda already been executed? She got on the Planning commission during the rezone petition and as that avenue played out, she acted as a mole for the Powdervillians through their rezone petition. AGENDA COMPLETE!

[Alvin] Cobabe, the proposed mayor, said he wants to do what is best for the community, and the Powder Mountain resort has provided a good place for recreation. He said the resort cannot survive on only ticket sales, especially if old ski lifts are to be replaced. “I’ve liked Powder Mountain. I still like it. I like the community,” he said. “And as far as I’m concerned, I’d do what’s fair and best for all concerned. That’s the only reason I’d take the job.”

If he likes the community, why be a part of an unconstitutional process and taking of his neighbor's rights?

Although some are afraid the council will ignore viewpoints that do not support development, Lowther said he would listen to everyone. “I do have concerns about what’s going on up there,” he said. “It’s not like I’m 100 percent in their pocket. I think I can look very objectively at the issues and take into consideration the feelings of the people that are not for, or are ambivalent about, the development.”

If you are not 100 percent in their pocket, just how much are you in their pocket, Mr. Lowther?

Season tickets are now on sale and we say put your money where your mouth is. Snow Basin and Wolf Mountain both have easy access and would love to sell your family a season pass.

Regarding the Horse theft last week, be sure to read the update from Lori. If you are unable to open the link, simply scroll down to the Horse Theft post and click on the Click to Comment link.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Horse Theft in Ogden Valley Friday - Watch for White Ford Excursion

Updates below:

While we are awaiting more details, we are posting a heads up to Ogden Valleyites to keep your eyes peeled for any suspicious activity such as someone with new horses. Sadly, we received this email this morning:

There were 2 horses stolen today (Friday, August 29, 2008) around 9:00 A.M. from Lori Lewis & Mike Twitchell's home on River Dr. in Eden. The horses are a pony size sorrel gelding and a small buckskin mare. They also took all of the riding gear for these horses. An eye witness saw a 2006 or so white Ford Excursion pulling a blue 2 horse trailer at Lori & Mikes home loading the horses and pulling away.

If anyone remembers seeing this rig today or has seen these horses please call the Weber County Sheriff or Mike and Lori @ 330-4607.

From another message we received:

They believe it was done by someone in the valley and hope that the horses might still be in the valley. Although the CSI team was up and did fingerprints and they are investigating, the fact is that the horses could be transported somewhere very quickly.

Please contact the Weber County Sheriff''s department immediately with any information.

Blogmeister Update - 8/31/08 @ 12:15 am

We just received the following via email:

Just so you know the Weber County Sheriff "does" know who's Ford it was and who's trailer it was. They are investigating where the horses are. I talked to them personally because it was my trailer that was borrowed. Just so you don't get everyone in an uproar the Sheriff has it under control.

Blogmeister Update - 8/30/2008 @ 1:30 PM

We just received a more detailed description:

Stolen Horses!! From North River Drive, Eden, Utah!!

17 year old 13 hand sorrel gelding, white hind sock, split right ear, and a white stripe down his face.
Seven year old buckskin mare, long mane and forelock.

Witnesses observed a white Ford Excursion pulling a blue straight load horse trailer from the home on Friday morning at approximately nine or nine-thirty. The horses may still be in Ogden Valley or may have been transported via this trailer down the canyon at some point during the day on Friday.

Please call Weber County Sheriff if you have information or Adriane at 1-801-726-9442

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Senator Bramble Goes Off On Pizza Delivery Girl

As luck would have it, after posting the Standard Masterpiece this morning in which the Editors hinted (or strongly suggested) that we should get rid of our State Legislators, we caught this story on the late news.

The ever pompous Senate Majority leader, Curtis Bramble, showed his true colors a few nights ago by going off on an innocent pizza delivery girl who informed him she could not take a check. After the tirade, the young lady made a valiant stand by blowing the whistle on this jerk and the timing could not have been better in light of the upcoming elections. She tells the story on her once quiet blog entitled "Cartoon Brick Wall," and we think the blog title may be appropriate as Bramble's reelection campaign probably hit her brick wall.

Check out the blog and comments here, as her site is heating up the blogosphere!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Standard Examiner Steps up Again

The editorial in today's Standard Examiner is right on point once again
regarding the Powder Mountain issue with Weber County. We appreciate the
unbiased assessment provided by the editorial staff.

No one knows where this saga will go next, but the citizens of Weber
County and Ogden Valley can take heart at the fortitude recently
displayed by the Weber County Commissioners and the Standard Examiner.

Larry and Sharon Zini
Ogden Valley

Blogmeister Update 8/22/08 @ 9:28 am

This is a classic Editorial and we would be remiss not to include some of its passages for all to view front and center. Of course, just click on the link above embedded within the original post to read this masterpiece in its entirety. Here are some classic quotes chosen at random:

  • The utter freakishness of the town-incorporation law passed by the Legislature in 2007 continues to defy common sense in Weber County.

  • Their [Commissioners] reasoning: Maybe it’s possible to put a shine on this lump of ... coal.

  • ...only one Top of Utah incumbent legislator, Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, did not vote for House Bill 466 — she wasn’t present when the vote was taken. Every other member of the House and Senate in the Top of Utah voted in favor of this bill.

  • ...HB 466 was such a grotesque piece of legislation, it allowed significant manipulation by petitioners/developers

  • Commissioner Jan Zogmaister’s sarcasm was apropos when she remarked that if those people [Powder Mountains list for Mayor and Council] were appointed, a family reunion could constitute a quorum of city government.

  • This process is a joke. The developers are taking advantage of the oneyear gift provided by a developers’- lapdog Legislature.

And the best saved for last, with our emphasis added:

  • What we’d like to know about the whole affair is this: Did all the lawmakers who voted in favor of this bill get something in return from the developer lobby? Or did they vote in favor of it because they were too incompetent to understand what they were doing? Either way, are these the people voters want representing them at the Capitol?

We at the forum have said it before, but if someone in the private sector had created a mistake such as the Legislature did for us, they would be kicking sand all the way to the unemployment line.

The November elections are rapidly approaching, and we say throw the bums out!

UPDATE @ 10:05 am

Our old friend Rudi has been busy this morning. Don't miss his take where he states, "Std-Ed editorial board launches a no-holds-barred editorial barrage..."

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Like all of our Ogden Valley friends, we salute Commissioners Dearden, Zogmaister, and Bischoff for their courageous decision to refuse to appoint a Town Council not representative of the citizens of the potential town. It’s nice to see our elected officials truly represent us!

Those of us who live in “Powderville” care about our neighborhood and all of our neighbors. We care about what the actions of the past few months could do to destroy our sense of community. To that effect, we request that a distinction be made between the petitioners and the petition sponsors.

The petitioners are the 22 individuals who signed the incorporation petition, including 8 who live in the neighborhood. Motivations of these individuals have been speculated upon ad infinitum, and none of us will ever know exactly what was going through their minds. Had the neighbors not signed the petition, it would still have been a “qualified petition”. Since the petition has now been approved by the Weber County Commission, the petitioners are no longer players in the story, except as potential mayor/council members and citizens with rights to have and express their opinions.

The petition sponsors are 3 individuals: Mark E. Arnold of Layton, Lee A. Daniels of Park City, and Edward F. Bates of Salt Lake City. None of the 3 is a resident of the “town” or a registered voter in Weber County. Kimball Wheatley’s excellent post reveals how much they pay in Weber County property taxes. The commission has refused to appoint from the very limited list(s) provided by the non-local petitions sponsors, and it is the petition sponsors and their hired guns who have publicly challenged the commissioners’ actions.

In our efforts to protect citizens’ rights to be meaningfully involved in the process, we should exercise extreme caution to respect the rights of those who disagree with us. We in the neighbourhood would appreciate it if negative comments be directed at the petition sponsors and not at our neighbors.

Thank you again for your continuing involvement and support.

A Guest Post by
Darla Van Zeben

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The PERPS of Powderville Act III

Guest Post by Kimbal Wheatley

In Act I (January), the investors who bought Powder Mountain Resort decided to create a town and force some of our neighbors in Eden to be part of it. Because the town would have a puppet government explicitly designed to bypass the laws, rules and regulations all of the rest of us have agreed to live by, the good people of Ogden Valley refer to it as Powderville, a “company town” where conflict-of-interest is the norm, robber barons are in charge and the residents are unimportant . It is hard to find a printable name for the people perpetrating this hard-to-believe scenario, so I have come to simply call them the PERPS, although lately I have seen a name I may like better…Powdervillans…kind of rolls off the tongue.

This all started when the PERPS bought a resort zoned for a reasonable 1180 housing units and proposed 2500 instead. When the Planning Commission balked for health, safety and welfare reasons, the PERPS moved to form the town of Powderville to bypass Weber County planning and zoning processes and ordinances. But they could only execute their scheme by trampling on the voting rights of Powderville town citizens which, as you can imagine, caused a bit of an uproar…enough that Powderville residents are threatening disruptive action and the Utah legislature immediately reversed the flawed law that allowed it to happen.

In Act II (July), the County Commissioners asked the PERPS to delay forming the town and instead to work with them to reach some sort of compromise they were sure could be mutually beneficial. The PERP idea of compromise was to present an absurdly one-side Development Agreement the Commissioners simply couldn’t stomach. It might have been some of the whereas clauses extolling the virtues of the PERPS and their development plans…or maybe it was the part about exempting them from all county development and building rules…or maybe it was the bit about raising property taxes to finance the infrastructure instead of using their own money. Whatever, the commissioners did the right thing, saying “no, go ahead and form your town.”

By the way, the idea of raising property taxes to finance the extensive road and utilities structure for the town is particularly interesting since the PERPS don’t pay much property taxes on their 7200 acres ski resort…not even as much as just one house in the town. I diverge…

Back to the story – Act III (August) is where the commissioners select [click here to continue]

Weber County Commission refuses to act on Powder Mountain list! -- Ogden Valley Exclusive - audio of today's meeting.


In what must have been a stunning move to Powder Mountain, the Weber County Commission refused to act today on the Powder Mountain petition to name the Powderville town council and mayor.

To say that the Weber County Commissioners were a little put out by the revised list of names submitted by Powder Mountain would be putting it mildly.

Powder Mountain refused to include any names other than their original selection plus 3 spouses and two new individuals on the town council list presented to the Commissioners. Interviews of numerous other qualified residents were jointly conducted by the Commissioners and a representative from Powder Mountain. The two new individuals' names were not previously submitted to the commissioners nor were they interviewed. A good question is why don't all of Powder Mountain's selected candidates for the town council have to go through the same interview process as other candidates?

Commissioner Bischoff said he was "Offended" by the new PM list after all their discussions and interviews. Commissioner Zogmaister said that the petitioners could have a "family reunion and probably have a quorum" if they used the list submitted by Powder Mountain. Commissioner Dearden said that every attempt was made to work with Powder Mountain to help make the list more representative of the town's people, yet Powder Mountain came back with the same list that also added three husband and wife pairs.

The Weber County Commissioners repeatedly asked the Powder Mountain representatives what criteria was used by Powder Mountain to exclude all other qualified candidates from consideration and the three Muses (see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil) had no logical response. Their refusal to explain the Powder Mountain reasoning seemed to increase the frustration of the Weber County Commissioners.

Commissioner Bischoff stated "It may be time for a Judge to decide the issue". The three Weber County Commissioners decided not to act on the Town Council petition but told the Powder Mountain representative that they would be willing to meet with Powder Mountain to discuss the list and all the qualified candidates.

We think the Weber County Commissioners deserve our thanks for standing up to Powder Mountain on this town council issue.

In other business, the Weber County Commission appointed Gary Alllen to replace the resigned Jamie Lythgoe on the Ogden Valley Planning Commission. Gary has served on the OVPC during the previous several years.

Go to the VCRD Website for a complete list of OVPC members and contact numbers.

Blogmeister update: In an Ogden Valley Forum Tuesday night exclusive, we offer a recording of this morning's landmark decision of the County Commission to take no action at all. We applaud them for taking the stand. The recording is not perfect and subject to some background noise, as we could not fit our Denon Audio system inside the chamber, but you can certainly crank up the volume and hear it unfold. We have included only the Powder Mountain agenda item, which took the last 25 minutes of the meeting. Hearing Powderville's project manager, Brooke Hontz, tap dance is well worth your time as she was definitely out of her league this morning. The commissioner's questions get interesting at the 11 minute mark if you wish to fast forward.

In a second audio clip, Eden Resident and GEM Committee Chairman Steve Clarke asks a poignant question of our Commission and legal staff. (6 minutes)

Lastly, be sure to read Kristen Moulton's Tribune article, and as always, check out the discussion on Rudi's award winning Weber County Forum.

What say ye Ogden Valley citizen's?

Commission Meeting Reminder

Just a brief Tuesday morning reminder of the Weber County Commission meeting this morning:

10:00 am

Weber County Commission Chambers

2380 Washington Blvd

Ogden, UT

The agenda was finally available Monday on the County web site, even though it is dated August 14, 2008 and the county site states that it will be posted by the Friday prior to a meeting. We think it is a fairly important meeting that should be posted more than the minimal 24 hour state required public meeting notice, especially since it appears to have been available last Thursday. Time and time again, important agendas are not available for public viewing and we all should demand answers from our County Leaders.

Our tantrum aside, two important Ogden Valley issues stand out on the tardy agenda (we will paraphrase for brevity):
  1. ...appointing a member to the Ogden Valley Planning Commission.
  2. ...appointing a Mayor and Town Council for the town of Powder Mountain.

Now two mysteries abound - which planning commissioner is being replaced mid term? Certainly it would not be 'no conflict' Jamie?

And who will lead our company town - the town we call Powderville.

Be the first to find out and see you in the chamber!