A story in the Top of Utah section of the Standard Examiner by Marshall Thompson:
EDEN — As the Powder Mountain developers’ petition to form a chunk of the Ogden Valley into a town moves forward, future residents are taking matters into their own hands.
A group of 40 voting-age residents met Friday to elect their own ad hoc council. Darla Van Zeben, Deja Mitchell, Jim Halay, Ryan Bushell, Layne Sheridan and Norman Belnap are the six people who will unofficially represent “Powderville,” which is a nickname for the residential neighborhoods that were drawn into Powder Mountain Town without a vote.
“We agreed to work together on tactics and plans and report back to our residents,” Halay said. “We elected a group to speak for us.”
Under a controversial law, which the Utah Legislature amended last week, Powder Mountain owners can incorporate a town and then effectively choose the members of the first town council. According to the old law, which still applies to Powder Mountain, the Weber County Commission will appoint the mayor and town council from a list of qualified applicants submitted by the developers.
Lisa Davis, a spokeswoman for Powder Mountain, said the developers have yet to finalize their list of potential council members. She said that even though the law does not require it, the owners have talked with most of the residents to gather potential names for the positions. But Halay said he wants to vote on his representatives, and any law that does not allow him to do that is fundamentally unconstitutional. “We cannot allow a corporation to come in and take away our rights,” he said. The Powderville Six will first attempt to work out a compromise with the Powder Mountain owners that would allow residents to vote, Halay said. “I love Powder Mountain. It’s the only place I ski,” he said. “So, we’re looking for a way to come to terms.” Davis said she could not comment on the possibility of any compromise that would secure voting rights for the residents until she has more details. She added that the owners were not concerned about the possible disenfranchisement or about the possibility the law might be unconstitutional. “They’ve been really proactive under the law that exists, and I don’t think they’ve even thought about that,” she said. If the Powderville Six cannot reach a compromise with Powder Mountain owners, Halay said, they may have to seek legal aid. The Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has received two complaints about the law, said Marina Lowe, a staff attorney for the ACLU. It has not come up with a position yet, but will be looking into it, she said. In the meantime, the Powderville Six are making plans and hoping that future Powder Mountain residents will have a vote in their new town.
UPDATE: 10 am
There were a couple of letters to the editor over the weekend from valley residents regarding Powderville.
Bruce Magill of Nordic Valley is "amazed at the Standard Examiner's finding and interviewing an Ogden Valley resident who thinks the actions are OK."
Cynthia Maher of Eden speaks of all the "greedy people" in her gentle rant.
And in saving the best for last, our good friend Rudi at the Weber County Forum has posted a live audio feed from this morning's House Political Subdivisions Committee hearing.
And don't miss Rudi's post on Sunday, which includes comments from "Lionel" who pokes a jab at us with his erroneous statement, "Gage Floerer (sp) web side(sp) other wise known as the Ogden Valley Utah Forum." Apparently, because we gave Gage the benefit of the doubt and posted part of a message received from Gage in a desperate hope that he will be able to help his constituents, Lionel now claims the Ogden Valley Forum is now Gage's.
We simply gave Gage some press time just like we continue to do for "Lionel" - remember, this is an open forum.
In fact, we will even give Powder Mountain owner Mark Arnold the opportunity to opine on the site for Ogden Valley residents. What say you Mark? If you won't meet with Ogden Valley residents to discuss your plans and our concerns, then how about spreading your word to Ogden Valley residents via our forum.