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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Letter To the Weber County Commission

Dear Commissioners:

I am a proponent of an economically feasible development plan for the expansion of the Powder Mountain resort. I do believe that it is not unreasonable to put conditions on the development that helps assure that the future resort fits into, and becomes an asset to the community. They should also be able to exercise their current unit density entitlements -- but they should not be given new ones at this time.

However, the short sighted investors in Powder Mountain are attempting to create an incorporated city that would do a great injustice to the citizens of Eden, Ogden Valley and Utah. In addition, it will do irreparable harm to the overall economic potential for Ogden Valley to develop as a rural recreational resort community -- capable of competing with other established quality resort areas throughout the United States and world.

Aside from the fact that their tactics are morally and ethically bankrupt, for the variety of reasons you have been bombarded with, not the least of which is taking the basic rights of democracy away from the 100 citizens imprisoned in the proposed new city, incorporating Powder Mountain and developing it with such high density as per their public statements will destroy Ogden Valley's future resort growth potential. It will deteriorate the very recreational qualities the public desires and that Ogden Valley needs to be successful in the highly competitive destination resort market - i.e., excessive traffic congestion;
air pollution; unsafe and unpredictable winter access to the resort (closed road); unneeded destruction of wildlife habitat; unnecessary water pollution; combative friction between the resort and local residents; and excessive greed and ill will within the community in which they have to exist. This is also, and will continue to be, a gigantic public relations disaster for the owners, for Weber County and for Utah. Investors don't like uncertainty.

I encourage you to do a deep soul search on this issue. Side with the citizens and deny or delay their petition to incorporate. This simply isn't an issue to say we'll fix next time around.

Their petition should be denied or delayed for on of the following reasons.

1. With the "opt out" of Wolf Creek, an interpretation could be made that a complete new petition needs to be submitted. Two petitioners, may no longer be part of the proposed incorporated area given the Wolf Creek "opt out."

2. HB466 is likely unconstitutional, as it takes away the right for the citizens in an incorporated area to immediately vote for their representatives and assess their tax obligations. Perhaps the county should join the citizens in a suit to determine the constitutional validity of this law?

3. The way in which this incorporation took place is simply wrong. It should be denied or delayed until it is scrutinized further. With real estate pricing dropping rapidly, the whole valuation of all property included within the incorporated could and should be reviewed and studied further.

4. There is, arguably, an "island" (open for interpretation) of property right at the base of the resort (imagine -- right at the base) that was left out of the incorporation that compromises the total property valuation included within the petition. This issue may ultimately only be determined through litigation.

It is unfortunate, given all the efforts of the various stakeholders involved in helping contribute to successful future growth plans for Ogden Valley, that these Powder Mountain developers chose confrontation and tyranny over reason and compromise. After all, their rezone was approved without taking a single existing property right away from them.

I have been in Ogden Valley my whole life, and I have never seen an issue as divisive as this one. It is my hope that you will exercise your fiduciary responsibilities and good judgment to stop and/or delay this incorporation with every means possible.

Best regards,

Kirk Langford
Chairman Eden Planning Committee
Box 600
Eden, Utah 84310


Jim said...

Well spoken Kirk. The state and the county have both left the citizens of Powderville high and dry up to this point. Now the citizens are probably going to use their own hard earned money to sue the State of Utah who will defend their irresponsible law with our money. What a state!

Anonymous said...

Even if the commissioners can't find the backbone to do the right thing here--perhaps they could consider the absolute mess they will face if the incorporation happens, the company makes a disaster, and then two years from the date of incorporation, the town votes to disincorporate--and throw the whole mess back on the commissioners.