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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.