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Monday, May 18, 2009

Contractors Equipment Storage/MV-1 Rezone – Analysis and Recommendation

GEM Committee Members: Jamie Lythgoe, Ron Gleason, Sharon Holmstrom, Richard Webb, Steve Clarke, David Holmstrom.

Contractor Representatives: Thom Summers (S&S Excavation), Jason Peterson (Peterson Builders)

Stated issue: The proposal by the County is to expand the space available for contractor equipment storage by adding that use to existing gravel zones with some restrictions.  This appears to be driven by:

1. The need to strengthen the County’s legal position in the effort to enforce the law, as several (if not most) contractors now store their equipment illegally.


2. Contractors seem willing to endure enforcement action because the financial penalty is small compared with cost of compliance and enforcement action typically takes a long time if it occurs at all.


Other issues:

1. At this point the root issue is enforcement.  Modifying zoning will not solve the problem.  Zoning will not drive demand.

2. At some point in the future more space may be needed; more space will then be necessary, but other issues will need to be addressed as well, especially creating a “level playing field” for all contractors who need to store equipment.

3. Processing operations, e.g. crushing and asphalt plants, are not expected to happen in the MV-1 zone.  Thom Summers attempted to do process operations and they proved economically unattractive.  It is much more attractive to do something like crushing on the job site.  Substantial process operations require about 10 acre sites to be successful.  This leads to the conclusion that the current concept of an MV-1 zone could well be redefined.

4. Larger contractors are likely to move their operations to Ogden to achieve financial stability and continued growth.  This will result in a continued contractor profile of small to medium size operations.


1. Look at the issue of contractor equipment storage more comprehensively to create a “level playing field”.

Decide on a definition of contractor equipment.  For example, a landscape business uses a large track hoe, heavy dump truck, and other heavy trucks, tractors, etc.  Why should this business be allowed in CV-2?  Another landscaper stores his equipment on a relative’s farm.  How much equipment does a framing business need to have to be subject to the rules of contractor equipment storage, e.g. 1 small trailer, 1 large trailer, more than one trailer?  At what point does a business move from a home based business to be required to store equipment at a designated spot?  Do agriculture contractors fall in the same category?  Is the break point defined by hiring an employee?  Look at CV-2 uses and ordinances affecting home based businesses.

2. Add penalties which motivate compliance by being large in comparison with cost of compliance.

3. Create a new Contractor Equipment Storage Zone which requires a minimum office space on site for each contractor in addition to space for equipment and does not require ownership of the site.  

It is believed that in the existing MV-1 zone the existing buildings and lots could be easily modified to provide each contractor in the Valley with an office and adequate storage space for equipment.  These facilities might be leased, at a much more reasonable cost than purchasing a lot and adding a building.

4. Consider the current gravel zones as expansion areas when more space is needed for the Contractor Equipment Storage Zone.


County legal and the County Commission need to decide whether it is truly a legal issue driving the need for action.  If this is the case the recommendations made here have the potential to create a demand for contractor equipment facilities which doesn’t exist today and to create a level playing field (or business cost structure) for all the Valley contractors.

The issue of light manufacturing, defined as a business operating in an enclosed building, producing a finished product is separate and might be addressed in the future.

The GEM Committee members and the Contractors are asking for your input on this issue in Ogden Valley.  If you have any concerns or questions, please contact Steve Clarke, Chairman of the GEM Committee at or 801-745-1348. 

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