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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Will town of Powder Mtn. dissolve?


By Dan Weist (Standard-Examiner Davis Bureau)

Last Edit: Feb 5 2010 - 11:08pm

SALT LAKE CITY -- An agreement to dissolve the town of Powder Mountain is in the works between the Weber County Commission and the business development group that incorporated the land.
The potential agreement, a memorandum of understanding, could end a two-year legal dispute that has resulted in two lawsuits, both of which landed in the Utah Supreme Court.
"I've been working on this, along with the commission, since August," said Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville,
Froerer and Greg Curtis, an attorney for the managing partners of the resort development, confirmed Friday the heart of the memorandum is to disincorporate Powder Mountain, which came into existence in 2007.
"Conceptually we have reached an understanding but we are still working on some technical issues," said Curtis, a former speaker of the Utah House.
The overall dispute spawned legislation from Froerer that again is making its way through the halls of the state Capitol.
It all started with a zoning disagreement over development of the Powder Mountain resort area.
The developers then used a former state law to incorporate the land, which has about 100 residents.
But the county function of seating leadership for the town stalled between the incorporators who petitioned for representation and Weber County Commissioners.
"It's been an interesting two years," said Weber County Commissioner Craig Dearden as he started his testimony at the hearing.
Instead of waiting two years as prescribed by law, Froerer's bill would give residents the immediate right to vote on dissolving Powder Mountain.
The legislation failed to make it out of the last session, but passed out of a House committee on Friday.
Shortly after the hearing, both parties met to work on details of the proposed agreement but did not talk about a completion date.
Citizen groups have been active in this overall situation, including filing one of the two lawsuits, but none spoke at the hearing.
"I think we should be listening to their voice, their best interest," said Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, as he moved to support and then vote on the bill.
When and if it is completed, the agreement could release the Utah Supreme Court from ruling on the cases connected to this dispute, said Curtis.

UPDATE 2-6-10 @ 10:30 pm

Be sure to read today's latest at the Weber County Forum addressing today's article.


Layne Sheridan said...

What great news! A lot of people have put in countless hours to make this happen. Special thanks to Gage Froerer -- sounds like the legislation was the final straw.

Anybody find it interesting that Greg Curtis is representing the developers?

The Viking said...

It remains to be seen if the end result is to the benefit of the Ogden Valley residents. Going back to the County process does not solve all the problems.

We must remember that the Ogden Valley Planning Commission had 19 conditions for the Powder Mountain owners prior to incorporation. These conditions were developed to protect the Valley.

These were never passed on to the Weber County Commissioners because of the incorporation move by Powder Mountain. These 19 conditions should be examined by the Weber County Commission and considered in any development agreement.

The two major conditions (a second year around road access) and the (density numbers in line with the existing zoning) are the most important.

Skip The Dog said...


Yesterday Representative Froerer gave a splendid presentation of HB 218 that received a unanimous up vote from the House Business Committee. Apparently some phone calls and e-mails from HB 218 supporters to committee members made their mark, because committee appeared to have a clear understanding of the Powder Town situation. On a side note former representative Curtis really didn’t have s##t to say in support of POWMOW.

At this point, Me thinks that a back room deal with Weber County Council may be more expeditious for the POWMOW agenda than disincorporation or a trip to supreme court, so they may be considering a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the County to make their problems go away. Based on the past performance of the POWMOW developers (Jamie Lythago, end-run on incorporation), I believe that HB 218 should still be supported and advanced so that possibly the citizens of Weber County may have a position on the ultimate disposition of Powder Town.


Crisco said...

Skip the Dog, good analysis and logic.

Devil in the Details said...

If the commisisioners cave in now, it will be the end of any sensible zoning ordinances for the valley. Every other developer will learn the lesson. Ranting, raving and unethical behavior will be rewarded. Throw a tantrum and voilĂ  -- you can get what you want. This issue shoukd be played to the end. That is the only way right will prevail over wrong. Please, don't settle with the devil.

Pretzel said...

My opinion is if the homeowners lose out on this Powder Mountain issue, they should take it to Federal Court with the help of the ACLU. There is no doubt that the court would reverse the effects of the incorporation based on the loss of equal protection.

This would be a large embarrassment for the Utah Legislature which has wiffed not once, but twice on the opportunity to protect the civil rights of some Utah residents.

National media headlines would expose the fact that the Federal Courts have restored the civil rights of Utah citizens after the Utah state legislature failed to do so.