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Monday, May 31, 2010

Divided opinions on plans for Powder Mountain

On the beautiful and calm Memorial Day before storm tomorrow evening at the Weber County Commission chambers, we will direct our humble readers to this morning's Di Lewis article:

Divided opinions on plans for Powder Mountain

Many Valley-ites are quoted with the majority of those quoted being opposed to the Memorandum of Understanding that will be before our humble group of all-star commissioners Tuesday evening at 6:PM (of course, get there early to get a seat).

From today's Di Lewis article:

Valley residents worry that increased traffic and the development of 2,800 units at the resort will turn their home into a polluted suburb.
"It goes far beyond the community this time," said Eden resident Sharon Holmstrom. "This time, they have the homeowners in a vise from which they cannot escape.
"If a development agreement is not reached, then homeowners are stuck with the incorporation and expense and horror of that. But if they go along with that agreement, then they undermine the general plan for the rest of the valley."
Eden resident Kirk Langford is concerned that allowing higher than normal density at the resort in order to reach a resolution will open the door for future developers to demand density variances.

Langford and Holmstrom, along with many other landowners, lost two-thirds of their development rights in the down-zoning of the valley in 1998.
Now they are worried the move the landowners hoped would preserve the valley will be pointless if the resort is allowed to have more than its allotted development rights for the amount of land.

"I'm for Powder Mountain being developed," Langford said. "I think they should get every single entitlement that they had on the land when they bought it. ...
"But I've watched people go to build one house up here, and if they're a quarter acre short, too bad, they can't build. So why should they (the resort) be able to get 1,600 more (units)?"

It's about fairness, said Eden resident Steve Clarke.
"The thing I focus on right now is the fairness issue that people who own a considerable amount of property surrendered property rights and went from 1-acre zoning to 3-acre zoning," he said.

"I feel like it's unfair for the county to give density to a resort that other people gave up willingly years ago. It's important for the county commission to acknowledge the contribution of these landowners."

But some residents believe the memorandum, with recent changes, might be the best plan they can get to end the problems in the valley, said Darla Van Zeben, an Eden resident within the incorporation boundaries and one of the residents involved in the lawsuit against the county.

The revised memorandum, now available on the county website, limits the resort to one golf course, creates a 1.5 percent fee for improvements and removes the developers' ability to withdraw from the agreement after action is taken on a neighboring development with common ownership.
Van Zeben said those were the issues creating the most worry among homeowners.
Most potential town residents don't think it's a perfect solution, she said, but it's one they can live with.

"There are parts of this deal that are tough to accept, but we're all in a tough situation and this new MOU might just be the best deal the Ogden Valley is going to get," Van Zeben said.

She said they are worried that if the incorporation is ultimately approved, it would allow unbridled development across more than 20,000 acres, rather than controlled development over 4,200 acres.

Because the incorporation petition was possible through a short-lived law, Van Zeben said she doesn't think other developers would be able to demand higher density.
 As a bonus today, we will include several letters to the editor of the June 1, 2010 issue of the Ogden Valley News.  It is posted below this article so be sure to scroll down.

As an enhanced bonus, we will link to this morning's Weber County Forum Post on the subject:

Standard-Examiner: Divided Opinions on Plans for Powder Mountain

In true Rudi-esque Fashion, he has created a "cribsheet" of various articles that have appeared on the subject in recent weeks.

Before we run off to 'Vegas Baby' to roll the dice on tomorrow's outcome, we will give all a chance to join in our straw poll that is located near the top of the right side bar.

As Ron Burgandy would say during signoff, "Stay Classy Ogden Valley."

Letters To The Editor of The Ogden Valley News regarding the Powderville Hostage Crisis

The June 1, 2010 issue of the Ogden Valley News was stuffed with letters from residents concerned over the outcome Powderville.

We have scanned all of the letters and will include them below in no particular order.  We will, however, post the "Open Letter to the Citizens of Ogden Valley" first, as it is signed by several of the Powderville hostages.

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Ogden Valley
By Dan VanZeben,
Darla Longhurst-VanZeben
Taylor Satterthwaite
Jim Halay
Deja Mitchell
Kathy Dowell
Suzanne Amann

Community Being Asked to Weigh in on Controversial County Decision on Powder Mountain Development  (note:  this is not a letter to the editor but a cover story written by one of the editors of the Ogden Valley News)

By Shanna Francis

A Bad Deal For Ogden Valley
By Kimbal Wheatley

What Is To Happen To Our Valley
By Larry Zini

Courage Needed To Face Powder Mountain Developer
By Frank Cumberland

A Community Worth Saving
By Laura Warburton

Powdervillains Hold Hostages
By Sharon Holmstrom

Valley Citizens Should Not Drink the Cool-Aid Offered by Powder Mountain Developers
By Richard C. Webb

Unlink Eden Heights development from Powder Mountain MOU
By Steve Clarke

Don't Sell the Utah Supreme Court Short!
By Sharon Zini

Please Attend County Commission Hearing to Indicate Support Against Powder Mountain Proposal
By Edward A. Adair

Attend Public Hearing on June 1 - Democracy works best when people participate
By Kirk Langford

After perusing the twelve letters (probably the most letters the OVN has ever printed in one issue on a particular subject), we were able to break them down into three categories:

  • In Favor of the MOU         1
  • Against the MOU              10
  • Neutral (come together)    1

    Saturday, May 29, 2010

    Comments on Powder Mountain Draft MOU

    Submitted by Dan Schroeder, Conservation Chair, Ogden Sierra Club

    May 28, 2010
    Dear Commissioners:

    Thank you for providing this opportunity to comment on the draft “Binding Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) between Weber County and the owners of Powder Mountain (WAH). These comments are submitted on behalf of the Sierra Club and our more than 300 members who live in Weber County.

    Before getting into the MOU itself, I would like to express our gratitude for your courageous position on the matter of appointing the Powder Mountain Town Council. It is a fundamental American principle that our leaders should be chosen by the people, not merely appointed by a particular commercial interest or by those who own the most land. This principle is enshrined in the Utah Constitution and is supported by the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Ogden Valley residents of all political persuasions have now rallied behind this principle, and we have every reason to expect that the courts will agree. Weber County is therefore engaging in the present negotiations from a position of strength

    With this in mind, here are the Sierra Club’s concerns with the draft MOU:

    1. The MOU fails to protect the Middle Fork Wildlife Management Area.

    First among the Sierra Club’s concerns is that there is no language in the draft MOU to provide any protection whatsoever to the Middle Fork Wildlife Management Area (WMA). As you know, the WMA borders the Powder Mountain property on three sides, and provides critical habitat for elk and many other wildlife species. Earlier proposals from the Powder Mountain owners have vividly shown their intent to place private home sites along much of the WMA boundary. This would threaten the WMA by enabling unauthorized entry, trail construction, motor vehicle use, and poaching. These problems already occur in other remote areas of northern Utah where private residential properties adjoin public lands. The Powder Mountain boundary is similarly remote, making law enforcement impractical.

    Fortunately, there is an easy way to prevent these problems. The development plan should include a buffer zone that separates private lots from the WMA, with a trail along the entire boundary that would give law enforcement personnel access to this critical area. The trail might also be used for public recreation, to whatever extent is consistent with the overriding goal of protecting wildlife habitat.

    I therefore request that if you go forward with the MOU, you add a provision for a buffer zone and other necessary protections for the WMA. It would be prudent to consult with the Forest Service and the Division of Wildlife Resources regarding the details of these provisions.

    2. The traffic safety/impact study should not be delayed.

    The draft MOU inappropriately postpones the initiation of the traffic/impact study until many years in the future, after nearly 1500 units have already been constructed on Powder Mountain. This delay would create long-term uncertainty over the ultimate impact of the development on the rest of Ogden Valley, including the question of whether a second access road would ever be built. It is unfair for the residents of Ogden Valley to have to live with this uncertainty for so long. Instead, the traffic/impact study should be completed before any MOU or development agreement is finalized.

    3. The MOU would allow Phase 2 to proceed before safety recommendations are met.

    Although Section 2.3 of the MOU requires WAH to pay for the traffic safety/impact study and to “begin implementation” of the study’s recommendations before proceeding with Phase 2, it does not actually require that the safety recommendations be fully (or even mostly) implemented. If this loophole is not closed, it will almost certainly lead to unsafe conditions and/or additional litigation.

    4. The MOU is an invitation for future litigation.

    WAH has already demonstrated its eagerness to go to court to get what it wants. Entering into a “binding” memorandum of understanding would give WAH additional grounds for future litigation, tying the County’s hands whenever it might seek to impose additional requirements that are not explicitly included in the MOU.


    While an informal MOU might serve as a useful guide for future negotiations, I am not convinced that a binding MOU would be in the best interest of the County under any circumstances. Instead, I would urge you to bring forward an actual development agreement that spells out the County’s requirements in much more detail.

    Should you nevertheless choose to go ahead with this binding MOU, I urge you to amend it to address the concerns described above.

    Dan Schroeder

    American Legion Ceremony to honor the Veterans of Ogden Valley

    We at the forum would like to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day weekend.  Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.  Please remember our fallen soldiers while out roasting hot dogs in the rain this weekend.

    Be sure to make time to visit one of our local cemeteries on Monday to participate in the American Legion's ceremony of honor.

    Here is more information on this important event submitted by Clay Poulter

    On Monday May 31st. The American Legion Post 129 Ogden Valley will be conducting our annual ceremony to honor the Veterans that are buried in the four cemeteries in the Ogden Valley. Times are as follows:

    Liberty @ 9:00 am
    Lower Eden @ 9:30 am
    Upper Eden @ 10:00 am
    Mountain Green @ 11:00 am
    Huntsville @ 12:00 pm
    Luncheon @ 1:00 pm

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    Canyon race kills teen / Cars try to pass on each side of van with disastrous results

    From this morning's Standard Examiner:

    A high-speed race involving high school-age kids turned deadly in Ogden Canyon on Thursday afternoon.
    One 16-year-old girl from Ogden is dead. The male driver of the car she was riding in sustained serious injuries and was taken by helicopter to an area hospital.
    Police are looking for another car that left the scene of the fatal crash, said Lt. Phil Howell, of Weber County Sheriff’s Office.
    All involved in the accident appear to be from the Ogden area, and all are younger than 18 years old.
    The three survivors are hospitalized in stable condition as of late Thursday, Howell said; deputies were not yet releasing the identities of those involved.
    The accident occurred about 2:30 p.m. in Ogden Canyon near the Pineview spillway.
    A black Acura and a red Honda appear to have been racing westbound through the canyon, Howell said.
    “They both tried to pass a van that was already in the roadway, on either side of that van. One of the cars, a black Acura, lost control and drove off the south side of the roadway and crashed into a tree,” Howell said.
    The Acura was likely in the westbound lane, trying to pass on the right side of the van, before losing control.
    The impact of the accident partially knocked down the tree and blocked the road, Howell said.
    The male driver was extricated from the vehicle and flown by helicopter to McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.
    “One female passenger was dead at the scene from injuries,” Howell said. “Two other (female) passengers were able to get out of that car and were driven by a private vehicle to the hospital for treatment.”
    Police are looking for the red Honda that left the scene of the accident.
    “We’re investigating leads to identify that vehicle and occupants,” Howell said.
    “Our deputies and (Utah) Highway Patrol are investigating the accident scene and doing those kinds of calculations to estimate speed and distance and all of those factors that are involved in the accident.”
    The road through Ogden Canyon was reopened at 6:50 p.m. after the accident scene was cleared and deputies completed their investigation.

    Click here to view the story on

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Amy Wicks meets the GEM Committee

    Amy Wicks, one of the two candidates for the Weber County Commission seat B this November was the guest at the GEM Committee meeting at the Huntsville Town Hall last night.

    Amy said she works for a private firm that provides support to abused children. She has also been elected to two terms as an Ogden City Council member.

    Amy appears to be a straightforward, self confident candidate, and easily fielded questions on many wide ranging subjects about Ogden Valley and Weber County.

    Ms. Wicks stated she is a supporter of private property rights, but also of long range planning and zoning. She indicated she is not a supporter of Eminent Domain where government agencies can simply take peoples’ land when they deem it is appropriate.

    When asked about Ethics Reform, Amy stated it is needed in Utah and she does support meaningful ethics reform for our legislature.

    She was asked her opinion about the MOU Powder Mountain has before the Weber County Commissioners. Amy said she did not see any compromise on the part of Powder Mountain in the MOU.

    Amy was asked about the difficulty of running as a Democrat in Weber County. She responded that she has been mostly nonpartisan in her political career on the Ogden City Council, and it is difficult to get the financial campaign support needed running as an independent. She plans to address most issues with a nonpartisan approach.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Details of the great Ogden Valley Sellout available on Weber County's web site

    The staff report for the upcoming Public hearing (aka, the Great Sellout of Ogden Valley) is available on the Weber County web site.

    Click here to study this 26 page masterpiece

    In it, you will find a time line of the events related to Powderville and some really cool maps.

    To remind us all of the date, we have included this handy countdown clock.

    Maybe the commissioners need to move the meeting over to the Dee Events Center.

    Let's pack 'em in next Tuesday!

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Realtor donations to Utah Gov. Herbert reach $100K - Is Ethics reform needed?

    Utah Association of Realtors (UAR) has a firm grip on politics in Utah

    Be sure to read Curmudgeon's latest:

    Standard-Examiner Flinches On Herbert Campaign Finance Headline

    Curm exposes some headline changes at the Standard with regards to the more than $100K in donations to Hebert's campaign from the Utah Association of Realtors.  Don't forget to read the comments as well.

    Regular readers of this forum will remember nearly three years ago when "Minor Machman" exposed the Utah Association of Realtors.  

    From the UAR  in 2007:
    LEARNING CURVE: Percentage of Utah legislators receiving perfect scores from the Utah Association of Realtors
    1999: 6%
    2000: 8%
    2001: 24%
    2002: 31%
    2003: 56%
    2004: 53%
    2005: 60%
    Source: Utah Association of Realtors
     Interestingly, the numbers correspond closely with the Realtor/Developer takeover of the legislator which culminated with former UAR President Gary Hebert becoming the Governor of Utah in 2009.

    We think Peter Coroon is looking better every day.

    Say No to the UEG Petition? Local Resident Thinks We Need To

    The Ogden Valley Forum has been calling for Ethics reform for some time.  We have also been promoting the Utahn's For Ethical Government Petition.

    Ogden Valley resident Laura Warburton offers a counterpoint in her essay,  

    Why We Need to Say NO to the UEG Ethics Petition.

    Warburton lists many supporting points and in her conclusion, she states,
    The above is just a spattering of unethical aspects of this insidious petition. The UEG ethics petition is nothing more than a (UEA) Utah Educators Association coup. It’s a cleverly disguised weapon to gain power over the Utah state legislators; something they’ve longed for.
    We know the results of the Utah Association of Realtors coup, so maybe a UEA coup would not be so bad.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Powder Mountain Update: The Standard Examiner Sez "Compromise Appears Close" - UPDATED

    Updated with Questions posed from an Eden resident with answers from the Weber County Planning Director.  Scroll Down to view...

    We will take the easy way out this morning and leave the commentary up to the folks at the Weber County Forum.

    Don't miss Rudi's rundown:

    Powder Mountain Update: The Standard Examiner Sez "Compromise Appears Close"

    Be sure to read Rudi's commentary carefully, especially near the end of item 1 where he states:
    Whether the developer kicked up its demands during the litigation phase of negotiations we don't know; but based on the original proposed numbers, it would appear to us that the only compromising that's occurring with respect to the original "density" proposal would be on the Weber County Commission's part.
    Jan Zogmeister says she wants citizen comments, so give her your comments:
    I really am at a wait-and-see point," said Weber County Commissioner Jan Zogmaister.  "I've watched the whole thing progress for a couple years, so I am willing to hear it, but I also really would like to hear the input from the citizens who will be directly affected by this. ...   The whole thing has been to represent the citizens in this agreement."
     Contact Ms. Zogmaister and her friends at:

    CommissionerJan Zogmaister
    Commissioner Craig Dearden
    Commissioner Ken Bischof

    Shelly Halacy, Administrative Assistant to the Weber County Commission


    Weber County Commission
    2380 Washington Blvd. Suite 240
    Ogden, UT 84401

    UPDATE:  May 25, 2010 @ 10 PM

    One of our humble Eden residents asked Weber County for answers to a few questions.  Here is the response:

    Original Message-----
    From: Scott, Robert
    Friday, May 21, 2010 5:55 PM
    Cc: Pierce, Nate; Bischoff, Kenneth A.; Dearden, Craig; Zogmaister, Jan M.
    Subject: RE:
    Powder Mountain Rezone

    Here is the information you requested regarding the Powder Mountain Rezone.

    1.    Was the “draft MOU” prepared by the applicant or Weber County?

    The initial draft was prepared by the applicant.

    2.    Was the “draft MOU” prepared with any input from Weber County staff or Commission?

    Negotiations were conducted with the County Commission with staff input.

    3.    Will the Planning office please provide the citizens of Weber County a simple chart showing density differences between the current zoning and that which is being proposed by the MOU.

    A staff report is being prepared that will have some comparative information.

    Rob Sig 1

         Robert O. Scott, AICP
         Weber County Planning Director

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Powder Mountain Memo of Understanding available - UPDATED

    The Powder Mountain Memo of Understanding is now available for downloading at:

    While we have not had a chance to dissect or digest it completely,  we wanted to make sure our expert readers have a chance to analyze the MOU.  Our preliminary analysis indicates they are asking for substantially more than double the current zoning (housing units).

    We will highlight three important sections:

    2.1 Phase 1: 

    1,477 units, meaning single-family dwelling units with hotel
    rooms being counted as the equivalent of one-third 1/3 of a single family
    dwelling unit. In other words, a 100 unit hotel would count as 33 units.
    Commercial development is not included in the density number.
    Recreational and commercial uses shall be developed as needed to
    support the resort (ski lifts, lodges). Phase 1 may proceed in
    accordance with this Memorandum and adoption of the DA, which shall
    not otherwise impair, burden or delay implementation of Phase 1 as long
    as the development complies substantially with the approved concept

    2.3 Phase 2 Density. 

    Upon meeting the requirements specified in 2.2 above
    and the conditions and benchmarks to be specified in the DA, WAH shall
    be entitled to proceed with Phase 2, an additional 1323 units, which
    shall include SDUs, MDUs, and hotel rooms. Hotels, commercial and
    recreation uses shall count as described in 2.1 above.

    7. Eden Heights and Additional Powder Mountain Zoning. Eden Heights
    consists of approximately 1,500 acres, as more specifically described in Exhibit
    B to this MOU. Eden Heights is adjacent to Powder Mountain and has certain
    common ownership with Powder Mountain. The Parties anticipate that Eden
    Heights will be filing an application for rezoning
    with Weber County in the near

    In 1998, Ogden Valley residents forfeited 2/3's of their development rights when Weber County changed minimum zoning from 1 acre to 3 acres.

    Snowbasin is using the Resort zone to preserve open space on the valley floor while gaining extra density at the resort.

    Powder Mountain is agreeing to release the "Powderville hostages" in exchange substantial increases in density.

    Two things appear obvious:
    1. Powder Mountain doesn't really want to force incorporate a small group of hostages who don't want to be forced into a company town.
    2. Powder Mountain is wary of the outcome of the Supreme court case.
    The June 1 public hearing is likely just a formality of a deal done long ago, but if ever there was a time for our ELECTED officials to draw a line in the snow, the time is now!

    What say ye, Ogden Valley?

    UPDATE:  5/21/10 @ 8 am

    The Weber County Forum  has some interesting posts and comments about the contentious Powder Mountain issue.

    We suggest that you check it out in preparation for the June 1st meeting in the
    Commission chambers. 

    Be sure to read the analysis by Frankc.
    Frank C. comments 5/20/10


    Organizers cite RAMP up time, unfavorable economic conditions & date conflicts

    Organizers of the 2010 Ogden Valley Balloon & Artist Festival voted today to postpone the event to mid-August, 2011, citing unfavorable economic conditions, timing with sponsor and grant funding as well as issues with the event dates.

    The Board, which consists of community volunteers, had hoped to recruit a dedicated person to solicit corporate sponsors. When that person did not materialize through outreach efforts, Board members felt that the results required from this effort could not realistically be achieved. 2010 Chairperson Gladys Mundelius commented, “We all dedicate hundreds of hours organizing the event, and none of us could take on the additional responsibility.” Timing was also a factor. “The key to raising funds from corporate sponsors and the various entities that offer grants such as the Weber County RAMP tax is to get the fundraising effort started in the fall for the following year. By postponing this year’s event, our Board will be energized to take on this effort come fall. We’re usually exhausted after the August event and need a few months to re-group. That won’t be the case this fall.”

    Date conflicts with several Valley and regional events caused delays in organizing efforts but on a very positive note, all the organizations attempting to schedule events tried very hard to work together. “That was great to see” noted Mundelius “We were touched by the efforts our neighbors underwent to try to work through the date conflicts.” By getting an early start for 2011, we can publish our dates well in advance to notify other event organizers.”

    The Board is also pursuing teaming up with other Valley organizations to help improve the event and add much needed manpower to the event planning efforts “If all goes as planned, this breather will result in a really fantastic event in 2011 that offers increased community involvement.”

    “Our Board of Directors made the fiscally responsible decision. We are a non-profit organization that is fully funded by the support of our sponsors for organizations expenses. We felt the postponement was the only fiscally responsible thing to do. As a non-profit volunteer organization, we simply don’t have the purse to fund the event, which costs in excess of $50,000 to produce.”

    For updates on planning for the 2011 Festival, please bookmark and check it periodically.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Huntsville Proceeds with toll booth

    In today's Standard we read that Huntsville is proceeding with a toll booth on the road that leads to Cemetery Point.  Be sure to read this Di Lewis article:

    Huntsville only town with two tollbooths around

    From the article, Mayor Jim Truett stated:

    Traffic from summer recreationists is damaging the road and Huntsville doesn't have money to pay for repairs, he said, adding that the road has been a problem for years and is getting to the point where the town has to take action.

    "We do not want to do this, but we have absolutely no choice," Truett said. "It's really sad that AL&L will not work with us because of the damage caused by the motorists."

    First Street leads to Forest Service land, access to which is restricted by a tollbooth run by American Land & Leisure. The toll is $10 for access to the popular boating area.

    Truett said the town council has asked for help from the Forest Service and AL&L, and the best plan is to add $2 to the toll AL&L charges to go to a First Street perpetual road fund.

    He said AL&L has rejected that plan, though, so the town is ready to create its own toll booth, which would charge $3, with the extra dollar to pay the booth operator. He said the booth would be operational when Cemetery Point opens.
     We discussed this issue in March and we understand the booth is under construction and will open in the next week or so.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    What is so bad about the idea behind Powder Mountain being developed?

    Guest comment by JRP  - a comment in response to our  post:

    Public Hearing on June 1st about Powder Mountain

    JRP asked some questions early this morning and we wanted to make sure the questions were not overlooked by our humble readers.  We copied and pasted the post below unedited.

    Can anyone help JRP out?

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is so bad about the general idea behind Powder Moutain being developed. I know that there are certain restrictions and limitiations but those are arbitrary, right? I mean, they can be undone just as easy as they were implemented. In fact, some people would argue that the current zoning rules regarding Ogden Valley are biased or skewed toward a thype of unfounded protectionism.

    I also, find it interesting that people don't seem to look at how this will benefit the local and general Utah economy. The quintessential objection to any type of development (helipad etc...) is "NIMBY" (not in my back yard). I think that holding such as stance reduceds the objector to a mere hypocrite, as per the objector argues that the developers are egotistical yet is he not being equal?

    I would like to know, economically and morally, why the basic idea of allowing Powder Moutain is reprehensible.

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Public Hearing on June 1st about Powder Mountain --- UPDATED

    On June 1st, 2010 at 6 PM, a public hearing regarding the Powder Mountain rezone and development will be held in the Weber County Commission Chambers, 2380 Washington Blvd. in Ogden.

    We submit that it is important that all concerned Northern Utah and Ogden Valley residents attend this hearing in substantial numbers to be heard and to demonstrate to the County Commissioners that a reasonable and fair resolution is an important issue to all of us.

    We know that recent negotiations between Commissioner Dearden and the Powder Mountain owners/developers were encouraged by a minority of the Utah State Legislative leaders who, for some unfathomable reason, would not undo the egregious civil rights damage of HB466 passed in 2007.
    Ogden Valley residents are concerned about any “deal” between the County Commissioners and the developers that would exchange the town incorporation for increased density (dwellings) numbers for Powder Mountain that would destroy the Ogden Valley General Plan‘s density numbers produced in 1998.

    We are also concerned that such a deal will ignore the need for a second road access and the 17 other conditions regarding the development and rezone outlined by the Ogden Valley Planning Commission during the initial petition process.

    Click here to read the call for involvement from Kirk Langford, longtime Valley resident and activist

    UPDATE:  May 17, 2010 @ 5 PM

    Be sure to read today's Weber County Forum where Rudi encourages his humble readers to attend the meeting.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Is the ACLU relevant in Utah?

    Whilst sitting down this morning to post a  story about this morning's Standard Guest commentary by Larry Zini, we realized that Rudi had gotten up a bit earlier this morning and penned this most excellent rant.

    Standard-Examiner Guest Commentary: Is the ACLU Relevant in Utah?

    Where the hell has the Utah ACLU been during the entire several year pendency of the Powder Mountain matter?

    We can't say it any better than that; however, Zini makes many good points and we will highlight just a couple:
    In many other areas of the United States this would be just the kind of issue the ACLU would be ready to actively support, but despite repeated attempts to get them involved on the side of the affected Powder Mountain homeowners, the ACLU has made no effort to investigate or help.

    There could be reasons that the ACLU has ignored the plight of the Powder Mountain homeowners. First, the affected homeowners are not minorities, but simply citizens who have been denied equal protection under a flawed law passed in the Utah State Legislature.

    It is also possible that the ACLU is intimidated by the power structure in the State of Utah and is reluctant to get involved in a high profile case that may embarrass some state politicians. Either scenario is unacceptable.
     We note that the ACLU has jumped right in on the high profile Arizona immigration issue.

    What say ye Ogden Valley-ites - Is the ACLU relevant in Utah?

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Guest Post from an Ogden Valley Resident

    May 4, 2010

    I attended the Ogden Valley Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. The reason I went was to get an update on the “Conditional Use Permit” for a heliport at the Red Moose Lodge. The update was the last item on the Commission’s agenda. Before getting to the heliport item, we listened to a presentation on the Blacksmith Village development, in downtown Eden. This presentation was well prepared; information was comprehensive and very explicit. Ultimately, the Blacksmith Village was approved. There was some apprehension though from one of the Commission members. The concern was over whether to allow curbing as part of the development “as it may detract from the rural atmosphere” of the valley. Some thoughts that came to my mind were that I don’t recall any detailed presentation from the Heliport CUP applicants and there was no discussion on how the heliport operation could “detract from the rural atmosphere.”

    The Heliport CUP update from the commission was basically this. There were four main issues they were to try to resolve in the previous 60 days.

    · Helicopter refueling from a public road

    · Impacts on wildlife

    · Safety

    · Agreement on flight frequency

    Of the four issues, they resolved the issue of refueling from a public road. They will not do this anymore. They will pull the truck into the parking lot to refuel – I guess. The wildlife issue is still pending on a response from the State Department of Natural Resources. They contacted the FAA and their response was that they had no requirements for this type of activity. My understanding is that any safety issues or requirements are the responsibility of the local government – in this case the county. That was the extent of the safety issue. As far as flight frequency there was no resolution on that issue yet pending more discussion with the CUP applicants Diamond Peaks and Wolf Creek (RLR Properties LLC/JCA Properties). They mentioned that there was some discussion on alternate flight paths and using other locations – but no apparent resolutions on these.

    There wasn’t much detail given in this update. My impression was that the Commissioners really didn’t want to discuss it too much and that it would somehow disappear through some sort of economic attrition process. Public comment on this issue was not allowed. One commissioner said that maybe a better option for them would be to use the Cache county side for their heliport. I rest my case.

    The point I am making here is that I think the Commissioners need more input from the public. They realize that the current heliport has many negatives. These negatives were pointed out to them in the original meeting on this issue in addition to letters they received from the public. The one big issue that was mentioned was the future potential development of the property surrounding that area. Unfortunately, I think that has more impact than the noise, safety, or wildlife impacts. Looking at the zoning regulations – CV-2 allows for a conditional use Heliport. So given this is one of the few CV-2 zones in the area, I think this may end up being the permanent heliport and hub of additional helicopter activities, if the CUP is allowed.

    I encourage you to write to the Planning Commission. I think the emphasis should be on finding a solution. This may include 1) encourage the commission to find a better alternate site ( a site that wouldn't require a flight over the entire valley) 2) Emphasize the detrimental impacts on future development in that area along with your safety, wildlife and rural detraction concerns.

    I spoke with the Planning office manager Sherri Sillitoe and she said that you could send comments to her email; she will compile them and give them to the Commissioners. Her email is There is also a link to her email in the Planning minute’s site on the right side of the page.

    Other options are to fax the comments to 801-399-8862 or mail comments to:

    Weber County Planning Division

    2380 Washington Blvd., Suite 240

    Ogden, Utah 84401

    Guest Post From Ron Tymcio

    Thursday, May 06, 2010

    Kerry Gibson Meets the GEM Committee

    Kerry Gibson, a candidate for the Weber County Commission seat B, was a guest speaker at the GEM committee meeting on Wednesday night. The GEM committee plans to host all candidates (Amy Wicks, Drew Johnson and Jan Zogmaister) for the Weber County Commission seats at later GEM meetings this election year.

    Mr. Gibson, who lives in West Weber County, came across as a affable yet serious man at the meeting. He is a Dairy Farmer by trade and has served 6 years in the Utah State legislature. He has also formerly served on the West Weber County Planning Commission.

    Mr. Gibson talked about his political philosophy and emphasized his commitment to private property rights. His wife’s family lives in the Ogden Valley and he indicated he is aware of the ongoing development issues that concern Ogden Valley residents. He stated he had been briefed on the ongoing Powder Mountain rezone issue.

    The Ogden Valley Forum intends to submit written questions to all candidates for the Weber County Commission seats to ascertain their positions on important issues such as Ethics, property development, helicopter activity in the Valley and Ogden Valley zoning changes that will impact our Valley in the future. The candidates responses or lack of responses to those questions will be published on the Ogden Valley blog.

    If you have any questions for candidate Kerry Gibson, you may reach him at :