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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Green Valley Academy Neighborhood Meeting Tonight - It's time to contact the Planning Commission - NOW

Reminder:  Emergency Public Meeting tonight @ the Ogden Valley Library in Huntsville @ 7 PM

The process that is unfolding with the Green Valley Academy's latest proposal is eerily familiar and almost mirrors the events we followed last June.  We have compiled a treasure trove of articles that have been posted on the Forum regarding the proposed "Residential Treatment Facility" (or whatever they are calling it this week).

We have organized them chronologically and have tried to point out important links that are included within each post.  We would highly recommend that neighbors and advocates alike, search through our archive, review the plans for the Green Valley Academy and contact the planning commissioners ASAP - time is of the essence.

Full Ogden Valley Forum Residential Treatment Facility / Green Valley Academy (GVA) Article Collection

Within this treasure trove, pay particular attention to the guest post by Mike Bulloch, director of the Green Valley Academy.  In response to a guest post by resident Laurel Kirkham, Mr. Bulloch writes, 

The proposed property is on 18 acres and is surrounded (to the north, south, and west) by many open acres, not to mention the undeveloped land of the nearby Monastery. The closest homes mentioned are to the east with acreage bordering neighboring properties.  We are not a program attempting to squeeze itself into “the middle” of a high density area (like other programs which currently exist throughout Weber County). Furthermore, the academy will preserve a large portion of land from becoming sub-divided in the future, which will promote the rural atmosphere.
Emails and letters to the planning commission need to be submitted ASAP -  today.  In the past, we have seen cases where the planning commissioners have not received letters because the letters were not included in their packets.  We suggest you hand deliver or email your letter, then follow up with a phone call to verify that in fact your letter will be given to all of the commissioners prior to the Tuesday meeting.

Snail mail:
Ogden Valley Planning Commission, Attn Sherrie Sillitoe,
2380 Washington Blvd, Suite 240, Ogden, UT 84401

Sherri Sillito 801-399-8791

Be sure to include a note asking Ms. Sillitoe to forward your information to ALL of  the Planning commissioners prior to the January 25, 2010 planning meeting.


Anonymous said...

We had a great turnout with the meeting tonight. Please make sure to voice your concerns and send letters, emails or make phone calls to the planning commmission. If you would like to buy signs to support the cause call 801-745-2455If you would like to make a contribution we have an account set up at Zions Bank under Ogden Valley Protection Fund. Again thanks for all the support.

ND said...

Though it has been somewhat discussed before, where is the proof in the pudding as to the facility being a REAL school that is allowed under the zoning ordinance. Is the county just taking thier word for it? That is disturbing if so as the use of the facility does not seemed to have changed from the original proposal....should there not be some proof of it?...state licenses, curriculm ect ect....I can call my car a helicopter but that does not make it one.

Greg Anderson said...

My name really is Greg Anderson. I live in Ogden Valley. It is my conviction that the Green Valley Academy goes beyond being a "school" and is primarily a residential treatment facility which, because of the number of residents, exceeds what is allowed under current laws regarding the proposed location. It CANNOT exist in the AV-3 zone unless the law defining acceptable uses of the AV-3 zone is changed.

Meanwhile, there are some involved in this process who will probably NEVER stop reminding us that someone wrote “shoot them all” last summer in an online petition. But we all know that this person does not represent the views of the people in Ogden Valley and doesn’t even live in the Ogden Valley (...a fact that is not mentioned whenever the Green Valley folks have tried to use the comment against us). In fact, if you do a simple search for “Chad Housley” in the 84404 zip code you can find exactly where the supposed petition signer lives (and even get a phone number!)...if, in fact, that’s even the person who actually wrote the comment.

Does anyone else find it odd that this forum, which doesn’t allow “anonymous” postings, WILL allow people to identify themselves with anonymous names like “Picasso” and “Just a Thought”?

Greg Anderson said...

It was high drama last night when, after an hour of discussion, someone in the crowd stood up to dispute the claims that the students in Oakley have, on occasion, “escaped” and caused trouble in the community. It was quickly revealed that the “stranger” was, in fact, the wife of one of the founders of the proposed Green Valley Academy. This person then told us, without being specific, that a lot of what was said at the meeting wasn’t true.

I can already hear the words I expect to hear at the planning commission meeting on Tuesday. It will sound something like this: “My wife went to a meeting last week and the neighbors were telling all kinds of lies about who we are and what we do.” Since we in Ogden Valley don’t know the exact amount the families or sponsors of the “students” will pay for tuition, we’ll be accused of misrepresenting the facts (although we’re not disputing their right to charge whatever the market will allow for their services). We’ll be accused of being heartless when it comes to kids who need help. We’ll be accused of being anti-capitalist and they’ll say we don’t want the Green Valley founders to be able to make a living, etc. etc. etc. And the accusations about Ogden Valley residents will be leveled after the public comment portion of the meeting, when we won’t have a chance to defend ourselves “on the record.”

I realize it isn’t fair for me to criticize something I “expect” to hear. But the reason I expect to hear these things is that the founders of the Green Valley Academy DID say these things about the Ogden Valley residents last summer, when they wanted to build their residential treatment facility on another property.

Perhaps some of the things said at last night’s meeting weren’t 100% accurate. But were they 75% right? Even if they were 99% right I expect someone to take the 1% of error and run with it to put on a show for the commission. Of course, the big error will be calling this place a “school” when, last summer, they were willing to call it a residential treatment facility.

We MUST show up in strong numbers. We MUST defend our zoning laws.

Teri said...

I am unable to see, after reviewing the rules for a design plan review on the county's web site, that they in fact have provided the necessary documents in the format required. I am old, I might be blind, but things seem missing from the PDF file. Still checking though. I did think it was quite disingenuous for Mrs. Balmer to imply that they just wanted to find a way to get along with the neighbors. This is the same organization that accused us of just not liking kids. The same organization that told us they knew we hated them, everyone hates them, but after five years we'll get over it. The same organization that told us that they couldn't just put this school anywhere...say next to Walmart...cause it would not be appealing to the clientele they are trying to reach. The same organization that made sure we knew that of course it is about money, everything anybody does is about money.

Ron Gleason said...

It has been my experience that not every piece of paper submitted is scanned and included within the packet. If you want to ensure that you see everything you need to go to the planning office.

Andrea Duey said...

To continue with Greg's comment on the accuracy of the things that were said last night...all of the information that we have is what we have gathered on our own through scouring the internet and calling countless people to find out as much as we can. We are just concerned citizens that don't have access to unlimited resources, we are bound to get some things wrong. When it was pointed out by Mrs. Balmer that the Green Valley Academy was going to be owned by three people and not by the Aspen Education Group we did not argue with her. We explained that based on the information we could find and the past history of the other schools opened by her husband that this school was to be operated by Aspen Education as well. We aren't intentionally spreading lies about the school or the people that run it. We are simply letting others know what information we have found.

Fred said...

I just want to make it clear that I was the one that brought up students leaving the school and stealing a horse that was eventually returned. This as brought to light after corresponding with one of the alumni from Oakley School after GVA's first petition. I can provide the student's name if they want to continue to raise objections.

I did a lot of research on Jared Balmer and his long time, and current partner, Kimball DeLaMare. Their combined history was eye opening. If you search child advocacy groups, you will see that some of their former schools have been accused of being abusive.

If you research the residential treatment industry, you will see that there are good and bad facilities. Unfortunately, there are plenty of bad facilities built just to make a profit as the expense of their clients. I'll let you do your own research on Dr. Balmer's and Kimbal DeLaMare's facilities to reach your own conclusion. I've reached my own not very complementary conclusion. They've never run a purely educational facility. They have all been RTCs and they have all been sold.

Aspen Education has lost lots of money during the economy down turn. They have closed RTCs that were proved to be abusive. The question is, what happens if GVA goes bust? Will neighbors be stuck with the facility and what it might turn in to?

At the least residents can insist that very high privacy walls be installed to protect their patient's and the neighbor's privacy. The more you can make it look like a prison, the less attractive it becomes to clients.

Also, the "sign" they plan to put at the front of the property requires a conditional use permit according to the zoning.

They don't have a cirriculum consistent with public schools since it is residential. It can be argued that the original intent of the zoning was for non-residential schools.

I'm all for kids getting the right kind of help. The information I have unearthed to date does not give me confidence that GVA will be the right kind of help. If the community is interested, I can share my research on the industry and the GVA petitioners.

balance said...

So, despite my putting a name in, it still says anonomous? perhaps I am not doing this right. I am not used to bloging but I tried. I opened an account, put in a password (not anonymous) and it still says anonymous. Either way, I will be at the county meeting. Thanks for the updates.

Valley said...

Mr. Anderson, Click Here to read our Comments Policy and click on the link under item #11 for information on Anonymous postings.

Anonymous said...
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Valley said...

We are done playing board nanny with "Anonymous" posts. If you wish to post, simply select Name/URL and either include your name or a creative selection of your own.