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Friday, January 14, 2011

Green Valley Academy - Round II

Guest Post by Teri Busick

Through conversations with some residents and the Weber County Planner, Ben Hadfield, this is my understanding about this proposal (round two).

The original proposal for the Green Valley Academy was a treatment facility on 1300 South, currently zoned FV3. This zone did not allow for this type of facility and the petitioners were attempting a zoning change. Eventually, after much debate and many heated exchanges, the petitioner withdrew his proposal. The petitioners learned and now are proposing this facility be located at 9091 E 100 S, zoned AV3. This zone allows for this type of facility straight up. Not even a conditional use is required. The petitioners submitted their proposal on the 23rd of December and as no zoning change was being requested, this process in regards to the planning department, appears to me to be rather simplistic and straight forward with little or no time allowed for concerns as it relates to the neighbors and other citizens. As it stands today, there are a few issues relating to UDOT and the health department. If these entities sign off on this proposal, it will be presented to Ogden Valley Planning Commission on the 25th of January. This will not require a trip to the Weber County Commissioners according to Mr Hadfield.

I think it is imperative that certain conditions be met. I believe that we should be extremely concerned about the waste water retention pond, and how it affects ground water. I would think that the health department or the division of water rights would required some sort of ground water monitoring system be in place. What kind of septic system is going to be required. Is it big enough. Are protection zones applied. I learned today that there is some confusion as to the size of the school. I have heard 100 students, I have heard 36 students. If this proposal is approved, can student numbers be increased at their discretion?

It is not lost on me that if these people get this approved and purchase this land, then they too have property rights. But it is amazing to me that although I monitor the Weber County website continually, unless I go there in person, I will never be up on current events. It is disturbing because this was such a contentious proposal the first time, and again we find ourselves under the gun.

Everybody has some knowledge or some expertise. Once again, it is time for all hands on deck. It was in my neighborhood last time. It's not this time, but this still feels wrong.

Teri Busick


Laura said...

Green Valley Academy is at it again! Now they are trying to jam a 100-resident treatment facility on an 8 acre lot at 9071 E. 100 S. Incredible! Their original plan to turn the Simpson's home into a treatment facility failed, so they just moved a few blocks away and are trying again. This area simply does not have the sewage, water, or traffic flow capacity for such a facility.
I am also very concerned about retention pond flooding, retention pond odors, and the marketability of our homes being negatively impacted.

Be sure to come to the planning commission meeting on January 25 at 5:00 p.m. The meeting is being held at the Weber County Building on 2380 Washington. Don't let them ignore our concerns! Spread the word to all of your neighbors!!

Ron Gleason said...

Teri, thanks for your posting. Each post is limited so I will try to condense my ??

You state that no zoning changes are required or conditional use permit.

The AV-3 zone requires a CUP for a Youth Treatment facility with very specific parameters, see details at


I wonder what they are calling this facility?

Ron Gleason

Teri said...

Ron, I haven't yet seen the actual proposal. I attempted to repeat what Mr. Hadfield had said to me today. I know there are several who went downtown. Perhaps they can post what it will be called. But, I do believe it was not by accident that they proposed just before the holidays. That fact alone makes the time crunch so much more pressing. Thanks for the helpful links.

Richard Sorensen said...

Ron and Teri,
I stopped by the Planning office today and had Ben Hadfield show me the plans. The plans he laid out were new as of yesterday.

First off, they are calling it a "school" and not a "residential treatment facility." According to Ben, that is permitted in the zone and there is no limit to the number of students. Ben said he would not discriminate and set a number, whether it was a church school, private school or public school.

The lot is very narrow and deep. 264' x 20 chains (1320'). In the front will be parking for 44 cars surrounded by a half circular round about.

There are two 6,000 foot buildings - one a dorm and one an administration building. The dorm appeared to have about 10 large bedrooms.

One of the plans denoted 36 students + 20 staff. I had heard numbers of 100 students and Ben would neither confirm nor deny that number, except to point out the 36+20 numbers. I am not sure where the 100 number originated, but keep in mind the plans I saw were "new" as of yesterday.

The septic will consist of a 4,000 gallon tank with a drain field under the parking area in the front. A well would be located at the back of the lot.

The facilities would be on the front half and the back would remain as agricultural use.

As I recall, there were 4 decorative street style lights in the front parking lot equidistant around the parking lot. The lights were shielded down and Ben said they appear to meet the night sky ordinance.

I asked specifically what they are requesting at this point, and he said it was a design review.

I questioned the septic system and he said that was the health departments issue. I also asked about the state road and a turn out lane and he said that would be the states issue.
Richard Sorensen

Flash Gordon said...

When are we in Ogden Valley going to stand up about this increasing use of more and more septic systems? In a few years we will be standing in our own sewage and the beat goes on!

All the Nitrates and Phosphates wind up in our streams and Pineview. If you think the State's water people are looking out for Ogden Valley residents, guess again. They just hire people one after another to say nothing is happening to our water resources. Wake up Ogden Valley residents!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Right said Flash...Thanks Richard for the info. I really believe are main focus needs to be on the water and sewer. I've pulled up alot of info from the State Water Division Website. There are alot of regulations for wells, sewers and retention ponds. Mainly focusing on what putting new ones in will do to "Existing" water supply and threat of contaminating aquifers. Also with rentention ponds there are regulations on "threats to possible flooding existing structures." The flooding is a huge concern of ours because we have flooding issues in the spring right now, no telling what will happen with the retention pond right next to the fence and our garage.
A question I have is how are they getting away with not having the road frontage? In the past when their were talks of purchasing the same 8 acres, there was not the required 150' per house of frontage for two houses for a total of 300'. Their was only 264' of frontage and they were requesting a flag lot approval. Have the requirements changed?
They are putting two buildings on the same lot, how are they getting around the frontage issue. I would think they would need a flag lot approval also.

Ron Gleason said...

Richard thanks for the details. I have not been able to get to the county offices.

The AV-3 zone allows for schools

16 - Public building; public park, recreation grounds and associated buildings; public school; private education institution having a curriculum similar to that ordinarily given in public schools

The issue of the septic and traffic is always punted by the county, 'not my job', and if the other agencies say it is OK then we have no choice.

While I have not gone to the county offices the online tax system does not show this property owned by the same folks who proposed the other treatment facility. How can the county planning office expend resources when an entity does not even own a said piece of property?

IMO the only way to prevent these type of situations is to change all zoning requirements and not allow and commercial type activity, which in my mind a private school is.

Richard Sorensen said...

Good point about the frontage and I don't have an answer, but possibly Ben's take is that it's a school and they can have as many buildings as they want. For two lots with homes, each would require a separate entrance and access. In Ben's mind they meet the ordinances, but he is not the decision maker. He recommends to the Planning commissioners based on his interpretation of the design meeting the ordinances.

Richard Sorensen said...

Good points Ron. WE all know this is the exact same type of facility they were proposing at the location, but Ben's position is that there was nothing proposed at the other location. He had a request for a rezone and that is it. He had heard rumors of other uses but never had a petition of such.

It is obvious that they tried to do it as a Residential treatment facility initially and when that was shot down due to zoning, they simply changed the name of the same facility to a school. Another possible issue is that of a school with dormitories - Ben said that is allowed. The county ordinances definitely have some holes.

concerned citizen said...

please clarify where the meeting is? One posting says the meeting doesn't require travel to Ogden, the other says it will be held at 5:00, same location as the last hearing. CAN SOMEONE please confirm so we don't waste valuable time.

One thing I learned from "round 1" was that spreading key FACTUAL information to citizens was paramount. I just happened to read the blog today but haven't in a couple of months. I have heard nothing of this. WHO is in charge of letting the residential subdivision across from said property know about the hearing. Have flyers been distributed?

While I think 100 South location is a little better than the original 1300 So. for the treatment center, there are still major red flags that need to be addressed. If approved, strict guidelines on 1. water 2. sewer 3. security 4. oversight of census (how many MAX kids they can have)
5. sewage 6. traffic and turn-out.... only a few of the concerns.

So, since it is currently zoned for the "school" I am assuming they will get it. Just make sure everyone is aware of the necessary oversight and make sure you have a say in making them follow the rules. Put your energy towards making it right for everyone, don't just let things slip through because it has the necessary zoninig. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Concerned Citizen...we are about 12steps ahead of you. We realize all this. We found out about the proposal in the Valley Paper on Tuesday. There is noone in charge just concerned citizens pitching in. We are focusing on all issues and making sure if the school comes to pass their will be conditions that need to be met to secure the current residents water, sewer, safety ect... I hand delivered about 100 flyers regarding the meeting held last Thursday. The meeting info was also posted on the blog. At this point we need bodies to help with tasks. I am in the process of making signs, phone calls to reps, phone calls to attorneys and the list goes on. I also have flyers made for the next public meeting at the library and some made regarding the planning commission meeting. So if you would like since you are concerned come on down theirs plenty to do. For any further info follow blog and there will be plenty of signs around town. address to come help is 9039 E. 100 S. Huntsville
Look forward to seeing you!!

one flew over the cuckoo's nest said...

I would think that the state would require a license to store and administer the drugs needed to treat these patience's.I would also assume that the staff would consist of doctors, nurses and social workers.Clearly making this a treatment facility,not a school.

ND said...

I believe that the health department does not allow a drain field to be located under a parking lot....alot of other developments have been told no on that idea.

The biggest key issue seems to be if this is actually a real school...the floor plan should be a good tell of that....classrooms of sufficient size and quantity to provide none of these "student" will be shuffled over to Valley or Snowcrest correct? Also, what was the original floor plan that was used when it was a "treatment" facility and how does it differ now that it is a "school"? it just a change in name? they really think people are that stupid?....unless you are the county?

Anonymous said...

One flew over the cuckoo's nest and ND....I believe the dorm is seperate and the classrooms are in the admin building so no students should be shuffled over to our schools. Thats what I seen from the plans. Also the drain field will be located in the center of the round-a-bout parking which is covered in grass. I believe the floor plans are similiar and I agree they think were stupid. I'm sure there will be sutdents that require prescription drugs to treat their diagnosis. Again they can call it anything they want school, academy whatever but it is what it is a "Building/Treatment Center" where youth are treated for varies issues. However, I know that is not going to be the issue we can go with. Their are way to many discrimination laws and noone will go against them. Are focus is going to be on water, sewer and the retention pond and how a facility of this size will impact existing residents. We all have to rally together and be on the same page....if their is anyone that wants to help with signs, delivering flyers, making phone calls, sending emails let me know at

Teri said...

I am not sure that the two plans are similar. At least in regards to the administration building. Over on 1300 S, they were trying to retrofit an existing home. As far as a school or treatment center, what a difference changing the name makes. Previously there was a large amount of discussion about primary and secondary diagnosis. These petitioners aren't new to this game and know all the correct buzz words. I don't know if they think we are stupid, but I do think they know every way to exploit zoning laws.

no name said...

the weber county planning commission toured the Park City school or what ever they call it but, the bottom line is they like the location in Park City, and they also like the location in Huntsville......

ND said...

6000 SF administration building for 100 students...gross of 60 SF for each....take out for offices, restrooms ect ect and that leaves very little for "school time".....calling it a school is nothing more than lipstick on a pig....working the system or not.

Teri said...

It was the OVPC that toured the school in Oakley, not Park City. The first proposal was withdrawn before it was approved by the OVPC, so no forwarding to the WC Commissioners. They may have liked the Oakley school, but the infrastructure there and here is comparing apples to oranges. Some on the OVPC may have liked it a lot, but there was a serious conflict of interest pertaining to an OVPC member and the owners of the subject property, in my humble opinion. Under those circumstances, what's not to like.

Fred said...

The petitioners can be beat on the zoning. We have to push the primary use of the facility. The students are not there of their own free will. Their parents/custodians will have signed a contract with Dr. Balmer's business to effect "Behavioral Modification" of their child to their specifications. That's the primary use of this facility. They only offer education because it's required by law that they have to be in school as well. The primary use of the facilities is residential treatment. As such, they are required to obtain a CUP.

The key is that the AV-3 zoning states a permitted us is; "private education institution having a curriculum similar to that ordinarily given in public schools." Well, their curriculum is not similar to that at public schools. Their primary curriculum is residential treatment and behavioral modification. They don't go home at the end of the day. Also, if they put up a sign, they must get a CUP according to AV-3.

It's obvious from the wording that the original intent of the zoning is for traditional school atmospheres. Green Valley is not one.

Just because they inject the word school or academy doesn't make it one. It's still primarily a treatment facility.

I'm not apposed to this kids getting help. I'm all for it. But, at the right institution.

The industry that Dr. Balmer has participated in is not one that is highly regarded by child advocacy groups. In fact, some schools, including some Dr. Balmer started, have been alleged as abusive.

The research I have done has convinced me that the Green Valley money factory is not a good fit for the child or our valley.

There used to be Alumni pages on Facebook for his schools, but they have all been taken down since the last petition (wonder why). The comments from his alumni were not complementary.

If you do some research on the history of Dr. Jared Balmer and his long time partner Kimball DeLaMare, you will see they have an interesting history.

Utah is a mecca for this industry because of its lax child protection laws, being the family values state. There are over 1000 known behavior modification programs in UT according to HEAL.

If you want to see government reports on examples of bad actor institutions in this industry you can read them at the following links.

RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAMS Concerns Regarding Abuse and Death in Certain Programs for Troubled Youth

RESIDENTIAL FACILITIES State and Federal Oversight Gaps May Increase Risk to Youth Well-Being

RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMS Selected Cases of Death, Abuse, and Deceptive Marketing

Hebert said...

The wording in AV-3 regarding schools is as follows: "private education institution having a curriculum similar to that ordinarily given in public schools" Dosen't weber county need to verify what type of "curriculum" if any is being taught and if it it is similar to the other valley or weber county schools?

Doug Cardon said...

I am very new to this issue and relatively new to the Valley as well.  Would this be a "school" to which parents of troubled adolescents send their children in hopes of improving their behavior or at least getting some relief from dealing with that behavior for awhile? 

Brownfamily09 said...

Teri, what's your phone number? I would like to call and discuss this with you. Thanks. Forrest Brown, 745-0501.

Ogden Valley said...

Doug, that is exactly right. A treatment facility under the guise of a "school."

Ogden Valley said...

Forrest, thanks for your comments This original post from Ms. Busick was some 14 months ago, so it is doubtful that she will see and respond to your question.

Jssyjmsink said...

Actually one of Dr. Jared Balmer's schools gave me the opportunity to change my life. I was missing most of my high school credits but with hard work and determination on both of our parts, i was able to graduate on time with my class. I don't understand what you all have a problem with. You support kids getting help but just not in your town? It IS a credited school. I have the diploma to prove it. Dr. Balmer and Kim Delamar are two of the most positively influential people in my life.

Honestabe said...

Well, if the sign on the light pole near the intersection of 100 S and Huntsville (professionally made) is any indication, you were a “little bastard” who stole people’s “shit.”  The sign reads: “Little bastard school coming, Lock up your shit.”  Our family drove by and saw it on Monday on our way up to Causey...just drove by and saw it again nearly a week later.  If I had a ladder that would reach, I would take the sign down myself.  I consider it to be vulgar, and no different than if I saw the same kind of language spray painted on a wall near the rail road tracks.  I’m saddened to see people justify this kind of behavior. 
Congratulations on getting your degree and taking charge of your life!!

ThomasJefferson said...

Well, another defeat for those opposed to the school in the Utah Court of Appeals! What is that 0 for 5. I'd be careful about any discriminatory signs being posted, the Feds have been following this case closely; and with the recent 4th of July nonsense, I doubt they are looking favorably upon the good people of Ogden Valley!

tc said...

So much of what you are describing about Jared Balmer and the schools he has developed is inaccurate and actually offensive. First, he is one of the most respected individuals in the residential treatment industry. The schools he built were, at the time he was running them, the best of the best. These are great kids that need help, and are not violent or otherwise predatory kids that would cause more concern. Second, Jared is genuinely such an outstanding and upfront individual.