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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Closure of North Ogden Divide

Guest Post by Sally Lindsay   Resident Huntsville

I am concerned about the planned closure of the North Ogden Divide (NOD) beginning June 1st.

We have three roads in and out of the Ogden Valley. 
1. Ogden Canyon
2. Trapper’s Loop
3. North Ogden Divide 

Avon and Monte Cristo are snow covered and not useful at this time.

Causey reservoir has been full and pouring over the top of the spill way since the 14th of May.
The real melt has not begun.
The water from Causey Reservoir crosses SR – 39 shortly before the Trapper’s Loop Road.

Pineview Reservoir is 83% full according to KSL May 26th with over double its entire capacity still in the mountains.

If Causey were to break, a fair section of SR -39 between Huntsville and Trappers Loop would likely be washed out.

This would move all of the Ogden Valley traffic over the Dam, if the NOD were closed.

If water were flowing over Pineview Dam, this road could close  --  and with 200% of capacity yet to fill an 83% full reservoir, and the potential of Causey Dam water crashing into Pineview, this seems like a possibility..

Can the NOD please stay open until later in the summer when we can better access the flood situation?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

We are wishing all a Happy Memorial day.  Be sure to participate in some of the celebrations honoring our vets Monday at our local cemeteries.

American Legion Post 129 will be hosting ceremonies at each cemetery.  Additionally, the new Huntsville Veteran's Monument will be dedicated.  The monument is in honor of ALL Vets of ALL services and ALL wars. 

9 AM - Liberty Cemetery

9:30 AM - Lower Eden Cemetery

10 AM - Upper Eden Cemetery

11 AM - Huntsville Veteran's Monument Dedication - Huntsville Cemetery

12 PM - Huntsville cemetery - American Legion Ceremony

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Planning Commission Meeting Summary

By Fred

As expected, the Planning Commission voted to move the Therapeutic School item to a working meeting June 7. Everyone is invited to come and participate.

It is unfortunate that all who attended and ready to comment were not allowed to comment. I thought they could have handled it better. Even Ben Hatfield got cut off in the middle of is Staff summary.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another Important Ogden Valley Planning Commission Tonight @ 5 PM

Therapeutic School Zoning Amendment on Agenda

The meeting will be held in the:
Weber County Commission Chambers,
Weber Center (2380 Washington Blvd).
The meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m.
Huntsville resident Fred Smullin has spent many hours drafting new language for an amendment to the Weber County Zoning Ordinance that addresses the definition of a school.   Be sure to attend to support Fred's efforts (or dispute them if you feel so inclined).

From the agenda:
3-3. ZO 2011-1 Consideration and/or action on a text amendment to the Weber County Zoning Ordinance by amending the definition of “school,” and adding the definition of “Therapeutic School,” establishing facility requirements and to include “Therapeutic School” as a conditional use in the F-5, F-10, F-40, AV-3, FR-3, and CV-2 Zones (Fred Smullin, Applicant) 
Two more important items are on the agenda:
3-1. UVR 030209 Consideration and action on a request for a variance to the Weber County Subdivision Ordinance to allow an additional time extension of final approval for The Retreat at Wolf Creek Utah Subdivision Phase 1, in the RE-20 Zone, located at approximately 5334 East Elkhorn Drive (Rob Thomas for Wolf Creek Properties LC, Applicant)

3-2. Deferrals Consideration and action on a recommendation to the County Commission regarding options for deferrals of public improvements (curb, gutter, sidewalk, asphalt)
We will note the importance of item 3-1 as the proposed land in zoned RE-20, which is among the most dense zoning in Ogden Valley.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Sewer complaint filed by owners of Huntsville condos

The Mountain Sewer Corp. fiasco has made it to the pages of the Standard Examiner. Our faithful readers will remember this ongoing saga which has involved questionable billing practices, dumping raw sewage from a faulty system into the man hole of another sewer system and even raw sewage flooding the Lakeside Condos.

Read Monday's Standard article by clicking the link below:

Sewer complaint filed by owners of Huntsville condos

For more history of the Mountain Sewer Corp., click here.

From Monday's Scott Schwebke article:
Several Huntsville-area residents have filed a complaint with the Utah Public Service Commission contending Mountain Sewer Corp. failed to prevent raw sewage from entering 15 condominiums in Lakeside Village during a flood.
The article goes on to state:
The complainants are asking the Public Service Commission to inspect Mountain Sewer to prevent a recurrence of problems that happened the night of March 16.
They have also requested that the Public Service Commission audit Mountain Sewer's financial records to determine if charges to customers and prospective customers have been proper and uniform.
The complaint isn't an attempt to crucify Mountain Sewer or its owner, Ronald Catanzaro, Zini said. "All we really want is a sewer company that functions properly and bills properly," he said.

Mountain Sewer does an outstanding job serving Huntsville-area residents, said Catanzaro, who denied the allegations contained in the complaint. "I think we have been successful," he said.
Ross Hudson, a complaint specialist with the state Division of Public Utilities, said he will recommend that the Public Service Commission hold a hearing on the complaint. He declined to provide the Standard-Examiner with information regarding the grievance. However, Zini gave the newspaper a copy of the complaint and noted that Mountain Sewer serves about 125 customers in Lakeside Village, The Summit at Ski Lake and Edgewater Chalets.
Mountain Sewer and Lakeview Water Corp. in Huntsville, also owned by Catanzaro, are scheduled to be sold at a tax auction on May 26, according to the Weber County Treasurer's Office. Catanzaro owes a total of $1,722 for Mountain Sewer and $3,222 for Lakeview Water for unpaid property taxes from 2006 to 2010, records indicate.
Catanzaro said he will pay the bill this week.
What do our Ogden Valley Faithful have to say about this stinky mess?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Problems at Mountain Sewer Corporation?

Mountain Sewer Corporation is the subject of a formal complaint filed last week with the Utah Public Service Commission (PSC). The formal complaint was filed by a collective group of Mountain Sewer customers on the south end of Pineview Reservoir.

An informal complaint was filed on February 16, 2011 against Mountain Sewer. On March 16, 2011 a disastrous flood affected several town homes at the Lakeside Village complex. Raw sewage water mixed with the storm runoff flow and flooded several town homes causing considerable damage. This was due in part to a blocked storm drain that diverted storm runoff to a sanitary sewer opening maintained by Mountain Sewer. Another factor in the flooding appears to have been two sewage lift pumps owned by Mountain Sewer at the Lakeside Village town homes that have not functioned properly for several years.

The functional problems with these lift pumps had previously resulted in Mountain Sewer Corp. pumping raw sewage from the Lakeside Village sewer vaults into trucks, transporting the sewage into a gated community and dumping the raw sewage into manholes in that private community. This was the solution that Mountain Sewer chose rather than repairing the long standing problems with the lift pumps at Lakeside Village.

During the investigation following the flooding on March 16th, it was discovered that Mountain Sewer had ignored several administrative PSC regulations regarding the proximity of developed lots to the sewer company's sewer lagoons, and the road maintenance requirements for those lagoons.

The Mountain Sewer user’s complaint states that Mountain Sewer has been inconsistent and at times, remiss with it’s billing and collections of State regulated sewer fees.

Discussions with several Mountain Sewer users revealed that while some Mountain Sewer customers have received bills and paid hookup fees, pre-connection fees, and normal sewer fees over the years, others being served by Mountain Sewer have not. In the operation of State regulated utilities such as Mountain Sewer, inconsistent billing of regulated fees or collections of those fees is not an option. The regulated utility is required to accurately bill and record payments for every customer in their serving area.

Since the owner of Mountain Sewer is the same developer that also developed the surrounding area of Ski Lake, there is some understandable concern among Mountain Sewer customers of the possible commingling of funds with his other corporations, and the possible failure of the developer to pay for his own sewer fees and connection fees for lots that he owned during the past several years.

Up Date on the Issue of Heliports in the Ogden Valley, and An Appeal for You All to Join the Planning Process

By Lee Schussman, Eden

Tuesday night (4-26-11) the Ogden Valley Planning Commission tabled a decision on an application to remove “heliport” from the CV-2 zoning ordinance. The commissioners requested their staff to gather more information, and they plan to study the issue and to re-address it at their next work- session meeting on June 7, 2011.

Everyone who has an interest in the issue of helicopters in the Ogden Valley should attend the OVPC meeting on Tuesday, June 7.

Here is a brief summary of the developments in this important issue:

After 15 months of study and deliberation the OVPC rejected an application for a heliport at the Red Moose Lodge in Eden. The Weber County Commissioners up-held that decision on April 5, 2011. That action effectively blocked the possibility of a heliport in that location at this time.

After participating as much as possible in that decision-making process, Dave Holmstrom and I worried that, since “heliport” was still included on the list of conditioned uses under CV-2, anyone could, at any time, file another application for a CUP for a heliport in any CV-2 site. We therefore needed to press the issue, and we thought the best way to do that quickly would be to submit an application to remove heliport from CV-2. That application was submitted last month.

The OVPC staff reviewed that application and recommended that it not be approved. At the meeting of the OVPC last Tuesday, we were allowed the opportunity to present our application. This is a summary of part of the discussion:

We stated that, in filing the application to remove heliport from CV-2, we had two major goals:

1- to try to prevent someone from filing an application for another heliport in a CV-2 zone in the near future.
2- to try to catalyze the start of a process that would eventuate in a policy to best deal with heliports in the Ogden Valley.

We made the following points (with thanks to Ron Tymcio, Eden, for much background work):

1- There are 17 CV-2 sites. All are on the valley floor. We tried to support our contention that none of the 17 sites are suitable for a heliport.

2-The Weber County Zoning Ordinances have been changed in the last year making it now much easier for any applicant to be granted a CUP than has been the case in the past.

3- Noise issues remain a significant concern, and will only grow in the future. Many areas of the country are already struggling with problems associated with non-military helicopter use in residential areas.

4- As the helicopter designation now exists in CV-2, it would be difficult to place any restrictions (such as frequencies, flight routes, times of flights, destinations, etc.) on that CUP. Enforcement could also be difficult.

5-We could discover no documented reasons why heliport was ever placed in the CV-2. None of the other 186 uses now permitted or conditioned under CV-2 could ever make as much of an impact impact on the Ogden Valley as could a heliport

We concluded that heliports are a very unique and specialized use, and as such they require special attention. We urged the commissioners to remove heliports from the current CV-2 so that an application for a CUP (in those current CV-2 sites) could not be filed in the near future. We also expressed the hope that this discussion could serve as a catalyst for a carefully planned process to study heliports in the Ogden Valley--a process that would involve public input, careful research, and thoughtful discussion so as to arrive at the best possible decisions as to where, when, if, and how heliports would be sited in the Ogden Valley.

During the presentation, Mr. Rob Scott, Director of the Planning Office, stated that, since an application that could result in the changing of the CUP ordinance was in progress, his office could hold the processing of any CUP applications for a heliport pending the outcomes of the ordinance changes. (During subsequent discussion, the legal council supported Mr. Scott and added that, although the county would still be obligated to accept applications for any CUP, the processes to grant that CUP could be held.)

We viewed that as very welcome information that largely achieved our first goal.

In spite of the lateness of the hour, and in spite of having spent several hours working on other difficult issues, the commissioners devoted significant time and energy to discussing our application.

They welcomed our input and presentation. They urged us, and all of the valley residents, to continue to be actively participating in this (and other) issues. They stated that they would make accommodations for their deliberations to be open and transparent and that public input would be scheduled at some of their meetings.

They did not think that the future resolution of this issue was clear enough to vote “yes-or-no” on removing heliport from CV-2 at this time. So a final vote on our application was tabled. We feel it was a very positive discussion and a reasonable decision.

That decision (plus the reassurance that it is very unlikely that anyone could at this time be granted a CUP in the current CV-2 areas) enables us all to proceed with the next phases of this endeavor: data gathering, further analysis, public input, and then the development of a reasoned policy. 

Commissioner Warburton stressed that public input does have, and will continue to have, a very large impact on the development of this important policy.

The OVPC will have a work session on Tuesday, June 7. (Preparatory to that meeting, the staff was requested to gather more information.) At that meeting, the OVPC will begin the task of developing an over-all policy with regard to heliports in the Ogden Valley. Chairman Siegel announced that their deliberations will be open to the public. (Public input may be allowed at this meeting. But if not at this meeting certainly at future meetings.) All Ogden Valley residents who have an interest in this issue should plan to attend the OVPC meeting on Tuesday, June 7th; as this is a time that we can start to really make a difference in establishing an over-all policy. Please put your thoughts together and plan to attend that work session.

During our discussions with fellow residents, these are some of the types of questions that have been asked and that we would hope to be addressed during some phases of this process:

Where should heliports be placed?
How many heliports do we need?
Should heliports be placed on the valley floor?
Should heliports only be placed above 6200 feet?
How much noise is a tolerable level?
How can we best support a business for heli-skiing and balance the community good?
Re heli-skiing destinations: can operators be obligated to set them up to ensure the safety of other skiers in the destination area?
Are there other business or personal uses anticipated for heliports—eg: sight seeing, transportation, hunting access, timber cutting, transportation,  etc.?
Can conditions (flight times, flight paths, numbers of flights per day, etc) be placed to mitigate concerns?
Should our efforts be restricted to heliports or should the include fixed wing aircraft?
If heliports are placed in the RDD-1 zones, does that mean they can use Nordic Valley/Wolf Mt? If not, is that resort being unfairly being discriminated against?
Should we include heliports at all in any zoned areas? 
Are there sites in F-10 and F40 zones that can be used?
Is a CUP needed for the destination sites?
Do we want to zone land heliports so as to support regular helicopter service between Snow Basin and the SLC area? If so, should Powder Mountain and or Nordic Valley/Wolf Mountain be included in that zoning?
Can we learn from the heli-skiing operation based out of SnowBird?
Sun Valley has a full airport that is basically in town. Should we study that facility to see what they have done well and what has been problematic?
Can CPU’s be issued that restrict who/what types of helicopters can use them?

Please put your thoughts together and please attend the next OVPC meeting on June 7, 2011 to hear the deliberations and possibly to take place in the discussion.