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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Interest in Purchasing Powder Mountain by California Company Confirmed in This Morning's Standard Examiner

The story we broke on February 16, 2012, is discussed in this morning's Standard Examiner article written by Scott Schwebke: 

Unorthodox California company thinking of buying Powder Mountain
From the article,
Patrick Lundin, marketing manager for Powder Mountain, identified the company as Summit Series, based in Malibu.
“They are looking at the mountain and doing their due diligence,” Lundin said Tuesday. “There will be an official press release once the deal is done.”
When asked by the Standard-Examiner if Powder Mountain is available for purchase, Lundin remarked that “everything is for sale.”
 Rudi also highlights the article in his post this morning over at the Weber County Forum.

Our readers will also remember this breaking February 22 story:

 BREAKING: Summit Series trying to raise $40 million to purchase Powder Mountain

It seems that this deal may be near.  Who will be the first to comment?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ogden Valley Planning Commission Meeting Tonight @ 5

Heliport, Assisted Living Center, and Sweeping Changes to Subdivision and Administrative ordinances

The agenda is full Tonight.  Here are the details:

Weber County Commission Chambers,
Weber Center (2380 Washington Blvd).
at 5:00 p.m.

Here are some of the high points of the agenda along with our brief commentary highlighted in italics. 
2.1. CUP 2012-01 Consideration and action for approval of a Conditional Use Permit CUP2012-01 for a heliport located east of Green Hill Country Estates at 1600 North Maple Street approximately two-thirds of a mile from the Maple Street cul-de-sac within the Forest 40 Zone (F-40) (Timothy Charlwood, Applicant) 

No time was wasted following the approval of the new heliport ordinance.
2.2. CUP 2011-06 Consideration and action on a conditional use permit application for a public utility substation (cellular site at approximately 95 Ogden Canyon Road) in the Forest Residential 1 Zone (FR-1)(Doug Kofford, Agent for TAIC, and David Hardman, Owner) 
Site is at Perry Camp near the restored kiln.
2.3. ZTA 2012-2 Consideration and Action on an amendment to Chapter 18B (Commercial Valley Zones CV-1 and CV-2) of the Weber County Zoning Ordinance to allow assisted living facility as permitted use. 
Dan Phelps has purchased the Red Moose Lodge and plans on converting it to an Assisted Living Facility.  He just needs a zoning amendment.
2.4. ZO-2010-10 Consideration and action for approval of staff amendments to the Weber County Zoning Ordinance Chapter 1 (General Provisions), Chapter 9-A (Shoreline Zone (S-1), Chapter 23 (Supplementary and Qualifying Regulations), Chapter 24 (Parking and Loading Space, Vehicle Traffic and Access Regulations), Chapter 29 (Board of Adjustment), Chapter 31 (Administration), and Chapter 36-B (Hillside Development Review Procedures and Standards) regarding the Weber Board of Adjustment.
Many of these proposed changes give the planning department more administrative authority while taking away from our local resident appointed Ogden Valley Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustment.  
Think here about the Green Valley Academy being called a school because a planning department staffer decided that it met the definition.  Also, remember the in house approval of an Elk Cutting Facility, only to rescind it a few months later.

Both were done in house without the oversight of the planning commission, and now the Planning Department wants more.  We say, "More Transparency, not less."
2.5. ZTA 2010-8 Consideration and Action on an amendment to Chapter 1 of the Weber County Subdivision Ordinance (General Provision – Filing Preliminary and Final plats). 
The Planing Commission is available by clicking here.

It's going to be an exciting meeting.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Weber High Girls To Play For State 5A Title - UPDATED

The Weber High Girls Basketball team defeated Riverton 50-42 today and will now face Region 1 rival Syracuse Saturday for the Utah State 5A Championship.

Game time is 1 pm at the Salt Lake Community College in their Lifetime Learning Center.

One of Weber's star players is Chantil Martin of Liberty.

Dress in Red and Black, make the short drive to Salt Lake, and cheer on the Warriors.

UPDATE: 2/25/12 @ 5pm 
After trailing by just one point 26-25 at halftime, the Lady Warriors came up short in a 63-50 finish.  The Syracuse Titans finished the season undefeated with a 22-0 record while the Weber Warriors ended the season 18-7. 
This marks the first time in history that the Weber High Girls have gone to the state finals.  We-think second place ain't half bad.

Three arrested in Pineview boating death

Thanks to our faithful reader Smatguy for the tip

From the Weber County Sheriff's Office's Facebook page:
Today Weber County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested and booked three suspects regarding the August 21, 2011 Pine View death of Esther Fujimoto.
And from the Standard Examiner:
The Weber County Sheriff’s Office has arrested three people in connection with the Aug. 21, 2011, death of Pineview Reservoir swimmer Esther Fujimoto.Colton Raines, Skyler Shepherd and Robert Cole Boyer were arrested Friday .
Fujimoto died after being struck by a boat while swimming in the reservoir.
Raines and Shepherd have been booked into Weber County Jail on suspicion of reckless endangerment, obstruction of justice, and leaving the scene of a boating accident, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office. Boyer has been booked on suspicion of obstruction of justice.

Formal charges are expected to be filed on Monday, according to Chief Deputy County Attorney Gary Heward.
 The arrests were 7 months after the death.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Board of Adjustments Agrees With Ombudsman and County Commissioners

We just heard that the Board of Adjustments sided with the neighbors in the appeal by Garret Jones.  Our readers will remember that the county planners issued a conditional use permit but later rescinded it after reviewing a decision from the ombudsman.  The Jones' were operating an elk processing facility in the AV-3 zone.

One of our faithful readers posted an analysis of last night's meeting, and we will post Richard Sorensen's play by play comments here:

I attended the Board of Adjustments meeting tonight and took a few notes.
The meeting started with Doug Dickson stating he had a conflict of interest.   There was a lengthy discussion, but ultimately Doug recused himself and an alternate took his spot.   The alternate was Rex Mumford, of Huntsville.   That process took about 30 minutes.

Jason Nelson, the attorney representing the Jones', made his case stating that the meat cutting was ancillary to the domestic elk farm.  He went on to say that there was one large business (a domestic elk ranch) and several smaller businesses,  all working under the umbrella of the larger business.  Those businesses include an Elk Hunting operation and a meat cutting operation.

Board member Phil Hancock asked, "Who owns the Elk once blood is drawn."  Attorney Nelson had Garrett Jones step up to the mike to answer and Garret concurred that once shot, then the elk is the shooter's property.

Deone Smith asked Garet several questions about disturbing the neighbors.  She asked, "What remedies have you taken to appease the neighbors?"    She also asked if he had tried talking with the neighbors.

They also said that while licensed to cut all types of meat, the Jones' business was limited to Elk.  They also said that the Elk arrive beheaded , cleaned and skinned.

Attorney Jodi Hoffman, representing neighbor Brett Barry, then made her presentation.  She stated that Brett is 130' from the facility.  She showed a nighttime picture of a hog hanging by its feet that appeared  ready to be slaughtered.  She also showed a hand painted sign that said,
Prime Cut Co
Wild Game, Beef, etc.
Cut and packaged
The Jones' attorney countered by stating that the hog belonged to a family member and was a onetime event.

After both sides rested, Rex Mumford made a motion to allow citizens to comment on the matter while limiting the comments to no more than three minutes.  No one seconded the motion, and the motion died for lack of a second.

The board decided to deliberate in private and present their decision in public.
Their unanimous decision was to uphold the ombudsman and county commission's recommendation.

Richard Sorensen

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BREAKING: Summit Series trying to raise $40 million to purchase Powder Mountain

Business Insider just posted this article on their website:

 Summit Series, The Exclusive Retreat For Bigshots, Is Trying To Raise Money To Buy A Mountain

From the article:
A source passed along this pitch from Summit Series:
I wanted to reach out to let you know about our next exciting project. We would love to get you in the game. It is completely private information at this point (so please keep the contents of this email and all attachments private), but Summit Series is in the process of acquiring some permanent space; we are buying Powder Mountain, UT. The goal is to re-create a culture year-round for innovation, entrepreneurship and kindness. We're in the process of bringing in our founding members, offering very aggressive financial incentive for those coming in that early and it would be great to have you out to the mountain to check it out.
We're hearing that Summit is looking for 40 investors to kick in $1 million each to pay $40 million for Powder Mountain, but we haven't been able to confirm that.

Our sources have said that the Summit Series group has put down between $10 and $20 million dollars on the property, and it looks like they are trying to raise a bit more.

The Business Insider story continues with:
A local blog, the Ogden Valley Utah Forum, also reported that Summit Series is a rumored suitor for the deal. But it didn't have a price tag for the deal, either.

Do you have a spare $1 million you wish to invest?  Are big changes in store for Ogden Valley?

REMINDER: Board of Adjustment meeting this afternoon @ 4:30 PM

Here are the details:

Weber County Center
2380 Washington Ogden UT
February 22, 2012
Time 4:30 pm 
The Agenda is an appeal by Richard Ralph Jones & Rulon Kent Jones represented by Garet Jones, land Use Permit LUP 64 2011

This permit is for the Meat Elk Processing & Packing business in the neighborhood of 4100 N 3800 E Liberty UT.
Our readers will remember the ongoing Elk Processing saga, but just in case you need to brush up, we'll include a link here. 
If you would like to review the agenda, click here.

Attend the meeting then update us by posting the results in the comments section at the end of the meeting.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rumors abound over possible sale of Powder Mountain Resort - UPDATED

It was assumed by many that when the owners of Powder Mountain purchased the property a few years ago, they likely planned to get their property rezoned to maximize the number of building lots then flip the property to make millions.  Our readers will remember the tumultuous times over the last few years with the Powderville saga.  Ultimately, the owners worked out a deal with the Weber County Commission whereas Powder Mountain Town plan would be dropped in exchange for increased zoning.

Well, the day of flipping may be near.

We first heard strong rumors of a potential sale a few weeks ago, but kept quiet.  As time went on, we began to hear more and more rumors from many reliable sources.  Reliable enough that we will share some of the rumor but will note that Powder Mountain is staying quiet for now.

The word on the street is that a group of young (under 30), wealthy entrepreneurs are interested in purchasing Powder Mountain as a site for a retreat.  A place where they can gather, share ideas, and do great things.  Apparently these investors care about communities, give millions to charity and believe in partnering to do good things to protect the environment.

The rumor goes on to state that the group has been in the valley the past few weeks and have put down a very large sum of money on the property and has submitted a letter of intent to purchase the property.  Supposedly, their desire is to build a few homes (substantially less than the 5,000 or so that was approved), construct a retreat or convention center, and keep the rest of the mountain relatively status quo.  In other words, preserve the land.

This sounds like a potential win for Ogden Valley, and we are crossing our fingers (and a couple of toes) in hopes that at least part of the rumor is true - especially the part about preserving the land.

Have others heard about the rumor?  Who will be the first to comment.

UPDATE:  2/17/12 @ 10:40 AM  Several of our humble readers have added to the rumor mill, and we will share some of it here:

The Summit Group or Summit Series is rumored to be the "investor."

Here is their web site.

One of the Summit Series founders was at Pow Mow last weekend.

This verifies it- scroll down to see someone (presumably Josh) on a Pow Mow Snowmobile.
Word is that there is a balloon payment of some sort due in April for one or more of the current investors.  There are several interested parties and the Summit Group is one.  
Rumor also has it that Gregg Greer, Powder Mountain CEO, attended a meeting in Squaw Valley put on by this group last month.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Police Services From Weber County Sheriff's Office To Increase

An issue that will impact all Ogden Valley (and Weber County) residents was highlighted on the front page of Sunday's Standard Examiner in this Scott Schwebke article.
 Weber sheriff seeks more from cities office serves

In essence, Sheriff Terry Thompson and his staff has been evaluating the contracts between the Weber County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) and the 8 cities that the WCSO provides Police service to with the hope of treating each Weber County citizen equally.
 From the Standard:
Several factors prompted the contract study and proposed fee increases, said Thompson, including:
* The legality of requiring Weber County residents who live in cities that have police departments, like Ogden, to pay for sheriff's services through property taxes while receiving minimal benefits;
* Financial challenges resulting in a need for the sheriff's office to examine its organization and operations;
* Each contract between the WCSO and the eight cities is uniquely crafted. Some officials in the eight municipalities have expressed concern regarding the equity and fairness of their contracts in comparison to others, said Thompson. In addition, some communities pay a larger share of funds for sheriff's services than others on a per taxpayer or per capita basis, he said.
Currently, Weber County residents who live in cities with police departments pay for local law enforcement through municipal taxes and the sheriff's office services through county property taxes. However, residents who live in unincorporated Weber County and the eight contact cities pay only for sheriff's services.
"In short, some taxpayers pay for two police departments: One they use frequently, such as their city police department, and the WCSO that they use much less, if at all," said Thompson. "Other taxpayers pay only for WCSO law enforcement services which is their only police department. This is not equitable and probably not legal."
Under state law, only those services that the WCSO provides to all residents should be paid by all taxpayers, Thompson said.
The Cities have until the end of March to decide if they want to continue to have WCSO continue to provide their Police services.

The article goes on to state:
The proposal for the eight contract cities includes a cost formula based on each municipality's population and an 18-month call history.
The proposal also calls for the county to take less in property taxes from all county residents.
For example, an individual with a $200,000 home would get a $24 county tax reduction annually, said Anderson.
However, this could mean that some taxpayers in the eight contracting cities will see an increase in local taxes to fund WCSO services and an offsetting decrease in county property taxes, said Thompson.
In addition, those who live in cities that already have a police department will see a reduction in county property taxes and a net decrease in taxes overall.
"This will result in a tax shift to those who primarily benefit from the sheriff's office law enforcement services," Thompson said.
The proposal is meant to be revenue-neutral, meaning it won't provide extra funding for his office but will cover costs for services, said Thompson.
As the graphic above depicts,  in addition to the eight cities, the WCSO has included "Unincorporated areas."  This means us - unincorporated Ogden Valley.

The fee for incorporated Huntsville Town is slated to double from $28,590 to $56,425 while the fees for unincorporated areas will nearly triple, from $540,000 to $1,449,124.

The Standard has also posted a more detailed explanation from Sheriff Thompson that is available here:

Discussing county protection plans for Weber County

Sheriff Thompson explains that this is a "tax shift" rather than a tax increase, although the residents of the contract cities and unincorporated Weber County may see an overall tax increase.
Implementation of Shift in Taxes – It would not make sense for the county to pass on more of the costs of WCSO law enforcement to contract cities and unincorporated communities, while maintaining the current tax rates and collecting the same amount of revenue from all county residents.  As the burden of these costs is passed on to contract cities and unincorporated communities, the burden to the county and the general fund is lessened.  Part of this proposal is that the contract cities and unincorporated county will be required to pay more for law enforcement services, and as a result the county will take less in property taxes from these cities and all county residents.  This offset “tax shift” will mean that some taxpayers will see both an increase in local or city taxes and an offsetting decrease in county property taxes.  On the other hand, other county taxpayers, since they live in cities that already have a city police department, will see a reduction in the county property tax and a net decrease in taxes overall.  This cost formula will result in a “tax shift” to those who primarily benefit from the sheriff’s office law enforcement services making contracts fair, equitable, and legal.

In the end, when one looks at his property tax statement this fall, the line item amount for Weber County will likely decrease, while their City Property taxes will likely increase.  And it will likely be a net increase for those in Huntsville and Unincorporated Ogden Valley.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Weber County Board of Adjustment meeting- Be there!!!

Weber County Center
2380 Washington Ogden UT
February 22, 2012
Time 4:30 pm

The Agenda is an appeal by Richard Ralph Jones & Rulon Kent Jones represented by Garet Jones
land Use Permit LUP 64 2011

This permit is for the Meat Elk Processing & Packing business in our neighborhood around 4100 N 3800 E Liberty UT

We have experienced Semi Trucks early morning & midday Pickup trucks & flat bed trucks with uncovered full animal carcasses.
A honey bucket is in the Public Right of way. The front of the building is 29 feet from the public right of way.

This single permit like this can set a president for all of Weber County. We are asking Ogden Valley residents that are concerned to attend and provide input on this issue.

Contact Sandy Tuck at 801-745-6687 or Scott Mendoza at 801-399-8764 with any questions.

Sandy Tuck

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Huntsville Town To Hold Public Meeting Tonight Regarding Valley School Property

Potential Development Designs To Be Unveiled

The town of Huntsville will be hosting a public meeting to discuss potential plans for the former Valley school property.

Here are the details:

February 2, 2012
6:00 PM
Ogden Valley Branch of the Weber County Library

The meeting has been getting some press as of late.  It was in the last two issues of the Ogden Valley News and was also in last Sunday's Standard Examiner.

Yesterday, we received the following notice via the Huntsville Town Email list:
As reported in the last couple Huntsville Town Council and Huntsville Planning Commission meetings, the Town recently completed the purchasing of the vacant property where the old Valley School stood.  The purchase was made possible by the combination of a Federal community development block grant (CDBG) and a bank loan.  The grant made this important acquisition possible, but requires the building of a new Town maintenance building which will replace the dilapidated current facilities. Approximately 2 acres will be used for this purpose, leaving over half the total area available for other uses.  Removing a part of the road between the park and school property to blend them together better and provide more usable acreage has also been discussed.

Potential uses for the available acreage that have been suggested include:

  • Multi-use sports field (soccer, lacrosse, football, baseball, etc.)
  • Performing arts complex
  • Cluster of commercial buildings for shops/restaurant adjacent to the current downtown area
  • Assisted living facility
  • Stage/outdoor music area
  • Weber Pathways trailhead station

The Town Council will be sponsoring a public meeting on February 2, 2012 at 6:00 PM at the Weber County Library, Ogden Valley Branch to solicit inputs from residents/developers on ideas for the development of this land.  Anyone interested in learning more is encouraged to attend.  
As always meetings are your chance to provide your inputs prior to any usage decisions being finalized.  Please consider attending, or contacting any of your council/commission members and participating in the process!!

Click here to view the agenda
From Sunday's Standard Examiner:

Hearing set for old school property in Huntsville

For the sake of starting off the conversation, what would you like to see on the old school site?  

As Rudi says, "Don't let the cat get your tongue."