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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weber County Forum Exclusive: Standard-Examiner: Weber County to Back $22.5M Bond to Improve Powder Mountain

The Weber County Forum offers a fantastic synopsis to the recent brouhaha regarding the Assessment bond between Weber County and the Summit Group.  In fact, it is so incredible we will include it in it's entirety below.

From the Weber County Forum:
Keeping our fingers crossed that our Weber County Commissioners will yield to the highest principles of open government in the future

With reference to the discussion we've been having over the past couple of days concerning the County's proposal to issue an assessment bond to fund public road, water and sewer improvements within and around the Summit Group's Powder Mountain 1500 acre property, we'll shine the spotlight on this morning's Standard-Examiner story, reporting that the Weber County Commission "cranked up the throttle to full speed ahead" and voted yesterday morning to approve such bonding for a 20-year term, in an amount of $22.5 million :

"The commission will also hold a public hearing during its regular April 9 meeting regarding a conditional-use permit for" [the related] "Summit at Powder Mountain Phase 1, which consists of a 154-unit residential development," the Standard-Examiner story also inexplicably reports, possibly in part to placate any irate Weber County citizens who might still feel miffed about being cut out of the discussion on the bonding matter.

As a whole however, the S-E's Jesus Lopez, Jr. hits all the major points and  provides his S-E readership with an efficient, informative and reassuring writeup, which also dovetails nicely with our own earlier WCF Nutshell Summary, wethinks.

While we remain unhappy with the Commission's troubling lapses which we've noted regarding pre-vote public information and comment which launched some Weber County citizens off on a "tizzy" over the past few days, as we've previously said, we regard this bond measure as benign to Weber County taxpayer interests, nevertheless. So at this late date we'll somewhat begrudgingly resolve to "chalk it all up" by invoking the old, tried-and-true sports axiom: "No harm; no foul," we suppose.

Having said that of course, we're still hoping that the Commissioners will yield to the highest principles of open government from this point on, and invite the lumpencitizens of Weber County into the information loop, well prior to putting its next multi-million dollar bonding deal on the table.

Hopefully Commissioners Bell, Gibson and Zogmaister will "write this latter advice down so they don't forget it," in the interest avoiding any similar future bouts of painful Weber County taxpayer heartburn, if you know what we mean; and we think you do....

And what say YOU about all this, folks?


vermel said...

22.5 mil? what happened to 17 mil? Cost over runs already? Brace yourself Effie!

Emma Believer said...

What is it about becoming a weber county commissioner that makes it irresistible to prostrate one's self at the feet of developers- any developers- and lavish them with special treatment and favors that the average weber county schlep citizen couldn't possibly hope for? This time they have handed self-admitted super rich kids a multi-million dollar gift of lower interest rates on their infrastructure borrowing. Why? The kids certainly don’t need it; just listen to them brag about how much money they have. Did they assert that the development wouldn't happen without county largesse? Certainly not; if they had,it would have been a lie. So, why? Exactly what did weber county get out of this deal? Aything? Nothing? The satisfaction of once again proving that the weber county commission will do anything a developer asks or demands of it?

FormerPowMowSkier said...

This whole thing stinks. Its another case of public officials falling for a developer's sale pitch. Make no mistake about it, whatever the Summit Group really is and despite their superlative PR efforts, they are still DEVELOPERS. The primary goal of a developer is to make money while minimizing their own risk and leveraging whatever dollars they must invest by using other source's money.

I love the fact that Weber County taxpayers are "protected" if the developer has to forfeit the bond payment by having the property as collateral. Right. If a developer is not able repay the bond, its doubtful the county would could recoup anything near the value of the bond. (unless they get the entire ski resort rather than just the phase I property).

There are not a lot of buyers willing to take a risk on Powder Mountain development as evidenced by the amount of time it took the Cobabe family to sell the resort, the difficulty the first buyer had obtaining financing to fund his plans and the follow-on buyer's lack of effort to develop anything other than to "flip" the resort for a profit once their "Power Town" initiative ran into legal roadblocks.

For further evidence of the difficulty of doing a development at Powder Mt, take a look at the "Luxury Condos" at the entrance to the Timberline Parking Lot and at the "hole in the ground" just north of the Powder Ridge condos.

I also find it simply unbelievable that the roads into the 103 unit Phase I PRUD will be maintained by the county. Are the county commissioners nuts?? How are they going to plow those roads when the state has enough problems just keeping THE ROAD to Powder Mt open. Someone commented on another blog that the county assumes responsibility for roads in developments all the time. True, but not for roads at 8500 feet in elevation that get 500 inches of snow annually, that can get snow 7-8 months of the year and that are subject to mountain top winds that can cause snow drifts in very short periods of time. The county is going to have to base plows at the mountain or else they will risk leaving the roads in the valley and canyon unplowed for unacceptably long periods of time. The developers succeeded in getting the county to assume a major risk and expense for what should be a private road. (we can't use the trails in the area of the development but we can plow their roads for them?)

Things change, but in this case, even with all the 'smoke and mirrors' the Summit Group is using, its still a high risk development which will provlde little or no benefit to the taxpayers of Weber County and the Ogden Valley.