Update to the General Plan

December 7

Our Planning Commission met December 1 and adjourned to a “work session” where they could discuss the update to the General Plan in a less formal atmosphere…no votes happen in a work session. The public can attend but can only speak if invited to by the Commission.

In any case, Jim Carter from Logan Simpson Design (the consulting firm working on the update) and Charles Ewert from the county planning staff presented DRAFT1 of the update to the Planning Commission. Here is what I heard…

  • The most troublesome ideas in DRAFT1, the “belt route” from Wolf Creek to Trappers and  turning most of the Valley where people live into a receiving area for TDR,  will both be removed in draft 2. Public outcry on these two concepts was loud and negative.
  • Ogden Canyon will get more attention in draft 2, specifically language saying we value Ogden Canyon as a recreation, commercial and housing asset worth preserving, not merely as a transportation and utility corridor.
  • The Planning Commissioners say they will slow down the updating process to make sure we are replacing our current plan with something better. However, there is a desire on the part of our consultants and county planning staff to move things along.

We can expect to see DRAFT2 in early January, followed by a second round of public comment period (probably 30 days again).

November 16

The public has until November 30 to submit comments about DRAFT1 of the update to the General Plan.

The DRAFT is quite long and complex, so here is a readable summary of the visions, goals, policies and implementation steps in DRAFT1.

Also you can read Kimbal Wheatley comments on DRAFT1 Nov 16. The first page is kind of a one-page summary of what is going on in DRAFT1 and the next 13 pages are comments about vision, goals, policy and implementations he has submitted to the county.

The DRAFT contains a “future land use map” (map 2) which contains area definitions that will supersede current zones. In a nutshell, land defined as agricultural, rangeland, designated open space, Pineview shoreline, Ogden Canyon, Valley Gateways or sensitive lands will not be getting any additional density beyond what is already allowed. Instead, a variety of schemes encourage the transfer of the development rights to two other areas, small villages and “Rural Residential.”

The small villages are located on top of current commercial zones, but they are encouraged to grow in both density and size as development rights are transferred there. The other “receiving area” for TDRs is the “Rural Residential” areas where a kind of TDR free-for-all is encouraged, since development rights can be transferred from, to or within the rural residential areas.  In other words, you might sell a development right from your land to reduce density in your area, only to have someone else buy some and transfer it next door. If water and sewer is available, it looks like a developer can buy TDR and subdivide land with very small lot sizes in what looks like most of the Valley. The theory is that the open space it leaves behind will be worth the intrusion of very high density (perhaps) on the vacant land adjacent to you.

October  27

The long waited for draft update to the General Plan is now available and it appears the consultant and county will be accepting comments until the end of November. The GEM committee continues to request a longer vetting period to consider the implications of the proposed changes to our General Plan…we shall see.

There are community presentation/input sessions about the draft scheduled October 28 at our library and October 29 at Snowcrest. Click here for detail about times, places and what to expect.

August  31

Charles Ewert and the consultants from Logan Simpson Design released Newsletter 1.2, a document containing the vision and principles the update to the General Plan will be based on.  Click here to see the document: Gen Plan update Newsletter 1.2

Sometime before year’s end these concepts will get baked into the General Plan update and presented to the Planning Commission. But before that happens there will be public meetings to further vet the concepts.
This is time for us to scrutinize the vision and principles.
  • Can you get behind the emerging vision for the Valley?
  • Are the principles clear and understandable?
  • Are principles missing that need to be included?
  • Will the principles lead to the goals and policies we need?
  • Are the principles restrictive enough to stop unwanted consequences?
I hope for a lively discussion on Wednesday.

August 14

An email from Charles Ewert and a subsequent chat with him, provides some assurance there will be opportunity for public review of the the updated General Plan before it is presented to the OVPC for formal adoption. Charlie is the lead county planner on the General Plan update and will soon be asking the County Commission to approve an extension to the Logan Simpson contract to allow further time and opportunity for public input.

It looks like the contract with Logan Simpson will be extended from end-of-August to December, so we should expect the final report then.

Meanwhile, Charlie says one or more public meetings will present the ideas being promoted in the Plan, which should reflect the sentiment of Valley residents. No doubt, the report will include something like “…this Plan is a valid representation of the wishes of Valley residents…hundreds participated, several meetings, several surveys, website, etc.” It will be our job to make sure any proposed changes to our General Plan are in fact desired by the people who live here.

Here is what Charlie says will happen (from his email)…

The draft plan will go through a formal public vetting process in advance of planning commission review which will include another open house and a workshop.

We will be releasing a document in the next couple of weeks that will provide verification with the public all of the policy direction that we received from the public through the public process. There will be a chance for the public to give additional comments at that time (or anytime, frankly). There are additional possibilities for more public outreach being explored if this document does not provide the validation the public is seeking at this time.


August 13, 2015

Today I wrote this email to Sean Wilkinson (head of the county Planning Department) and copied GEM.

Hi Sean,

I am hearing that the Logan Simpson update to the General Plan will be available in October or November, but will NOT BE REVEALED TO THE PUBLIC until it is first reviewed, perhaps even adopted, by the Planning Commission and County Commissions.  Please say it isn’t so.

Any change to our General Plan is a legislative matter, the one place in our planning process where the public voice is both necessary and expected. And we have exactly this one and only chance to get it right.

A couple of hundred of us participated in multiple surveys and public meetings to provide input, but only a few have any idea of the conclusions Logan Simpson is drawing from that input. Indeed, the lead consulting partner quit midway and we have no confidence that whoever is picking up the pieces will draw the right conclusions. Few quarrel with the overwhelming view that the methods used by Logan Simpson were flawed and a rushed report to conclude the project is exactly the wrong thing to do…it will make the whole public process a sham. We Valley residents need to be able to look at the whole of the new General Plan and decide if the consultants from Logan Simpson have drawn valid conclusions from our input.

I fear that unless we have a transparent and lengthy debate about recommendations to change the General Plan, any changes will be rejected as an invalid representation of what Valley residents were saying throughout the process. As you well know, our only hope of developing and adopting the necessary supporting ordinances flows from general public support of the goals.

Please think transparency and opportunity for public validation.



We are hearing that the Logan Simpson update to the General Plan will be available in October or November, but will NOT BE REVEALED TO THE PUBLIC until it is first reviewed, perhaps even adopted, by the Planning Commission and County Commissions.  This is non-sense!

Any change to our General Plan is a legislative matter, the one place in our planning process where the public voice is both necessary and expected. And we have exactly this one and only chance to get it right.

A couple of hundred of us participated in multiple surveys and public meetings to provide input, but only a few have any idea of the conclusions Logan Simpson is pulling from it. Indeed, the lead consulting partner quit midway and we have no confidence in whoever is picking up the pieces. Few quarrel with the overwhelming view that the methods used by Logan Simpson were flawed and a rushed report to conclude the project is exactly the wrong thing to do. We Valley residents need to be able to look at the whole of the new General Plan and decide if the consultants from Logan Simpson have drawn valid conclusions from our input.

Contact Sean at the Planning Office or Laura Warburton of the OVPC and demand an extensive public vetting of proposed changes before the process of changing our General Plan takes place.


Thanks to Ron for these notes:

On July 7 at 11 am there was a combined OVPC and County commission meeting to review the status of the OV General Plan.  Minimal attendance from the public with Ron Gleason, Miranda and Richard Menzies and Jan Fulmer.

Major points, others please jump in and add areas that I have missed

  • Two new OVPC members attended
    • Steve Walldrup (sp?) and Jami Taylor
  • All three Commissioners were in attendance
  • Buck has left Logan Simpson but is volunteering his time to assist with transition
    • Jan and/or Miranda can you jump in here and remember who is taking the lead role at Logan Simpson
  • Logan Simpson the process and how they got to where they are at
    • 500+ participants engaged
      • Commissioner Bell if the large land owners were involved as he feels they typically hear from folks that own a 3 acre parcel that have no stake in the future
        • LS – yes one on one
    • Where are they?
      • Actual plan development to be completed by end of September 2015
    • “Planning Fatigue” occurring in the valley
      • many activities and groups since 1998
    • “The Usual suspects” were at the gatherings
    • Reviewed growth for communities throughout Northern UT with emphasis that most communities around Ogden will be built out by 2020
      • Ogden Valley was referred to as ‘the future development area” within Weber COunty
      • Redevelopment is much more expensive than development
  •  Emphasis on transportation, water and waste water
    • Transportation – Ogden Canyon will degrade to unacceptable levels by 2020
      • UDOT spoken with and they believe that letting service levels fail and then determine how to fix them is the way to go
    • Water
      • They understand UGS not complete till late 2016 or 2017
    • Waste Water
      • Commissioner Bell asked numerous times if centralized waste water was going to be recommended
  •   Charlie Ewert reviewed the web site

newspaper articles…

On this page we will collect articles about the General Plan update publish in the Valley News and link to newspaper articles in the bigger papers.

Here is a letter to the editor published in the Valley News, March 2015: letter to editor langford.

Town hall meetings

April 30 Logan Simpson Design conducted a “town hall” type meeting at the Library.

Link to the presentations made in the meeting

Link to the concepts they recorded from the workshops…a vision may be emerging.

Revision to Conditional Use ordinances

Revisions to conditional use permitting process approved

The Ogden Valley Planning Commission recommended approval of the revisions at their July 28, 2015 meeting.  The County Commission has the final say, but they usually accept such recommendations.

Conditional uses and the conditional use permitting process is being revised.

The Ogden Valley Township Planning Commission (OVTPC) has embarked on an ambitious project that will have major impacts on the growth and development of the Ogden Valley. This is the time –-beginning this week– for everyone who is interested in the growth and development of the valley to become active in that process. The project entails the re-writing and codifying of the ordinances that govern all land use in the Valley. These ordinances currently comprise many pages of arcane, complicated, and even conflicting laws.

The proposed CUP and Land Use codes will ultimately determine what the Ogden Valley will be in the future. If that is important to you, get involved in these processes now.

Revising these ordinances will be a two-step process:

  1.  A major change is occurring in the processes governing the granting of a Conditional Use Permit. This needs our attention NOW.
  2. A re-formatting of the entire Land Use Table for the Ogden Valley. This effort is just starting and will continue for at least six months.

Link to the staff report to OVPC which contains all changes proposed to the CUP permitting process. This is a big file and takes a while to display…and you will have to scroll through the first part of the May 5 OVPC agenda to get to the part where changes to the CUP process are proposed.

Link to the County Website where you can view or download the current revisions to the Land Use Tables and thinking by the planning staff.

The revision of the processes involved in the granting of a Weber County Conditional Use Permit (CUP)

The current Weber County and Utah State codes state:

A conditional use shall be approved if reasonable conditions are proposed, or can be imposed, to mitigate the reasonably anticipated detrimental effects of the proposed use in accordance with applicable standards.

The OVTPC (and many other local governmental agencies) and Ogden Valley landowners have all struggled with the CUP processes. The OVTPC is legally obligated (CUP “SHALL be approved”) to approve CUP applications under the above statute. Under the current code, the OVTPC has been markedly constrained by having only a short list of examples of “anticipated detrimental effects” which they can legally consider in their deliberations. In part because of these constraints, many individuals are become increasingly cynical of the entire process. They often believe there are likely to be detrimental effects yet often feel they are not heard or understood during public comments.

During the OVTPC meeting on May 5, 2015, Sean Wilkinson, Planning Director and Charles Ewert, who wrote the new ordinance, presented a new “Proposed Conditional Use Code.” The new ordinance lists specific, objective criteria which (if the amendment is passed) will be used by planners, developers, and the OCTPC to evaluate all future CUP applications.

In the past the OVTPC has had difficulties in that it has been severely hamstringed in terms of the types of anticipated detrimental effects that it could legally consider.

The new standards list a number of detrimental effects about which citizens have long expressed concerns but which the OVTPC has been unable to consider in their deliberations.

Here is a summary of some of the standards the new code lists:

1- Standards related to safety Included here are standards for fire, EMS, geologic hazard, flood, size or heights of buildings, traffic.

2- Standards related to infrastructure, amenities, and services Included here are standards for traffic, road damage, sewer, open space, water, and public spaces.  Note that included here is also “Mitigate material degradation of the level of service of any culinary water facility or infrastructure.”

3) Standard related to the environment Included here are protections for rivers, creeks, wildlife, and vegetation 4) Standards related to the surrounding areas Included here are standards related to incompatible uses, light emissions, noise emissions, building heights and sizes, post construction clean up, hours of operation.

No new code will ever solve all the problems related to the subjective aspects of analyzing, judging, and granting or denying CUPs. But this effort is a huge step in the right direction.

Here is what we should / MUST do.

1- Go to the site that includes the new code.

2-Look carefully at the new standards to see if you agree or disagree with them.

3-Give feedback to the OVTPC, and to the Weber County Planning Office via e-mail as to your support, concerns, additions, etc. to the document.

4-Current drafts and subsequent iterations will be posted by Mr. Ewert in the next few weeks. Keep checking on-line for the next few weeks to track any changes that may occur in the document.

5-Attend the OCTPC meeting when this will be discussed, voted on, and codified. That meeting is currently scheduled for May 26.

Your efforts in the next 3 weeks can help assure that your concerns will be included in the new law.

6-Look over the Land Use Table that is also part of the on-line documents.  That table is a new format for the existing land uses in the Ogden Valley. It does not include any changes in zoning or land use with-in zones; it includes over 500 lines of possible “uses” of land. Become a little familiar with the ways your specific desires about and uses of land are regulated. E.g.: do you want to keep horses, pigs, etc?

What uses do you want in your area and in other areas of the Valley?

At the next OVTPC this new “Table” format for Land Use will be approved.

No real actions on the part of individuals is needed right now; but beginning soon after the new Land Use Table becomes an ordinance, the process of actually re-defining and re-listing all the uses of land under each zoning heading will begin. This will be a lengthy process – at least six months to complete the one section related to agriculture, and then other sections on commercial areas, residential areas, etc. will be addresses.

The proposed CUP and Land Use codes will ultimately determine what the Ogden Valley will be in the future. If that is important to you, get involved in these processes now.

Water & Sewer at Powder Mountain

Water exchange approved by the State Engineer.

July 31, the State Engineer released his report and it looks like the Summit Group will be able to use water sufficient for the first phases of their development at Powder Mountain. Link to the State Engineer’s report.

It seems extremely unlikely the future of Powder Mountain will include well water for the 2,800 housing units extorted by the previous owners. Indeed, there may not be sufficient quality water for the original 1100 units the resort was entitled to.

Link to SE article Summit’s water ruling could come by August (7/9/2015)

Link to SE article Wolf Creek files eminent domain action against Summit (5/16/2015)

Link to a Summit Powder Mountain view of things by Paul Strange (COO) Summit viewpoint 5-14-2015

Link to SE article Eden water users challenge Summit with ‘signs of frustration’ (5/12/2015)

Link to letter to SE editor Summit has right to water purchased with land (5/12/2015)

Link to the SE article Summit pump test data provides clues about impacts (4/17/2015)

And here is a link to all the documents submitted to the state engineer regarding the dispute.

Link to the SE article Water experts take jabs at each other over Summit’s Hidden Lake Well. (4/23/2015)

Link to the SE article Powder Mountain ran low on drinking water in December (4/30/2015)

Link to the SE article Summit blames malfunctioning pump for water deficiency (5/1/2015)

Want to get into the legal documents involved in Summit’s water situation?

1. The Powder Mountain water right “approved” in 2006 (note the conditions: Powder Mountain Water and Sewer to distribute the water; new sources shall not impair senior rights)  Also note that the locations listed include no actual wells or springs, since with one exception all the listed locations are incorrect with respect to actual water courses and well locations – i.e. a relocation would always be needed).  The exception is the Pizzel Spring house, for which Powder Mountain water and Sewer already has water right up to the approximate wet water flow of the spring. [link]
Also search for water right 35-11995 at [link]
2. Documents related to Drinking water and water systems can be found at [link] or at [link] on the tab EZ records search in the web page headers.
Under “Weber County” documents for all of the valley water companies can be located.  FYI The scanned listings are not always complete, nor do they necessarily present in date order for a given water company.
 One of the more detailed documents is LWA opinion that there is sufficient wet water at the Hidden Lake Well;  [link]
3.  The current disputed water right exchange of Summit Mountain Holding Group is at [link]  and at [link]. The second link accesses the full document folder with scans of all of the water right application details and the hundreds of pages of reports and protest documents.
A few key documents are as follows:
Document number/date; content details:
 1 dated 4/8/14 Application by Summit  – This application occurred after the Protestants pointed out that the Hidden Lake Well had not been drilled on an approved location in the 2006 exchange.
2 – 32 dated 4/22 to 5/27/14 protests to the new application by multiple water companies, individuals and Cache County.
33 – 47 dated 7/8/14 Documents related to the public hearing held on that date.  This includes the presentations by Summit’s consultant (Loughlin Water Associates) at No 47 and the Protestants consultant (Cascade Water Resources) at No 43-46
Protest and rebuttal documents then follow, documenting the back and forth that occurred throughout the summer of 2014, including the request by the Protestants that a pump test occur (Doc 54 – 8/5/14) until the State Engineer ordered that a pumping test be completed (Doc 73 dated October 29, 2014)
Correspondence about planning and requirements for the pump test is documents 74 to 83, and document 90 dated 11/26/14, which was from the State Engineer allowing Summit to proceed.  This letter also makes clear that Summit has the burden of proving that senior rights will NOT be affected. The pumping test occurred during December 2014, with the pump running from December 2 until December 16 (14 days).
Reports about the pumping test were then not submitted until the State Enginer ordered (Doc 117 dated 2/25/15) that the reports be submitted on March 27 2015, with rebuttals/comments submitted by April 17, 2015.)
Document 119 3/24/15 is Cache County’s thoughts on the matter
Document 120  and 121 3/27/15 is Summits consultants (Loughlin Water Resources) report.
Document 122-123 is the Protestants consultant’s (Cascade Water Resources) report on the pumping test.
Documents from 126-134; 137-151; 155-173 are letters of concern from multiple residents of Ogden Valley.
Document 152 dated 4/17/15 is Summit’s comments/rebuttal on the Cascade Water Resources report on the pump test.
Document 135 and 136 dated 4/14/15 (duplicate) is Cache County’s rebuttal to Loughlins report on the pump test.
Document 153 and 154 (duplicate) dated 4/17/15 is the Ogden Valley Protestants comments on Loughlins report on the pump test.  This document includes a legal summary from Holland and Hart, with appended a supplemental report about the possible effects on valley groundwater and the protestant’s water flows by Wolf Creek Water and Sewer Improvement District and Wolf Creek Irrigation board members.
Again: all of the above documents can be accessed at the [link}.
Folks who are interested can click on “Track Folder” at the top of the 35-12848 indexing page, and receive notifications when a document is added.  The State Engineers decision will presumably be added to this folder.  There are appeals/hearing processes that can occur after that happens; then after that a dispute can potentially go to Utah courts for rehearing – an expensive process, which usually (but not always) confirms the State Engineer’s decision.

Starry Nights

Hooray! North Fork Park received IDA recognition for its Dark Skies. Kudos to everyone who made this happen, but especially Janet, Frank & Jennifer.

There will be all kinds of events associated with our Dark Skies. Here is a link to the Starry Nights events calendar.

Link to SE article North Fork Park receives rare Dark Sky designation (4/17/2015)

Link to SE article Saving the night: The environmental case for dark sky (5/2/2015)

Link to SE article North Fork Park a Dark Sky destination (5/15/2014)

Wolf Creek Resort development plan

Planning Commission recommends approval of rezoning to support a commercial core.

At the July 28, 2015 meeting of the OVPC, Wolf Creek’s request to rezone was recommended to the County Commission for approval. Key concepts include:

  • John Lewis and his team worked extensively with the community to propose what the residents wanted. Many showed up in support and none showed up in opposition.
  • The intention of the rezone is to support a commercial core for the resort and in the area. It will include a mix of residential, retail, hotel, and a club house for the golf course combined with a community center for residents and visitors.
  • The commercial area zone will be expanded into an open space area (zone O-1) where the driving range is. All of the expansion is to support a club house/community center and the parking it will need. The driving range will be moved to the north.
  • An exchange of other residential zone means there is no net loss in open space or O-1 zoning.
  • Part of the golf course will be rezoned from residential to open space.

The Wolf Creek Resort development plan continues to progress. http://www.co.weber.ut.us/mediawiki/index.php/Wolf_Creek_Resort_Community_Input_to_Future_Development_Information,  A review on the progress of this plan will be held with Weber County Planning in approximately 6 months.


Nordic Valley conditional use permit

March 24, 2015, on a 4-2 vote, the Ogden Valley Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for a super-size condo project at Nordic Valley (extraordinarily massive and tall, 54 units, 54 lockout units, 20 feet from neighboring property with  existing homes, 30 feet from the road, massive excavation). As part of the process, the architectural design of the proposed structure was also approved.

The next step for the investors is an engineering review by the county. County engineers must sign off on the adequacy of water, waste water and storm water disposal systems as well as geotechnical considerations like ground water and slope stability. These pose significant challenges to development, but the final decisions will be up to the experts and there is nothing the public can do to influence these decisions.

Assuming future hurdles are cleared, in all likelihood, Pine Canyon Lodge will be built as soon as investors think they can sell the units.

You can drawings of the structure, as well as Rhonda Kippen’s excellent staff analysis, via the county Mirada system.

Post hoc analysis – lessons learned:  The land where Pine Canyon Lodge will be located is zoned Commercial Valley Resort (CVR1) and there is quite a bit of undeveloped  CVR1 scattered around the Valley and Canyon. For example, there is a large CVR1 zone at the end of String Town Road. The Pine Canyon Lodge project highlights aspects of the CVR1 zone that we should consider changing:

  1. Conditional Use Permit applications in CVR1 zone are almost always part of the development of a larger resort area. However, there is no requirement for the developer to reveal their resort master plan, let alone commit to it. Thus, the Planning Commission must work without knowledge of what is planned around piecemeal projects.
  2. Building height is not limited at all in CVR1 zone whereas most other zones in limit height to 35 feet.
  3. One lockout units is allowed for every primary unit, which can effectively double the density impact during peak seasons.
  4. Only one parking place is required for every two units (the lockout rooms are considered units).
  5. Despite how the buildings relate to roads or existing homes, neighborhoods and subdivisions, setbacks from the roads are 30′ and side setbacks from neighbors are 20′.
  6. Rigorous study of water availability, sewer and storm water systems, and geotechnical issues are deferred to the subsequent engineering phase. If anything goes wrong, the project cycles back through OVPC. Higher standards for “letters of service” and “preliminary studies” would dramatically reduce concerns of OVPC, concerns of the public, and re-cycling revisions if barriers are found.
  7. Waste water systems are accepted without concern or input of landowners in the area or our zoned patterns of future density.
  8. Large-scale excavations are permitted without rigorous geotechnical study.
  9. Regardless of project size and anticipated traffic there is no requirement to consider eventual traffic flow and congestion in the area (e.g., road width and turn lane).
  10. The Conditional Use permitting process gives small consideration to the people who will be most affected, including homeowners who will have a 250 long, 40+ foot tall wall of condo balconies 20′ from their property lines. The petition submitted from the Nordic Valley Neighborhood to the Planning Commission was dismissed as “public clamor.”
  11. OVPC members were burdened with apparent contradictions in the code and the prudent default is to choose the interpretation most favorable to the petitioner.

Changing any of these will require that OVPC act legislatively to change the Land Use Code.