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:
- 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.
- Building height is not limited at all in CVR1 zone whereas most other zones in limit height to 35 feet.
- One lockout units is allowed for every primary unit, which can effectively double the density impact during peak seasons.
- Only one parking place is required for every two units (the lockout rooms are considered units).
- 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′.
- 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.
- Waste water systems are accepted without concern or input of landowners in the area or our zoned patterns of future density.
- Large-scale excavations are permitted without rigorous geotechnical study.
- 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).
- 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.”
- OVPC members were burdened with apparent contradictions in the code and the prudent default is to choose the interpretation most favorable to the petitioner.