Ogden Valley GEM committee philosophy

GEM has been around since 2006, meeting always the first Wednesday of the month and always at 5:00 in the Huntsville Library. The agenda is open and anyone interested in advancing the General Plan or otherwise interested in land use planning is welcome.

Those who show up to the meetings discuss whatever land use issues are on their minds. If any action occurs, it is by members who step up to do the work. Sometimes groups take on some pretty big projects like prodding the planning commission and staff to do a comprehensive overhaul of the conditional use code. Over the years we have found that we make progress when a few people become passionate enough about an issue to work to do something about it.

Each time there is a threat to our General Plan or our planning process, GEM becomes as a forum where the threat is analyzed, actions are considered, and information is exchanged.  Those who attend often leave meetings empowered and inspired to act, and they often use GEM as a kind of think tank for how to be most effective. New threats bring new people so GEM’s mailing list continues to expand.

Other than the planning commissioners and planning staff, people who regularly attend GEM meetings are the most informed residents in the Valley when it comes to its future. Thus, GEM primarily serves an educational function. We have no authority and we have no budget, but we have learned that committed and caring people who share a love for the Valley can have an important impact for the better.

GEM (Growth with Excellence Mandate) Committee Goals

The primary goal of GEM is the protection and implementation of the vision, concepts and values described in the Ogden Valley General Plan.

GEM folk work through the county planning process and staff in an effort to help the Valley develop as an attractive, viable and desirable place to live and recreate. In 2012 GEM developed this 2012 Commission Candidate GEM Briefing to tell candidates for County Commission what GEM is about and to stimulate discussion about their views on Valley Planning.

The GEM meetings provide an informal public forum for discussion and information about land use planning issues in the Valley.

GEM members often proactively work to defend the General Plan by working to develop ordinances that bias development that brings about the Plan.

Compelling Urgency

If we are not careful, the vision of continuing our rural/agricultural atmosphere and lifestyle vision expressed in the general plan will likely not be achieved. Instead we could develop rapidly into something we don’t like. Follow this link to follow the upate to the General Plan. Or follow this one to post your comments about the choices before us:

Here is why this matters:

Overall development potential under current zoning is 4 to 5 times what was anticipated in the “carrying capacity” chapter of the General Plan, which was written in the mid 1990’s.

Utah and the Wasatch Front continues to grow at an extraordinary rate and our mountains attract an increasing number of visitors. We expect increasing pressure to develop subdivisions and resorts.

In 2015 we have about 3,500 housing units in the Valley and our land use ordinances allow 24,000+ more. By 2030 we expect to have 7,800 housing units and 11,700 residents (we had 6,600 residents in 2010). During peak seasons, part time residents and visitors more than double the population numbers.

Policy decisions made now will dramatically affect the character of the valley at full build-out and could negatively affect the place we love to live and recreate.