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.