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 staying involved as the update of the General Plan proceeded or taking on the Dark Skies initiative.  Over the years we have found 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 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.

Why it matters

If we are not careful, the vision of continuing our rural/agricultural atmosphere and lifestyle expressed in the General Plan will likely not be achieved. Instead we could develop rapidly into something we don’t like.

Utah and the Wasatch Front continues to grow at an extraordinary rate and our mountains attract an increasing number of visitors.

In 2014, county planning staff published the Ogden Valley Maximum Zoning Density Study. Here are some highlights:

  • 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 approved in 1998.
  • In 2018 we have about 4,800 housing units in the Valley and our land use ordinances allow some 19,000+ more. By 2030, the county projects we will add 3,000 housing units and reach 11,700 residents (we had 6,600 residents in 2010). During peak seasons, part time residents and visitors more than double the population numbers.

Ergo, expect increasing pressure to develop subdivisions and resorts.

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.

GEM (Growth with Excellence Mandate) Committee Goals

  • The primary goal of GEM is the protection and implementation of the vision, goals and principles described in the Ogden Valley General Plan.
  • GEM folk work through the county planning process, staff and commissioners in an effort to help the Valley develop according to the General Plan.
  • 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 will help us achieve the vision and goals in the Plan.