Friday, September 05, 2008

Council Considers Lifting Windsor Hotel Height Restrictions

Millions in federal dollars could be placed in jeopardy

By George K.

Scott Schwebke provides a good article this morning about the City Council’s discussion at their work session last night, “Work on 25th St. hotel at stake.” He did a good amount of digging and research to fill in the details. So we must say, “Good job, Scott.”

One thing that he did not mention that was brought up at the work meeting and that is: If Ogden’s 25th St. Historic District were to lose its designation on the National Historic Register, the city would forfeit millions of dollars in federal funds to restore buildings within the 25th St. Historic District. That is quite a large penalty for allowing seven feet to be added to an old historic building. Granted one building modified correctly would not result in the loss of the District’s historical designation, but as Councilwoman Jeske pointed out, the Council would be setting a dangerous precedent. It was made known to the Council that if they approve the zoning change to allow for exceptions of the 45’ height limit, the decisions in the future for other buildings would be out of their hands and given to the LandMarks Commission and the Planning Commission. I would hope that the Council would not hand over that authority to others!

There is a lot more at stake here than allowing the owners of the old Windsor Hotel to add a fourth floor. Another twist to this little drama is the fact that Mr. Peay is denying that Scott Brown is connected in any way to the Windsor Hotel. How does he account for Scott Brown threatening members of the LandMarks Commission last year when their approval for the variance was first sought? True to his promise, the members who had voted against the variance were removed from the Commission. One had served for only a year or two and had taken training for the job which her replacement did not have. This was pointed out to the Mayor, but he would not allow her to remain on the Commission. Now you have “the rest of the story!” You be the judge – do you think Scott Brown is involved with the Windsor Hotel? And Godfrey backs him!


Curmudgeon said...


You wrote: Scott Brown threatening members of the LandMarks Commission last year when their approval for the variance was first sought? True to his promise, the members who had voted against the variance were removed from the Commission. One had served for only a year or two and had taken training for the job which her replacement did not have. This was pointed out to the Mayor, but he would not allow her to remain on the Commission.

First I've heard of this. Be interesting thing for the SE to track down, que no? If that is in fact what happened, it provides yet another example... as if we needed one... of Hizzonah's version of what "cooperation" and "reaching out" and "communicating" really means. For Godfrey it means his way or the highway. Period.

Which is not, in the long run, a very effective administrative strategy.

John said...

George K.

You wrote: "It was made known to the Council that if they approve the zoning change to allow for exceptions of the 45’ height limit, the decisions in the future for other buildings would be out of their hands and given to the LandMarks Commission and the Planning Commission." Why would that be case? Surely granting a variance one time would not result in the loss of power?

citizen said...

Brown works for Ogden Properties, as well as for Ogden City, yet he says he has no financial interest in the former, and will not represent the former with the latter.

These guys need to go back to Godfrey's liar school. Their lies are getting laughable.

City Council, now that you've let the incompetent mayor plunge us into debt, will you also let the incompetent mayor lose our Historic Registry status?

Talk about a legacy. They shouldn't even think about going there. Tell Ogden Properties to take a hike. It takes them this long to come back to the city for another gimme? What's next from these jokers?

George K said...

John, you ask, ”It was made known to the Council that if they approve the zoning change to allow for exceptions of the 45’ height limit, the decisions in the future for other buildings would be out of their hands and given to the LandMarks Commission and the Planning Commission.” I must admit that was a bit confusing last night. Staff explained that what the Council was being asked to do was approve a CBD zoning change. With that rezone in place, the Council would not have to be consulted in the future. The LandMarks Commission would determine whether changes were within the limitations set by the Standards of the Secretary of the Interior and the Planning Commission would determine if all zoning requirements were met. If approval was granted by both Commissions, nothing else would be required.

The Council must consider all the consequences of approving this zoning change. Public input will be sought at Council meeting on September 23rd. We need to put that date on our calendars and give our input.

Curmudgeon, it would be great if Scott Schwebke would do some investigation into Scott Brown’s threats to LandMarks committee members. Has Scott Brown opened the door for another equal rights/harrassment lawsuit?

Bill C. said...

Let's see, the Windsor, Star Noodle, a couple of buildings on lower 25th and the American Can. I believe with Brown's rumored attachment to all of these, all recieving gracious RDA funds, he should not be in any negotiating capacity with the city. His past employment history with city also points to not having him working for Ogden.
As for this idiotic veladrome, I recall not too long ago the lift Ogden folks held some sort off bash at the affore mentioned can building. The built skate ramps and all sorts of stuff. Since nothing seems to be progressing as far as more construction down there, and given the fact that tax payers have all ready forked over so much, why not let them turn the rest of that building into this thing. There's still lots of available space left in that old building, and it's high time someone promoting this high adventure stuff invests some of their own money. How about it Blaine Johnson, Scoot Brown and buddies?

Bill C. said...

Come to think of it, the old Farr ice builing is right next door. Why build a whole new expensive structure, when this building is perfectly suited for the making of ice and maintaining it? Put the stupid icecicle there.

googleboy said...

Andy Peay

Curmudgeon said...


I wonder, would it be possible for the Council to approve a one-time variance for this particular building, withouh changing the zoning in such a way that it would play no role in subsequent variance requests? If so, that might be something they ought to consider. Putting zoning matters entirely into the unchecked hands of Godfrey-appointed committees and commissions would not, I think, be wise.

Clouseau said...

According to the Weber County Assessor's website, the registered owner of the Windsor Hotel property at 166 25TH Street is Ogden Properties II LLC c/o Scot Nicol. Property owner is delinquent in taxes for 2007 and owes $5,191.53 including penalties. 136 25th Street appears to be held by the same group with the same attitude about paying taxes in our community and owes $2,869.93 including penalties for the 2007 tax year.

The group has until April 30th, 2009 to obtain a certificate of occupancy on the Windsor building or they have to pay back the public dole of $288,000 granted in August 2007 to restore the building...
$100,000 from the city’s sale of Asset Control Area properties, which are foreclosed HUD homes (to be paid back to this fund from other sources as promised by Dave Harmer) $111,500 from 25th Street RDA tax increment funds and $76,500 earmarked for the project from the Ogden’s Business Information Center reserve account.

Why should they be granted a variance for an extra story and put the whole district at risk for losing Historic Register status when they have already received a substantial contribution of tax dollars and don't seem to like to play by the rules ie: making the required contribution to local government coffers.

dan s. said...

This is not the way zoning ordinances should be written.

Zoning ordinances should come out of a comprehensive planning process that looks at all of the city's opportunities and needs. Then the ordinances should be applied to everyone, fair and square.

The current administration has completely reversed this process. It asks the council to revise zoning ordinances on an "as needed" basis to accommodate the developers it likes, and occasionally to thwart the developers it dislikes. So the "mixed use" zone, originally intended to accommodate Peterson, was eventually rewritten and passed to accommodate Leshem. Other property of Leshem's was rezoned to CBD at the administration's initiative (without even a formal request from Leshem). A revision to the Sensitive Area Overlay Zone was drafted with Peterson in mind (and circulated to his lawyer for his approval and suggestions). I'm sure I'm forgetting many other past examples. The current situation is no different, with one developer driving a significant revision to the requirements in the historic district on 25th Street.

The end result is that we have a system in Ogden where there are no real rules except that it helps an awful lot if your a FOM.

On the inside said...

Clouseau and Dan S.,

Thanks for the very interesting information. You are great!

Curmudgeon said...

Off topic:

Since the matter of ticket quotas has been discussed here now and then, I thought folks might find interesting this from Paul Rolly's column in today's SL Trib:

Making quotas?
Peter Hasby was approaching the intersection of Fayette Drive on 900 West in Salt Lake City's Glendale area Aug. 28 about 6:30 p.m. when he noticed a motorcycle cop pulling over a motorist and several other motorcycle cops converged just up the street.
Distracted by all the uniforms, he then noticed out of the corner of his eye someone yelling and waving on the curb as he went through the intersection.
That's when he got pulled over.
Within a span of a couple of minutes, Hasby and four other drivers were pulled over in a sting operation to nab motorists for not stopping for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
The guy yelling and waving was the bait and the cops were there to write up tickets as easy as pulling trout from a stocked backyard pond.
When Hasby protested to the officer that the pedestrian had not even entered the crosswalk, the cop told him he could appeal the ticket. All he had to do was lose several hours of work to appear in court and plead his case to what we're all sure would be a very sympathetic hearing officer.

Link to Rolly's column is here.

Tattle Tale said...

On the Ogden scene: Traffic officers in Ogden have had their "Performance Standard" (in other words, the ticket quota)increased from 100 to 160 tickets a month. If you think you've seen the officers out there issuing more tickets, you're right.

The decision came straight from that greedy, money-hungary mayor we have. I guess he is going to come up with the money for his veladrome one way or the other!
If we weren't all adults, I'd suggest egging an appropriate payment for such a rotten deed.

Clouseau said...

Maybe not relevant, but interesting- The registered contact with Ogden Properties LLC according to the state database is FOM Dan Mcentee- involved with the Bingham Cyclery project.

polis said...

The current administration has no long term vision for Ogden. How unfortunate. They are making decisions (and concessions), as Dan S. points out, for developer's projects that go against what the Ogden community has fought so hard for for so many years (ala the preservation of historic 25th Street). Get w/ it Ogden. Also, how on this green earth can't the proponents of this project make a go of it w/ 300k granted from the city and historic tax credits? That, and with the association of Scott Brown, this project is doomed!

disgusted said...

as bill c mentioned Ogden Properties LLC owns other buildings in ogden. the building at 136 25th street is a prime example. street level is vacant and they are planning on selling two one half million dollar plus condos above (way to use hud money). neither above street level condos or street level retail have seen any work on them in months. it sits as an empty rundown building. i wonder if scott brown may own interests in these other buildings as a trade off for his work on the windsor hotel.
windsor hotel is a major project even at its current three stories. why wasnt this variance asked for before they took ogdens money in the first place. they indicated back them when they took the money that they had a developed plan for the building and needed the citys help to bring it together. guess not just looking for the hand out. city should say no.
if variance is granted i wonder to what maximum height. does this mean the vancant lot two doors down from the windsor could be built to 10 stories.
council should literally flush these guys out and be gone with them.
godfrey did it to the individual that owned and was trying to develop the shupe williams candy building. that individual had already invested a whole lot of money into the building. his only problem was that he was not a fom. maybe whats good for the goose should be good for the gander. maybe we should stick to our plan for that part of the city as dan s suggests.

disgusted said...

there is no way that scott brown can claim that there is no conflict of interest.
its like doc cobabe claiming that he has no conflict of interest in powder mountain.
if council doesnt see it then they dont understand the meaning of conflict of interest.
scott brown should not work for the city as long as he represents these other parties irrespective of his claims that he is not involved in the decisions involving those projects. how many employees within the city offices that are in junior positions to his does he interacts with daily that do have input on those projects. how many of those people would not want to be on scotts bad side. scotts clients will get a favorable review from within the city offices. only the council can see this for whatit is and say no.
this being only one reason.
the other being that council should maintain the character and historical reality that is 25 street.

Missing Star Noodle Sign said...

Under the "revised" Landmarks Commission, the Star Noodle (very historically significant to the street) neon sign was removed -- rumor has it without the commission or city requiring the normal bonding process in order to insure the business put the sign back in place after remodeling is finished. I’ve missed it on the street. I have doubts it will ever go back up.

John N said...

My wife, Libby Norvell, is the new commissioner removed from the Landmarks commission. She was Susie Van Hoosier's replacement. She was never even given proper notice. They simply stopped sending her the monthly info packets. She was not on the commission for 1 or 2 years, she was only on it a few months. They paid for her training, then the mayor had her removed after his election, I am assuming because he wanted to stack the commission.

She was immensely qualified for the position, having been involved in historic preservation for many years. She appealed to a city council person who looked into it and was going to oppose it, but apparently the mayor has pretty much carte blanche as to filling commission seats.

The most ridiculous part of all was his reasoning. They said as Susie's replacement, she was only meant to serve out Susie's term. Susie had 3 days left! And they sent my wife to expensive training? We're still hoping to get some more light shown on this, but I don't know if there's really anything anyone can do.

I pray the council doesn't go along with this, it's a ploy for other projects down the road that will ruin 25th st. My wife mentioned the landmarks meeting where Scott Brown threatened to have everyone removed from the commission. I guess he did.

The other interesting thing is the Weber County Heritage Foundation, that normally appoints one member, had their member HANDPICKED by the mayor this time instead. Someone who has barely been in Ogden a year, but supports the mayor.

JEFF said...

Can someone post the names for these citizens commissions, maybe a few phone calls and irate citizens might change their minds while they sit and ponder radical changes.

Curmudgeon said...


Well, two problems. If volunteer service on citizen committees meant those who volunteer their time were going to subject themselves and their families to batteries of as you put it "irate" phone calls, I suspect it would become even more difficult than it often is to find public spirited and capable people willing to volunteer. That would not be a good thing.

Second, if you do contact committee members, let me suggest as strongly as I can that "irate" is not the tone you want to strike. Most people I know in public positions... elected or appointed... simply tune out irate callers. They generally don't bother listening to someone ranting on the phone at them. What you're proposing is a citizens lobbying campaign, and if that campaign involves getting lots of folks to make irate phone calls, it will flop.

Effective lobbyists do not shout and the people they are trying to convince to do something.

fufu said...

I've heard that Sue Wilkerson is the Landmarks Commission chairperson. Bernie lackey Allen is also on the commission. So much for objectivity.

JEFF said...

Well irate might be too harsh, concerned with qualified questions would be a better approach. Since these are city sponsored commissions can any citizen attend and are minutes taken? I think concerned citizens would participate as the community did with the Mt. Ogden Community Plan.

Curmudgeon said...


You asked: Since these are city sponsored commissions can any citizen attend and are minutes taken?

Good questions. We know the Mayor's Independent [?] Citizens Golf Course Advisory Committee had a Godfrey-administration staff secretary keeping the minutes, but whether other citizen advisory committees have their meetings recorded [tape? minutes?] I have no idea. Be good to know. Ditto whether their meetings are open to the public and whether they come under the open meetings regs.

Anybody know for sure?

Curmudgeon said...


You can find a link to the roster of the Landmarks Commission here.

Bullet Sponge said...

I do know that anyone can attend the Landmarks meetings and take notes/record all they want. I recommend doing so.

Google geek said...

This might be the up to date list of members of the commission - at least according to the Ogden City web site:

Bernie Allen
2550 Washington Blvd
Ogden, Utah 84401 Mobile: 725-3487
399-4191 (w)


Connie Cox
2532 Eccles Ave.
Ogden, Utah 84401
394-5364 (h)

Historic District

Mark L. Hilles Chair
Daniel Cook & Associates
2909 Washington Blvd
Ogden, Utah 84401
W: 409-1060 (cell) 388-6052


Judy Lohmueller
2555 Eccles Avenue
Ogden UT 84401

Weber County
Heritage Foundation

Kathryn MacKay
1616 24th Street
Ogden, Utah 84401
Wk)626-6782 (hm) 627-4221

History Professor

Carlin Maw
419 27th
Ogden, Utah 84401 Mobile: 540-1415
(w)627-6241 (fax)627-6251 (h)394-5180

Planning Commission

Jed N. Platt
2604 Jefferson Avenue
Ogden UT 84401

At Large
Replaced Libby Norvell

Mary E. Willis-McMillen Chair Elect
2409 Taylor Avenue
Ogden, Utah 84401
(h) 627-1607 (c) 458-8699

At Large

Sue Wilkerson
2563 Jefferson Ave
Ogden UT 84401
(hm) 475-4116 (w) 393-1188
(c) 644-7464 (fax) 393-1177


STAFF: John May

Dorrene Jeske said...


The Legislature passed the law in their 2007 session that required all government sponsored committees/commissions be open, a scribe assigned and minutes recorded. So all the City's committees follow the lasw and usually one or two City staff attend the meetings.

Thank you, John N., for setting the record straight. I did try to keep your wife on the LandMarks Commission, and the Mayor said that he would check into my arguments. He came back a couple of weeks later and said that he had checked on things and he was going to stick to his decision. I voted against the change on the commission at Council meeting saying that I did so on the principle of things because the Mayor was not following his own rules, but he does have the final say. I'm sorry that I couldn't do more.

Also Disgusted said...

Google Geek,

Just another example of Godfrey fairness. Do you want to know another irritating fact? Bernie Allen has been on the LandMarks Commission almost 25 years!

Libby N said...

Thanks Dorrene. When I was approved to LandMarks my term was supposed to end in 2010. The Mayor lied as usual. I hope everyone will pay close attention to what goes on with 25th street. Allowing the building heights to be raised would be a travesty. The Windsor has such potential just how it is. I am tired of the Godfrey supporters using scare tactics to get their way. I was told by a LandMarks commissioner that there was a bond placed on the dragon sign and that it will be put back up. However, knowing the corruption that is rampant, I fear we will not see it again.

Curmudgeon said...


Thank you. That clears that up. Good information to know.

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