Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Historic Preservationists Score a Big Win

Councilman Stephens' motion to reconsider fails by a 4-3 vote

By Bill C.

Yeah! The mature and forward looking majority of the City Council have preserved for now the integrity of Historic 25th Street.

I know some of you have been holding your breath far too long. In a 4-3 vote, the Council defeated the motion to revisit the vote on height limits for the 25th Street Historic District.

If, as it seemed to be, the most important aspect of this whole consideration was not to jeopardize the entire district, how could 3 have voted the way they did? There was no new evidence presented, nor a rebuttal from Murphy's boss. All his response was (after the vote) that no letter exists. How's that for a political appointee's solicited response? There's a lot more but I gotta run.

Update 10/15/08 8:40 a.m. MT: Scott Schwebke provides his own report of last night's meeting in this morning's Std-Ex edition, in which he also confirms our speculation of yesterday that Ogden Properties has made demand for monetary compensation from Ogden City, under threat of legal action.

111 comments:

Keisha said...

Three cheers for Garcia, Gochnour, Jeske and Wicks!

A pox on Johnson, Stephens and Stephenson.

Thanks for the report, Bill.

change is in the air said...

Well it looks as if Stephens is in the hip pocket of the mayor. Looks like I will be finding someone to run against him next year.

dan s. said...

change,

Not necessarily. Stephens moved and voted to reconsider the ordinance, but we don't know how he would have voted on the ordinance itself, had it come up for reconsideration.

George K said...

Five of the seven council members voted to not to override the Mayor's veto of the amendment to the allow two types of development during the moriatorium of certain neighborhood business centers. Council members Garcia and Gochnour voted to override the veto. The other council members except Council member Johnson cited the success of the Mt Ogden Community Plan and hope that the East Central Community Plan as much success. The Council showed their support for residents of the East Central neighborhood.

Councilwoman Gochnour said that she had been involved in preserving historical buildings both residential and commericial. She told of her experience helping the IRS choose which historic buildings to restore and how well they had turned out.

She was scolded for having a prepared statement. The Council members were chastised by twelve attendees for voting to not reconsider the ordinance. They claimed that there was no justifiation for their vote,so during the comments,

Councilwoman Jeske read the first paragraph of a letter from Kirk Huffaker, Executive Director of the Utah Heritage Foundation urging them to stay with their original vote of the prior week because it was the right vote.

There were twelve residents who thanked the Council for their vote and preserving the historic district in Ogden. Several said that standards were set and plans made to help preserve historic integrity of cities at such times.

During the comment period, Godfrey was usual rude self and told George Hall to show how committed he was to Ogden by putting up the money to buy and restore the Windsor Hotel. Councilwoman Jeske told the Mayor that she had not said that her vote was payback. The Mayor said that she had told Mr. Harmer that and she said that she did not and never would say that expecially to one of his staff. He looked astounded that she had contradicted him. Vice Chair Stephens explained that he had asked the Council to reconsider their vote in hopes that a solution could be achieved.

Chair Wicks said that efforts had been made to arrange a meeting with the Landmarks Commission, but because several Commission members would be attending a conference out of State nothing had been scheduled yet.

It was a good Council meeting to attend with a good outcome.

George K said...

I forgot to mention that the red head, Dori Mosher was so angry when the motion to reconsider failed that she jumped up and stormed out banging doors as she went, which brought the police officer to stand at the front of the chambers. It did have a calming effect on the upset Godfreyites.

I'm not sure what would have happened if he hadn't been there. I'm glad we didn't have to find out. Thank you, Officer!

On the Inside said...

Scott Schwebke’s article in this morning’s paper is misleading. The mayor said that the moratorium would be over in January and Council member Garcia said that he had contacted representatives from the three entities seeking the exemption, WSU, the Ogden School District, and the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College. As State agencies, part of their funding relied on the State Legislature and funding wouldn’t be available until February at the earliest. The moratorium on construction would be over by the time funding is available. By their vote the Council showed their support of the residents of the East Central neighborhood and the community neighborhood process.

Curmudgeon said...

GK:

Thanks for the report.

Who, exactly, is Dori Mosher?

Wish I had been there.

Seems like public comment was more or less evenly divided this time. [I notice the headline in the SE this morning did not say "Public Divided on Windsor Project." [Recall its headline on last week's Council meeting story.] Imagine that....

Also seems like, from your report and from the SE report this morning, that no, repeat no, new evidence was offered for the Council's consideration regarding whether changing the zoning on 25th Street would endanger the street's Historic District designation. Given that, as Councilwoman Gochnour stated, there was no reason to reconsider. Exactly right.

The Mayor's petulance, when he does not get his way, is getting to be embarrassing. In these troubled economic times, Ogden needs adult leadership at the top.

And I'm curious what the objection among the Godfrey Gaggle is to Council members reading prepared remarks into the record. As I recall, over the years, many advocates of projects the Administration favors have delivered prepared remarks to the Council. Only thing I can figure is that the Godfrey Gaggle would much prefer Council members to be unprepared when they speak in opposition to the Mayor's wishes. Understandable they'd feel that way, but hardly reasonable.

attendee said...

Curm:

Dori Mosher ran for council against Jesse Garcia in 2005.

The objection to prepared comments was that they allegedly indicate that the council member's mind was made up before the meeting. This gives citizens the impression that they're not being listened to. In some circumstances I would see their point. But in this case there was ample opportunity for public comment at previous meetings and no further comments were taken before the vote anyway, so I took the objection to be just the whining of sore losers.

Curmudgeon said...

attendee:

Thanks for the information. It does indeed look like the whining of sore losers, looking for something, anything, to justify their anger.

Curmudgeon said...

ON the inside:

Thanks for reporting Councilman Garcia's comments. Nice work on his part. And I note the Council, having received new information regarding the Hispanic market matter, changed its vote in light of the new information. As I imagine it might have had new information regarding the 25th Street zoning been offered. But none was. The Council's action on the two matters, at the same meeting, provides I think an instructive comparison.

Bullet Sponge said...

The Mayor characterized the 45-foot limit as completely arbitrary, and that in fact there are other historic buildings already on the street that exceed 45 feet. So the question is, is the opposition against the height change itself, or is it more a way to stop the Windsor project?

From my personal perspective its the latter. Landmarks approved the Windsor, and it was shown at the meeting they did so in error and against guidelines they are supposed to follow. If you examine the minutes from the Landmarks meeting you'll see that the guidelines that the Windsor violates were conveniently omited from their information packets, only showing the ones where the Windsor complied.

Nonetheless the Landmarks commission DOES have access to those guidelines outside their info packets, and passed the Windsor anyway. So what it boils down to for me is Landmarks is no longer a competent guardian of historic preservation. If I felt they were, I might be okay with a height change knowing that they would never allow anything utterly wrong like the Windsor addon to go forward.

But it seems they are not, so the only way left to stop the Windsor was to get this voted down. And thankfully it was.

The Mayor made the point that Landmarks is fine since the council approved each member. But he didn't explain why he ejected certain members of course. I think he's right though in that the council should have stood its ground and rejected the new members if they didn't like them, but I think it was a fight they didn't want to pick at the time. Only now are they realizing what a mistake that was.

Still Playing in Grade School said...

Sounds like this Dori took her ball and went home. Sooooo Sad!

Bill C. said...

Well Bullet, I not so sure this is truely about the Windsor at all.
I have to wonder whats been promised and said to these new building owners by the ecconomic developement folks.
Why the rage from the guy that bought the Star Noodle building? He stated that he has serious doubts as to his project. Was he told he could build a 60 ft. building by Brown or Harmer? His building is a block away from the Windsor and on the oposite side of the street, his outrage about the height restriction seems telling because his project was in the works long before the Ogden Properties llc ever bought the Windsor.
Why is the Landmarks Commission advocating and leading the charge for a new ordinance that places the designation of the district in jeopordy? The Windsor folks never intented to comply with restoration guidelines yet g-train is all for their project.
Seems to me there is an element of premeditated political intention here, but its not the Council.

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

On the threat of a lawsuit: hard to see, at this point, what the grounds for the suit might be. The developer bought the property, with a subsidy from the city, stating its intent to rehab it. At the time of purchase, the developer knew, or should have known, what the zoning restrictions on the property were.

Subsequently, the developers requested a zoning change to accommodate their design for a 4th floor penthouse that would rise higher than the zoning permitted. The Council considered the request and, on information from experts in the area of historic preservation that the change would endanger the street's Historic District designation, declined to change the zoning.

Hard to see what grounds the developers would have for a successful suit. The Council is under no obligation to change the zoning to accommodate them.

Have to wonder, is the developers' anger based on some promise they got [from the Administration?] that the zoning would be changed to accommodate them? Only speculation on my part, but that would explain the developers angry claim that they'd been dealt with unfairly. Of course, if [again, I'm only wondering here] that happened, whoever assured them that a zoning change would be no problem had no authority to make any such promise.

Bullet Sponge said...

Bill C. : What I was saying is for those against the change (like myself) I think the Windsor was a major reason for being opposed. If a height change had been proposed with no pending projects "attached" I think the ordinance might have sailed through.

But that does lead into my next question, the answer to which you theorized on. That being WHY on earth are some of the other business owners so fanatically in favor of this ordinance change? Economic stimulation to the street? I have trouble buying that alone.

The Mayor's remarks of "unanimous support" from the 25th Street Business Association is also incredibly misleading. There are many owners on 25th street who do NOT approve of this. Perhaps they should form their own business group so they can claim "unanimous disapproval" of the change. They're probably laying low in fear of what retribution might come down from the "new and improved" Landmarks commission.

Curmudgeon : Of course a lawsuit would be baseless. It's only put out there to intimidate and cow the council. Saying things like "not only civil but possibly criminal!" are just scary words to get their way, but in the end, hot air which the council needs to treat as such.

JohnLaw said...

THE RANTING NUT LAST NIGHT WAS THAYNE FISHER SCREAMING ABOUT THE STAR NOODLE.I WAS HOPING THE COP WOULD PUT HIM IN HANDCUFFS. CLUELESS & CLASSLESS. HE'S THE MALE WILKERSON. WORKS FOR PROVIDENT PROPERTIES THE SAME PEOPLE WHO CAN'T SELL THEIR HOUSES SO THEY WILL RENT TO ANYONE FOGGING A SPOON.HE TRIED BULLYING THE TWENTY FIFTH ASS. AND THE UNION STATION FOUNDATION.HE'S DEEPER IN MIX THAN MOST.I ALSO JUST LEARNED MS MOSHER IS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE LADY WHO WROTE THE EDITORIAL TO THE PAPER LAST WEEK QUESTIONING THE SANITY OF CC.IS THIS THE END OF IT

Dorrene Jeske said...

There was another reason that the Council voted the way they did: they had received information from two state historic preservation agencies that indicated that the Windsor would no qualify for historic tax credits which meant that it would lose its historic designation. Approval would have set a precedent for other property owners in the Historic 25th Street Historic District. If there were enough who violated the Secretary of the Interior's guidelines, the historic registery designation would be lost along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants. In spite of what our critics claimed, the Council voted against the ordinance in order to preserve the historic district; there were no hidden or personal agendas involved.

On the appointments to the Landmarks Commission, The Coouncil was aware that the Mayor was removing some very knowledgable, experienced and trained members of the Landmarks Commission even though they had served less than 10 years on it. We protested to the Mayor. But he said that he was going with the people he'd recommended. I voted against the new appointments, but the other Council members did not. I was told by a former member that Scott Brown was involved in having the three members removed from the Commission

Bill C said...

Take note of how this new ecconomy provides instant inflation regarding the speculative by-back.
Are we to assume that having an architect pencil out a non-comforming drawing that a building purchaced for under $250,000 is now worth over a million, a building virtually untouched?
I wonder if gadi has sent them some stick matches?

googleboy said...

Thayne Fischer

Wm M said...

If Fischer moved his residency to Ogden 3 years ago, why does he still have Arizona plates on his Hummer?

let's be frank said...

I regret that Ogden is attracting promoters who were, and still are, planning to make a killing on Ogden properties.

They are the types of promoters that have helped cause the disaster in financial markets nationwide.

You can tell their calibre by the group of people they are associating with.

And that starts with Mayor Godfrey. He is torn to so-called big time promoters.

I personally hope that their financial spigot through Godfrey gets turned off permanently.

OgdenLover said...

Could the demise of the Windsor Hotel project, the inability of the developler to get the Council to waive the height restriction, and the threatened lawsuit have anything to do with Dave Harmer's resigning?

Curmudgeon said...

ON a not entirely unrelated topic, though I'd mention today's editorial in the SE, which deals with the arson problem in the River Project area. The editorial recognizes the danger the arson poses to people still living in the area, discusses some of the problems of getting all those derelict boarded up homes down rapidly, but in the end, draws some wisdom from Larry The Cable Guy and admonishes the administration to "git 'er done":

But right now the abandoned homes are a safety issue. We urge Ogden city and Ogden Riverfront Development Corp. to do all both entities reasonably can to hasten the demolition of decrepit buildings in that area. It will be a long-term step toward the river project and it will immediately improve the quality of life in Ogden.

Rambles around a bit reaching that conclusion, but it reached the right one when it finally got there. Worth a read.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

One thing I noticed in the editorial was any mention of who actually owns the buildings being torched, what kind of insurance they may have had on them and just who is going to pay for the demo and clean up - the owners or the tax payers?

Also got to point out the utter greed being initially portrayed wherein these friends of Matt, who are into the Windsor deal $230,000 and have received a free $288,000 spiff from the tax payers - thanks to their bestest pal Matt - are now taking the position that their position is worth a Million bucks!

This my friends is called Hubris mixed with greed with a big dolop of contempt for the tax payers thrown in for good measure.

If the city has any legal exposure in the middle of this deal it is only because of the incompetence of the city team that put the deal together to begin with.

grab the popcorn said...

So now what...Dave Harmer is going to ask the RDA to consider buying back the property (plus expenditures)? Well that is convenient...the executive director of the RDA is now the mayor. Sounds like it was a win-win for Ogden Properties all along!

Curmudgeon said...

Oz:

Yup. I noticed the absence of Mr. L's name too. But at this point, the main thing is to get the derelict properties down, to end the dangerous circumstances now existing. They can figure out who to bill later. Salus populi suprema lex esto applies here, I think.

As for the Windsor property, I seem to recall when the developers' bought the property and took the city subsidy, the city retained the option to buy the property back at the same price if the rehab had not been completed by a date certain. OR am I mis-remembering?

If I'm recalling right, the developers, seems to me, have three options: (a) sell back to the city at the price they paid, walking away out some architect's fee, but not much more, if the city wants to exercise its buy-back option (b) keep the property and develop it within the limits the current zoning permits or (c) find someone willing to buy it from them for more than they paid to the city. They claim it's worth a mil. It is only if someone is willing to pay them a mil for it, knowing the zoning restrictions that apply to the property. As realtors keep having to explain to people trying to sell their homes who insist that the homes are worth more than any offers they are getting, a property is in fact worth only what someone else is willing to pay you for it. That applies to the Windsor property too. IF the developers unwisely bought a property that could not be profitably rehabbed under the existing zoning, then they failed to do their homework, and the financial consequences of their having invested unwisely should be borne by them.

Stanley B said...

How true Curmudgeon - in a real world that is. However, we live in Matt Godfrey world where those who are FOM's have the financial consequences of their incompetence borne by the tax payers - the Junction being one example.

Jason W. said...

Where is outdoor industry titan and connisseur of thrift-store jackets THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE in all this?

I thought he said, "I have never been more embarassed for my home"?

"The very future of our city is at stake."

Which makes one wonder what all the fuss over a joke project like the phony proposed Windsor renovation is.

Kind of like proposed THE GONDOLA.

It's curious this high-adventure Fischer douchehoarder represents all of Ogden Properties LLC's failed ventures in efforts to lease them out unfinished. Just what did these assclowns have in store for our boarded-up, beloved OTown?

And, for the love of Pete, when is the high-adventure onion patch, apparel outlet and Jibyabdingdangwingwong going up? Judging by all the helicopter activity over the area, the stench of bare feet and loafers and the array of high-adventure transients nearby...next Tuesday!

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

what will it costs us said...

If they want $1M for their property then I hope the tax assessor is paying attention and this years tax reflects that amount, so the county can collect thier fair share. Lets drag out the buy back so the owners can't talk or litigate their way out of this one.

dan s. said...

wwicu,

Good point. The current assessed value of the Windsor property is just under $300,000.

On a different subject: During the study session before yesterday's meeting, council staff briefly mentioned that the administration is now proposing to spend $1 million of city funds on the velodrome--which was originally supposed to cost the city nothing.

Curious 1 said...

A Million would go a long way in repairing our roads, sewer or water projects. When can we expect a lower water bill in these tight ecomomic times, or will all thye city fund is high adventure for the elite?
Or bring back the Spring Clean up so Ogden can shine again.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

I don't recall the velodrome project having been proposed as costing the city nothing. I thought the freebie was the BMX track, not the velodrome. Or have I mis-remembered?

dan s. said...

curmudgeon,

I haven't dug into the old news articles on the velodrome; all I know is that council staff said this was a change from what the council was told before.

Jason W. said...

I believe the amount initially proposed by Lying Little Matty Gondola Godfrey for his proposed THE VELODOUCHE was $100K; now his Forehead is seeking 10 times that amount? How on Geiger's Green Onion is he going to raise $25 million in this economy for THE VELODOUCHE? Much like he and THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE were going to generate $15 million by seeking $35K THE GONDOLA car decal deals. This teeny, impetuous, short-man's-diseased little municipaligoon is now officially insane.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Wm M said...

JohnLaw calls Fischer the male Wilkerson ...

A boy named Sue ???

Thank you very much ... I'm here all week ... tip your server ...

A LANDMARKS COMMISSIONER said...

The Landmarks Commission uses The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilition as it's guide in making decisions for renovations, upgrades and additions. This is the federal standard that controls the National Historic designation, not the Utah State /SHPO. They do recommendations for tax increments, thats it on this subject, they do not have authority over the designation itself. I would be happy to send a copy of these standards to this blog if interested or it is available at the city planning dept. When you say that the Landmarks Commission does not protect the integrity of the district, this is not true and is disturbing. The designation is not nor ever has been threatened. The letter by Ms. Murphy has much speculation in it and some good points, yet no authority in this matter which has been stated by her boss saying they do not get involved in local municipalities zoning ordinances. They do in other matters however such as tax increment recommendations.

There are ten points to the Standards, but the one that pertains to this situation is as such:

#9. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment.

I appreciate the city council and those that blog here and the citizens that are concerned about not risking the historic designation, but they should also understand that the Landmarks Commission does also and would not jeopardize the integrity of the district in any way. There are many examples of other cities that have worked successfully by incorporating modern design within their historic districts in and around their historic buildings. You can check with Ogden City Planning Dept for many examples which were presented to the Landmarks Commission and the City Planning Commission when this ordinance was introduced. If one disagrees with the design proposed that is a separate issue and should definitely be looked at and discussed under a separate discussion. But to limit the potential growth in this district because of 8 feet difference is absurd. If this design had met the 45 foot limitation, city council would have never seen it anyway. There were then back in it's original days on 25th street as there are now buildings that exist over 45 feet on this Street. This number was established in the late 80s by using an average at the time and had no real relevance to reality other then the need to establish a number for the purpose was to prevent over sized buildings on the historic district which is important but any number within the 60 foot range could have been used and would have been historic and acceptable now and then. The new ordinance proposed still holds the 45 foot limit but gives Landmarks and City Planning flexibility based on the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, if indeed a project came down the pipe line, one that could enhance the district a chance to build and warranted further possibilities yet legally block others. We are talking about 8 feet and it does not jeopardize the historic designation. Nobody would risk that, especially the Landmarks Commission.

And it does need to be established that the commission is not bought and paid for by the administration. City Council has done a great disservice to this commission and City Planning by the statements and implications that were made and the claim that they could be influenced by outside forces. I tell you that all the individuals on this commission have the same care and concern for Ogden and the historic district as the writers and readers of this blog have for our city. Nor has there been any threats or influences in these decisions by anybody towards either commission.

I read this blog on occasion to get different points of view and find many here have very intellectual and different viewpoints which I think should be considered. But some here are very insulting and cruel which is why there are so few that participate from other points of view, or you might say the other side. There is a neutral ground. I think a healthy dialogue is important on any subject but to make accusations and call people cruel names is not professional nor fair on either side. This festers bias and bigotry and judgement before all sides are considered. It is a hard and important job that these commissioners and council folks have to do and there are many points of views and angles to see these controversial subjects. But with intelligent dialogue and open mindedness I think we can come together and guide Ogden into this next century with some wonderful plans and ideas rather then simply fear and criticize any and all the progress as being evil and wrong because the administration, rda, business owners/developers, and commissions are out to pull a fast one. I don't believe this is true. But it does take all points of views if everyone comes to the table ready to compromise and to listen to each other. That is the problem in Ogden right now, it is "us vs. them" attitude. Surely there is a place in the middle that is right and workable and civil. We need development and growth in Ogden. We all know this especially the business owners and property owners who are invested in this city. When we have those that are willing to invest and create and put in time and money, we should welcome it to a point or give it fair consideration. To simply reject them all and all ideas is not right nor is to take any scheme or idea that comes along. To separate is the key for sure and that is where community comes along. I feel this climate is harmful to the community. And yes, some ideas should be shot down or worked over. Not all are good. Responsible growth is the key, not "no growth or progress" or "unbridled growth". That is the purpose of the commissions and council and public input. Supposedly anyway.

This is my first time writing on this blog and I hope you will all treat me fairly as I am just trying to tell you as a Landmark Commissioner that many allegations made here and by some city council members are not right nor fair. I also feel that the council should have tabled this ordinance the first time it was presented with so much controversy over and done several work sessions by all the parties before making such a rash decision. As it is it appears they had made their decisions prior without hearing everyone, as a vendetta to the Mayor and very closed minded. And yes the points of view by many here should be considered. It is no secret that some on the council have it out for the Mayor and the administration no matter what. But this council represents all people and when a majority of the merchants on the district being considered are not being heard, that is an issue which leads us to where we are now.

The reasoning behind their saying no is the historic designation as are most comments on this blog. I agree. If that was to be threatened then the commissions would not have voted for the ordinance change. If one likes or dislikes the projects individually then that is a different story. I am not even sure if that design would have been the best. But we never even had the chance to get to that discussion, perhaps with some modifications it could have become a wonderful project that we all could have been proud of and would have helped in the progress and growth of our fantastic historic district. But now we will never know. Shot down because of closed mindedness.

I know this is a long letter but one that I feel I need to submit. I hope you will be considerate with my points of view as I am yours.

Sincerely,
A Landmarks Commissioner

Jason W. said...

To condense and paraphrase the above:

"Take the next step! Take the next step! Take the next step! Take the next step!"

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

danny said...

I think the letter from the Landmarks Commission member above speaks for itself.

Note she says the State Office has no AUTHORITY. But she does not dispute they have EXPERTISE, and that expertise said the Windsor remodel would lose the structure's historical status.

Note she says the Windsor proposal does not risk the historic status of the DISTRICT. But she does not dispute that the historic designation of the WINDSOR would be lost with the the change that was proposed.

Thus, the Landmarks member does not respond to the council's concern AT ALL, but instead writes a letter that while technically true, is intentionally misleading.

It is another example of why nobody trusts the Landmarks Commission anymore. They are a fraud, hand picked and tutored under the hand of the master of deception and misdirection himself, Matthew Godfrey.

And yeah, Ogden Properties threatens a civil and criminal lawsuit because the council didn't CHANGE and ordinance they way a developer wanted. These people are comical. Dave Harmer wrote the threat letter. Nobody else is that incompetent.

Thank you council for being the last sane voice in city government.

insanity said...

Curm:
Jason W. said...

I believe the amount initially proposed by Lying Little Matty Gondola Godfrey for his proposed THE VELODOUCHE was $100K; now his Forehead is seeking 10 times that amount? How on Geiger's Green Onion is he going to raise $25 million in this economy for THE VELODOUCHE? Much like he and THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE were going to generate $15 million by seeking $35K THE GONDOLA car decal deals. This teeny, impetuous, short-man's-diseased little municipaligoon is now officially insane.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

October 15, 2008 6:05 PM

And MY comment the other day was modified/deleted?? They said the same thing! I just happen to agree with Jason, even if I am new here. So why delete my definition?? It's fine...but I didn't name anyone in my comment. Do you have to be here for more than a day to have your personal opinions count? Guess I'll just let Jason keep saying what I'm feeling. Thanks Jason!

Curmudgeon said...

Landmarks Commissioner:

You wrote: I appreciate the city council and those that blog here and the citizens that are concerned about not risking the historic designation, but.... There are many examples of other cities that have worked successfully by incorporating modern design within their historic districts in and around their historic buildings. You can check with Ogden City Planning Dept for many examples which were presented to the Landmarks Commission and the City Planning Commission when this ordinance was introduced.

Let me note that, given the letters the Council received from very credible and experienced people in historic preservation, the argument you summarized above is exactly the one the advocates of changing the zoning should have made before the public and the Council to justify the proposed change, and to justify a rehearing on the matter. Let me also note that no one on the Administration's side bothered to make this case. Ms. Wilkerson didn't in her intemperate piece in the SE. Nor did any others. Absent credible evidence to counter the argument that the change requested would jeopardize the street's Historic District status, the Council had, I think, no reasonable grounds on which to grant a rehearing.

And I am still wondering, if all this evidence exists, why no one representing the Administration's position on this, bothered to use it to make their case in the public prints.

PS: Thanks for posting here. I wish there was more civility in these parts, and so more people with differing opinions posted here.

Bill C. said...

Great rebuttal Danny, I would add that Ogden Properties llc fraudulently misled the Council, with the aid of Harmer, expressing the need for financial assistence because they were going to follow all historic restoration guidelines and the finished product would comply and add to the historic district.
I like the way this LC cries for compromise without offering any plausible argument, like it's just the thing to do for the sake of doing it. And I guess this LC like the geigarian rant mob from last night doesn't aggree with Bernie that this ordinance was not about the Windsor Hotel at all.
Here's one I think they should consider, the 45 ft height limit has been and is beneficial to the district and should not be changed simply because we don't want any taller structures to dominate the beautifull old architecture we all ready have in place. It's really that simple. Nobody has offered anything near a compelling argument for a change.

disenchanted said...

insanity:

You're allowed to say anything you want on here as long as you're against anything and everything the Mayor proposes. It's very evident there's an extreme bias on this website.

insanity said...

Disenchanted....not true.
My post has apparently been completely removed now.
Regardless, it was in line with Jason's comment.
I'll just "Amen" to Jason's from now on...then maybe I won't get deleted.
I have YET to see anything good come of the Mayor and any of his proposals. I'm not biased about it. He's just a horrible Mayor, at best. I dare not say more, should my post get deleted.....
:(

Welcome to democrat world...no free speech unless you are one.

Historically Inaccurate said...

If I show up at a public meeting in socks and shoes and nothing else I would still be cited for indecent exposure – even though my feet were covered.

This blog has already published the national standard that states it is almost NEVER appropriate to add a roof addition to a building less than four stories in height. It ruins the scale of the building and the addition becomes the focal point. I have hyperlinked the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation (which you state is your primary guideline). Click on my handle and you can pull up the document. Compare the standard to the architectural drawings submitted by Ogden Properties LLC.

You have an extremely LOOSE interpretation of conforming. You left off details of the project that would ultimately deem the project as non-conforming under city, state and federal guidelines. The Utah and Weber County Heritage Foundations have decades of experience agree the Windsor project was a flawed design from the start. The SHPO office has determined it is non-conforming. Only after significant political pressure did they state they do not weigh in on this type of local issue. At no point have they indicated the proposed project conforms in any way.

Last night the mayor said, and it is now on public record, that we were going to have to accept the fact that to bolster economic development 25th Street needs to have non-conforming buildings. Do you agree with his on-the-record statement? Listen to the CD if you don’t believe he said it.

He also stated our goal should be “to look just like Park City.” At this time only 27% of their buildings still conform to federal standards within their historic district, and more lose their status each year. Is this the path you want 25th Street to take?

In your most recent Landmark’s Commission meeting one of the commissioners stated she was asked to resign by the mayor’s office and that another commissioner’s term was cut short by three years. This is also public record. What is your opinion on the mayor asking for the resignation of commissioners or cutting commission terms short when he doesn’t agree with their stance on the Gondola?

Two families decided to make this town a one-issue community – the Geigers and the Allens (Godfrey, Montgomery, etc.). Every time anyone has an opposing opinion on an issue small or large the “vendetta against the mayor” comment is thrown out. The argument is old and now sounds like whining. Mayor Godfrey has spent nine years in office. The community vibe directly reflects his leadership style. It’s difficult for two sides to come to the table when he only puts out chairs for his own people. There is so much distrust regarding the Mayor it may be difficult for him to ever regain any real credibility for much of the community. I don’t think it’s a vendetta. I think we’ve lost faith that he will be up front and honest about where he plans to lead the city. It’s almost impossible to work with a leader who fails to share all of the information needed to make a decision.

Was it appropriate for the Mayor to publicly criticize businessman George Hall and tell him to “put his money where his mouth is” by investing in Historic 25th Street? As a member of the historic community, you’re undoubtedly aware that he owns historic buildings on Lincoln and 25th Street and, along with his wife, recently made a sizable donation to the restoration of Ogden High School.

There are many in this community who want to work together but, when there is any disagreement, those with opposing viewpoints are touted as naysayers that want Ogden to fail.

I agree that personal comments detract from the overall good content on this blog. However, wouldn’t you agree the same personal attacks threatening people’s jobs and businesses was initiated by those who strongly support the Mayor? The Standard Examiner even substantiated the threats that were made against people’s employment in an editorial. Threats make PEOPLE hostile and defensive. Discussion, compromise, and shared vision create COMMUNITY.

Decide now what 25th Street will look like when your grandchildren stand and look up from Union Station. We’re all depending on you to make the best long-term decisions for our community.

dan s. said...

landmarks commissioner,

There are a lot of interrelated issues on the table here, and I realize that the height ordinance has gotten muddled up with the more specific issue of the proposed addition to the Windsor Hotel. But I'd like to ask you about the Windsor Hotel, as a project on its own merits, regardless of the height limit. OK?

Here's my question: Is it true that in March the Landmarks Commission approved a certificate of historic appropriateness for the Windsor Hotel, finding that the rooftop addition was compatible with the historic character of 25th Street? And if so, how do you explain that determination, in light of the federal guidelines and the city's own guidelines?

You've quoted the specific standard of Ogden City Code 17-4-1(I), which states that a new addition "shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment." How, exactly, did you come to the conclusion that the rooftop addition would be compatible in these ways?

Also, did you make a determination with respect to the standards of section 17-4-2, or is it your interpretation that this section applies only to totally new buildings, not to additions on existing buildings? If it does apply, what determinations did you make regarding height (subsection A), windows (subsection C), materials (subsection G), roof (subsection H), and size (subsection J)?

Thank you in advance for helping me understand how the Landmarks Commission made its determination.

Curmudgeon said...

Historically Inaccurate:

You wrote: Mayor Godfrey has spent nine years in office. The community vibe directly reflects his leadership style. It’s difficult for two sides to come to the table when he only puts out chairs for his own people. There is so much distrust regarding the Mayor it may be difficult for him to ever regain any real credibility for much of the community. I don’t think it’s a vendetta. I think we’ve lost faith that he will be up front and honest about where he plans to lead the city. It’s almost impossible to work with a leader who fails to share all of the information needed to make a decision.... There are many in this community who want to work together but, when there is any disagreement, those with opposing viewpoints are touted as naysayers that want Ogden to fail.

Exactly right. Excellent post. Thanks. The Mayor and his supporters immediately personalizing this disagreement with the Council, claiming the Council's vote was motivated by dislike of the Mayor, that it had and could have had no other and more substantive motives [like the letters from the preservation groups warning about 25th Street's loss of Historic District status].

When Hizzonah admits of no legitimate opposition to whatever he proposes, no possible valid crtiques of his ideas, he makes engaging him in reasoned, and reasonable debate and discussion nearly impossible.

A LANDMARKS COMMISSIONER said...

Thank you Curm for your thoughts and insights here and many other times I have read your posts. I read your posts especially and others when I come on here. For a long time I avoided it because of the negativity and would never post just simply because I have seen how those are treated if they present an opposing view to the majority here and get eaten alive. I feel inclined for many reasons now, mostly for the importance of the subject. I understand the frustrations presented here and I know the administration is where it is directed. I respect that point of view. I have also seen many of these examples and I do agree and on some of them. I also do not disagree with every move or decision that the Mayor and the RDA and developers have presented. It is a tricky balancing act and I also agree with the city council's ability to counter or balance the powers of government. I often agree with the city council as well even if they do not agree with our recommendations or that of any other advisory board such as City Planning Commission. There are times as well that I am frustrated with what they decide especially if it appears they are making decisions based on politics and anger towards the Mayor and administration. And often it appears so, especially right now. I turn to this blog on occasions when heated and controversial subjects are in motion to hear points of views or questions that may not be answered in sessions so I can see subjects by different points of view. It has been helpful in asking pertinent questions many times while in sessions. I also sift through words that are cruel and unfair and try to avoid them. But I do find many here intelligent and wise. I would definitely want to have a conversation over a cup of coffee at one of our many establishments in Ogden with many of you, and I would hope you feel the same.

I agree with you Curm and Historically Inaccurate that there is some evidence and questions towards the risk of losing national historic designation that is important to review and address. I have some too and have asked several of the concerned parties about them as much of this was not presented to us in the commission meetings. This is why the subject should have been then and now tabled for more meetings and investigations so the truth can come out completely. All of that is not solid data and I agree Curm there needs to be substantial evidence one way or the other which has not presented for either direction before slamming a major project. Since there is doubt I believe City Council should have held off on their vote until they got all this information and a chance for those to refute or to explain to all of us what they know and we all do not. There are things that have been presented after our vote and that of City Planning and a work session with each commission along with a meeting with Historic 25th Street Business Association and downtown Ogden businessses and any other interested citizens before such an important decision be made such as the folks here in this blog. At this time there is doubt and deviseness. Clarity would have been much better before turning away an important project. Perhaps there could have been a compromise for this project and for the developer. As I stated I do not necessarily agree with the design, I have mixed feelings on it but I do believe it and future projects should be brought to us to consider such as the new building that will be built in place of the recently, unfortunately, building razed on the street. Perhaps they would want to go to 55 feet, now they cannot no matter how good or reasonable the project may have been to the street. But we have not even had the chance to look further at it before slamming the door on what I think are important developers who are putting time, money and investment in cleaning up an important building in this district and what looks like a big improvement including the potential businesses on the bottom floor. City council slammed the door in their faces. Each historical agency, department, group have their function including Landmarks Commission. We all want to preserve the historical integrity of our national historic districts in our city including our east side community in which the Community Plan is beginning now. Historical integrity is important there as well which I find ironic that the same city council approved a project on 24th & Monroe that does not clearly meet the historic integrity of the district and will let it pass without further discussion. There are many in this area that are opposed to the design. Not the development but the design of southwestern style or historic Mexican architecture which does fit with the ethnic culture of the area at this time but not the historic integrity of the neighborhood from it's own past. How does City council explain that decision in light of the strong desire to protect historic integrity? That area does need to be developed and cleaned up but standards of design are applicable here as well as other areas. There are many in this neighborhood who oppose the design and it should be looked at after the Community Plan is completed just as the Mt. Ogden golf course, resort, gated homes and gondola were on hold for the making of that community plan. City Council was asked to reconsider this decision, not approve it. If they had actually approved reconsidering then they could have made progress with the community and the investors by at least hearing it out, and then making their decisions. After all the facts are hashed over then an intelligent and what I would have guessed a logical decision or compromise could have been made. That was blocked.

Historically inaccurate: You raise some great points on the other agencies that speak out. Much of that was not presented to Landmarks or City Planning Commission. It is important. I am not sure that their opinions affect the National Historic Registry designation but I would like to see each of those and present the questions to those that should know whomever that becomes at the end of all this. I would like to hear more and see more. From what I have seen is opinion not factual data for losing this. Nobody wants to risk that especially Landmarks. All this could have been brought out during the work sessions had City Council agreed to wait on this decision so we could have reviewed it with them. As you may know we have a work session planned soon with them by our request after so many accusations were directed to us by the Council. I feel those were inappropriate and very insulting. If indeed this were true I would never agree with this or any ordinance or development that would risk this now or any future projects. We should see it for future reference even if it is too late for this project. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation do not say anything specific to roof expansion. Read number 9 where it clearly states that new addition shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. This addition does not do that. As far as scale it would have been pulled far back from the front to avoid a strong distraction from the street. All that would have been hashed out had it had the chance to be discussed as such. Those are very good points and I wish we could have had that discussion. Is it the right fit for the street, well that is something open to discussion and debate and although this ordinance change directly affects the Windsor, it's long term purpose was for future projects as well. Do we just stop all from the gate or perhaps entertain what may be some good ideas down the line?

I understand your concerns about what seems to be a darkening of opposing of ideas. I am not sure why or what to do about that during this administration and thank goodness there are public comment segments of these meetings and this blog to turn towards. I feel it is unfortunate both directions. The divisiveness that has now plagued community is troubling and I agree with the concern of the rude comments that seem to be made in the meeting. We were a subject of that very thing as well recently. You all, or many of you here blame the Mayor and some rightfully so yet there are some things he has done right and for the interest of our community. I truly believe that. Perhaps there is plenty of blame to direct that way but it also goes to City Council as well who may have opposition or made decisions before the meeting even starts and in that cloud do not listen to the community from either side. But most of all towards community apathy, complacency as well as closed mindedness from both sides that have slowed or halted progress for many decades here in Ogden. I am happy to see passion and concern as many show here and at our meetings as well. I do agree that much of what you state is not what I would consider an open forum or a flow of ideas from all segments from the community at times. And I do agree with your words: "Discussion, compromise and shared vision create COMMUNITY." That says it all and beyond all the words I put here in this blog entry is my mantra too. I wish I had the answer to that one. The vote and to speak out is all I can say. There are those that are listening to all the people. I feel that I do and hope I will always. And that is a tight rope to walk sometime because there are good points on both sides but once all the questions get asked we eventually get to clarity and truth and often the answer seems obvious when all is on the table. That has been blocked here now only because all are not being listened to and consider and as you feel that towards the Mayor there are many, very many who feel that from City Council as of last nights meeting and the one prior. And Landmarks Commission and City Planning Commission were unduly criticized in this particular subject and some regrettable things were said by some of the council members that should have not. There will be time to mend that.

Dorene: I appreciate your diligence in protecting the tax increments for the buildings and district. The developers were not pursuing any tax increments in this building. The building was not at risk for losing their National Historic District status. This is decided building by building and one does not affect the other. I just wish you would have listened to us in the upcoming work session before you made these decisions so stubbornly and perhaps included us in the knowledge that you may have. Instead now there is a distrust and now a huge disconnect between our two groups. We were decided by your body and we work with and for you as a recommending group and the citizens of Ogden. For you and the other council persons to question that was hugely devastating to all of us as we feel our integrity is in check and were then accused of what is not true. I would have appreciated the chance to hear why you feel this should not go through and perhaps listen to us and others before this decision in a work session. We are appointed, you are voted upon. It is both of our responsibilities to see all sides.

DANNY: I feel that this letter has value and merit. How much? That has not totally been established but as you read it there is a lot of "could", "may" and "mights". Not any WILL or DOES when it comes to the loss of the national register status. My reply to the council is they should have tabled this subject to learn and hear more and all others could have had the chance to speak. Not just on the Windsor but of the merits of this ordinance revision and there are some.

"Nobody trusts the Landmarks Commission"? We are a fraud and hand picked and tutored under the master of deception and misdirection himself.... " that is the most insulting of all and I will tell you it is not true. We volunteer our time and I do know as I sit with this group that we work very hard in preserving the integrity of our wonderfully historic city which we all believe in preservation. The fact is that there will be development presented to us and we need it and we have had to make some hard decisions on many subjects. I wish you would take that back. I want you to know that this is not true and I do take it personal. Come to our meetings and that of City Planning Commission yourself and you will see. They are open meetings, it is recorded and minutes taken and a record of our votes. And I am also pleased that there is the city council that is the last voice in many of the recommendations that we submit as they are presented to us and I like to think I can trust them with our prior work. But in this case I believe they made a wrong decision by not hearing us all when there was so much doubt and confusion on this subject where so much is at stake on both sides. Once it all got hashed out we would all have agreed in the outcome or the compromise as I feel it would have been obvious. And Danny, you assume that I am a she. I may be... but again I may be a he.

Rudi/blogmeister. I apologize for taking so much space on your blog but I thank you for letting me write. I hope some of what I say here means something to somebody and makes some sense. I am open to hear and learn more. I think we should all do so.... that is what we feel we do is listen and learn and make decisions by our vote in Landmarks Commission meetings. I welcome anybody to come to our meetings and give us input. This blog is a great forum to exchange ideas and discuss important topics as well if civility is the mode and I am glad it can be in it's vigor. Thanks for the opportunity to voice my point of view and perspective and to hear others.

Sincerely,
A Landmarks Commissioner

Anonymous said...

If I wanted to have lunch with you, how could I arrange that?

geiger lover said...

WoW and i thought the mayor was full of poop. Potty mouth is being good tonight. A Landmarks Commissioner nice calling card geiger wanna be.

Historically Inaccurate said...

Landmarks Commissioner,

You did not answer my question about the Secretary of the Interior Standards link below.

http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/tax/ITS/its_47.pdf

It clearly states that rooftop additions of this type are NOT appropriate. The example of poor development looks almost exactly like the proposed Windsor addition.

You stated these are the federal guidelines you follow.

You also failed to answer my questions about what the mayor said on public record about the direction he'd like 25th Street to go -- more non-conforming buildings.

Please let us know where you stand.

curious 1 said...

Nice letter Landmarks Comm but wouldn't the second part of the ordinance take the City Council out of being the last voice in the recomendations that are submitted?
Leaving all future decisions only in the hands of the Landmarks Commission and the Planing Department scares most of the citizens that do care about Ogden. We don't want to look like Park City. We do need development but unless you are a friend of the administration your development will not be approved.
Again no arguments were presented that would assure no loss of Historical desigination, just that it was another road block for a developer that will bring millions into Ogden.
Show us the data, financial background, we don't need to subsidize another private business like we subsidize the Junction on monthly bond payments.
To say that other projects now can't get developed with this one project on hold seems to be more smoke and mirrors and threats. With the current lending crunch seems like more or an excuse to bail on a bad investment, one that they wanted to make some easy money on. I see promises made behind closed doors that couldn't come true.
I hope they do try and sue the city to recover any money lost, and contracts, persons involved will have to come forward and be disected in the public venue.

dan s. said...

I'm not sure it's a good idea (or even consistent with Utah law) for the City Council to routinely make decisions on individual development projects. That's really an administrative task that belongs to the Planning Commission and, for historic areas, the Landmarks Commission. The City Council, as the legislative body, passes ordinances defining what criteria a project must meet in order to be approved.

In the case of the Windsor, we apparently have a situation where the Landmarks Commission (with the encouragement of administration staff) made an overly broad interpretation of the parameters set by the Council. This appears to indicate that the Landmarks Commission isn't functioning as it should. The obvious remedy would be for the council to revise the applicable ordinance to clarify the standards and leave the Landmarks Commission less discretion. There may also be legal remedies if it could be shown in court that the Landmarks Commission had disregarded the ordinance.

Seen It All said...

The question was asked: “WHY on earth are some of the other business owners so fanatically in favor of this ordinance change? Economic stimulation to the street? I have trouble buying that alone.”

You’re right! Most of those 25th Street property owners who have spoken at the last three council meetings have ulterior motives. They want to increase the height of their own historic buildings and was planning on the passage of the ordinance that would have allowed adding more height to their buildings. They care not for the national historic designation – in their short-sightedness, they want to kill their golden goose. We have too many greedy fortune-seekers (at Ogden taxpayers expense) recruited from California by our devious mayor.

Can you blame them for being so agitated? Godfrey lured them here with promises that the gullible council would do the bidding of his uncle, Greg Montgomery, who happens to be the planning department manager.

A LANDMARKS COMMISSIONER said...

There are some good points being made here and thank you. I am going to dig a bit further today and absorb some of the thoughts and comments and get back here after work regarding the questions and statements made here particularly by Curm, historically inaccurate (interesting), dan s, bill c and danny. Much to chew on and I am going to review the original meetings and ask some questions and respond when I get back from my day at first chance. Bare with me and thanks for your civility in this discussion. I too want to know more and again that is why I feel this should have been tabled so there could have been some open discussions in meetings where all of this can be presented and questions asked and answered for us all before we scrapped the entire project. Yes this ordinance coming up now does pertain to the Windsor Hotel and could benefit for possible future projects. That is obvious yet has further implications as we all know. I said that I was not completely convinced of the design as of now and would liked to have had a serious discussion of the design separateof the ordinance revision proposal. With discussion and perhaps compromise it may have worked within these guidelines which will not be totally be answered now because the discussion is off the table. Your example was well taken. More later... Thanks again.

And I ask for feedback and return answer on the 24th and Monroe project and it's seemingly contradiction to design elements in this community. And what do you think if a developer wants to build a three story building on 25th street as the original that stood in the spot the size of say the Painted Lady building which still stands and is around 55 feet? Many origianl historic buildings were of that size which are unfortunately gone now but the one still stands. Is that unacceptable even though there were and is buildings of that size on 25th street? Perhaps 55 feet would be better, it does not go against the historic designs. Each project would be presented for it's own merits within the ordinance.

One other point which I will elaborate later regarding the question of the Mayors comments. I did not hear them as I was not there and this is the first that I heard of it.

Sincerely,
A Landmarks Commissioner

Ed J said...

seen it all
most 25th st building owners are not in favor of changing ordinance.you have only seen 2 or 3building owners screaming for change.they are real estate people,their employees and a few others that are too naive to know better.majority of building owners remained silent knowing that most of the elected cc would not bow to this kind of ransom.don't be putting the bs on the 25th street folks.they didn't make all the false promises to lure in the leeches.

uncle rico said...

Landmarks Commissioner-
I am very sick and tired of this issue. It has all become so volatile. It is unfortunate. This could have been such a wonderful community discussion, but it never materialized. However, to answer your question about allowing buildings that were once in the district that were taller, I think it all depends on when those taller buildings were razed. It is my understanding that what matters is what was in the historic district when the historic district was listed. Historic designations, when they are formally listed, take into consideration what is currently in place (not what was once was). So the significance of a district is based on what is there when it is listed. So if those taller buildings have been demolished since the district has been in place, I think you might have an argument. But if those taller buildings were razed prior to the district being listed, I don't think the argument is there. But then again, I could be way off base.

Curmudgeon said...

EJ:

There have been several claims here that many, sometimes most, of the business and property owners on 25th Street don't support changing the zoning to accommodate the Windsor developers.

Still, so far as I recall, most, if not all, the business owners who stepped up and went on the record at the Council meeting or in the public prints, supported the zoning change. How many disagree with them, then, is purely a matter of conjecture unless and until those owners who do are willing to go on the record themselves. You may be right in your claims. You may be wrong. But the fact is, we can't know until the "no" group steps up and goes on the record. And the fact is, to date, nearly all who have gone on the record are for the change.

Curmudgeon said...

Uncle Rico:

You said: this issue. It has all become so volatile. It is unfortunate. This could have been such a wonderful community discussion, but it never materialized.

Couldn't agree more. What a missed opportunity. Suppose for a moment that the reaction of Ms. Wilkerson and others to the Council voting "no" the first time had not been intemperate screeds, anger, charges of political chicanery and personal vendettas, etc. Suppose instead Ms. Wilkerson --- or the current LC chair, speaking for the Commission --- had issued a statement like this immediately following the first "no" vote:

"The letters to the City Council cautioning that changing the zoning on 25th Street might endanger the street's Historic District status raise serious questions. We wish the Heritage society etc. had made their concerns known to us during the time we were considering the proposed changes. That would have been the proper time to have had their objections discussed in detail. Unfortunately, they did not make their objections known until the matter reached the Council.

We believe those who think changing the zoning will endanger the street's Historic District status are wrong about that. And we think we can, on the basis of sound and substantial evidence, convince the Council and the public that those fears are unfounded. All we ask now is that the Council reopen the matter, so we can present the evidence we think is compelling to the Council at a work session. Perhaps those who advised the Council otherwise could be present as well, and we could both make our cases, and provide our evidence, to the Council. This matter is, we think, important to both the economic future of downtown Ogden and to the preservation and rehabilitation of historic structures on 25th Street, and so we think it very important that the Council hear all the significant evidence on the matter before making its final decision. The Council will still have the opportunity, if it finds our evidence unconvincing, to vote again to deny the change.

For that reason, we ask that the Council place the matter back on the agenda for reconsideration, that we be invited to meet with the Council on this topic in the very near future."


Had I been on the Council, I'd have found it very difficult to reject an appeal put that way. That would probably have triggered exactly the kind of discussion you think should have taken place on this. Sadly, instead, we got charges of personal vendettas, rants about how ashamed people were of Ogden, assertions by Mayor Godfrey that it was really all about him, and so on.

An opportunity missed....

Ed J said...

curm
my family has multiple tenants on the street.other building owners have tenants on the street.no use dragging them through the mud.we had a quiet confidence the cc would prevail.

beaver said...

Landmarks Commissioner:

See email below for just one example of why Ogden residents might think your Commission bows at the feet of our Little Lord Mayor. The saying "you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas" comes to mind.

From: sue wilkerson

Date: September 24, 2008 5:19:08 PM MDT

To: gregmontgomery@ci.ogden.ut.us,johnmayer@ci.ogden.ut.us,johnpatterson@ci.ogden.ut.us,MatthewGodfrey@ci.ogden.ut.us,tom@xxxxxxxxx.com,tomchristopulos@ci.ogden.ut.us

Cc: TMooreSr@lcpm.net

Subject: Fwd: Central City Community Plan

Mayor, Greg, John, John, Tom

Here is more of the series of events. As you can see, Tom (Moore) has asked
Caitlin for confirmation of her improprieties. What kind of council gets a
false letter (or at best, misleading one) to get their way? This is un-----real.
I think that it might be great to have the planning commission and landmarks
compose a new ordinance - and again - recommend it to the council and ... again
bring it up for discussion/v ote on October 7th or 14th.

I am composing the letter to the editor, as soon as the proof of this false
letter has been proven. This has gone way too far. I have obtained the
transcripts - and the tone is very clear here.

yours faithfully,
The-easily-swayable-landmark-commissioner...NOT

uncle rico said...

Curm-
Also, don't forget that some unfortunate things have also been said by the City Council. It seems all sides, everybody involved, on this issue has been at some point at least a little bit irrational. My question is, can everybody take the higher road and put that behind them now and move forward w/ a much better dialog?

EJ said...

landmark commissioner
please respond on this forum to wilkerson letter posted by beaver

Bill C. said...

Curm,in making your hypothetical response you've failed to consider the obvious fact that certain members of the LC as well as the administration have no desire to expose the facts and motivations behind what they're trying to do in this case other than what we can gleem from their subsequent comments. Nice try though. It would be nice if there weren't so many documented reasons to distrust this administration.

danny said...

I would respectfully say that Curm and Dan S. piss me off.

You can read the vacuous postings of the Landmarks Commissioner yourself.

She addresses nothing, instead, calling for the canard of working together. Why is it a canard in her case? Because her Lord Godfrey works with no one!

Is this what a Landmark's meeting is like (i.e. reading the Landmarks Committee postings)? Talk and talk and talk with no one saying anything?

There have been numerous, credible persons who said DO NOT DO THIS. LC has not offered a SHRED of rebuttal, only obfuscation.

And Curm and Dan S. in their quest for civility suggest the LC should have discretion or that the issue should have been revisited. You can't be civil when the other side is dropping ordnance on you. If you tire of the fight then leave the ring until you can catch your breath.

BTW my comments toward Curm and Dan S. are made with the greatest respect and toward LC member with contempt. She is either trying to mislead with her windy, vacuous posts or she is a airhead space filler on the LC that Wilkerson can have her way with. Sorry, but true.

Bill C. said...

LC, am I right to conclude from from your posts that so far the Coucil did the right thing, due to the lack of communication and so many unanswered questions? Would you acknowlege that like almost all these administrative proposals are presented in haste, and that any full reckoning is discouraged?

Jason W. said...

Danny:

"Take the next step! Take the next step! Take the next step! Take the next step!"

Goddamn rights. ALC's onion peels are all too translucent, flimsy, plain and revealing.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Bullet Sponge said...

Landmarks Commissioner,

Thanks for braving some of the hostility to discuss this here with us...

I'd like to explain why the Landmarks Commission has lost its credibility in the eyes of many.

Back when Godfrey was running for re-election, when the LC was considered a protector of historic preservation, Scott Brown had many of his non-conforming plans for the rear of his building scuttled by the LC. During this meeting, he angrily stated the he would see to it the commissioners were removed.

No sooner is Godfrey re-elected than he begins his LC assault, removing Libby Norvell (a NEW member who they JUST sent to training and who had years of experience in historic preservation) and Bonnie Galbraith, a commissioner for 10 years who was also very good at what she did. He also ends up asking for the resignation of Connie Cox (who has not as of yet).

The Weber County Heritage Foundation, which has a standing appointment to the commission, had always PICKED their member to be on LC. This time Godfrey decides HE'S going to pick the member, and ends up picking a newcomer to the WCHF, rather than several more qualified members.

All the new members have one important thing in common. They are Godfrey supporters.

Next up, Scott Brown's non-conforming building renovations are magically approved. The Windsor is also approved (even though violating 6 or 7 guidelines the Landmarks completely ignored).

So you've got a combination of commission stacking and bad decision making.

Godfrey insisted at the Council Meeting that the commission was fine because it was approved by the council. Well I know not everyone on that council liked it but shortsightedly decided it was a fight they didn't want to pick at the time.

Godfrey said if there is a problem with the commission they should point out the members that are a problem and something could be done.

I'll submit to him now ALL members who voted to approve recent non-conforming changes to Scott Brown property and the Windsor be ejected, Bonnie and Libby be reinstated, and the WCHF be allowed to pick its own member. THEN and ONLY THEN will you see some credibility restored to the Landmarks commission.

bullet sponge said...

I think I should clarify one thing. This isn't a personal attack on specific LC members, but an attack the way in which the commission has recently been "set up" by the administration. Whether or not the LC's majority support of Godfrey influences their votes, the perception is there, and there was NO REASON to shake up what was already an excellent and trusted commission.

That said the Windsor decision was HORRIBLE. If you look at the minutes of the last Landmarks meeting you'll see the info packet given to the commission conveniently leaves out the parts that may violate guidelines. The commission has access to these on their own however. There is no doubt there was an attempt to mislead on the part of the administration. We need a LC that has the experience and know-how to make proper decisions not based only on what is spoon-fed them by the administration.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

1.If the LC had approached the Council saying it believed the Heritage and UHS letters were wrong in their conclusions, and that the Commission had evidence to back that claim up, nothing would have been lost by agreeing to put the matter back on the agenda and agreeing to hear that evidence. The zoning change had been denied, so nothing was going to happen in the interim. Either the LC had the evidence to convince the Council, or it didn't. There could have been only two possible outcomes: (a) the LC didn't have the goods, and the Council then refused to permit the rezoning again (b) the LC did have the goods, and the Council reconsidered its earlier vote in light of new information. I don't see the city losing by either outcome. And I'm always leery of folks who don't want to hear evidence on a matter in dispute. Makes me wonder why....

2. But neither the LC nor Ms. Wilkerson as [self-appointed?] spokeswoman for the administration position made that appeal for a rehearing. Instead, we got, in the public prints and at the Council meeting, invective, angry charges, etc.

3. You wrote: You can't be civil when the other side is dropping ordnance on you. If you tire of the fight then leave the ring until you can catch your breath. BS. Plain and simple, BS. Nobody's dropping ordnance on anybody. This is a public policy dispute, Danny, not a war. You win by convincing a majority of the people you need to convince that you are right and the other guys are wrong. You're endorsing the idea, popular with some here, that hurling invective is, somehow, an effective tactic for doing that. BS. About all it does, Danny, is make the hurler feel good. It does damn all to convince anyone not already convinced one way or the other that your side is right. It alienates as well some of the people... council members, for example... who you not only want to convince, but need to convince. The notion that if you're not hurling invective, you're not engaged in the fight is nonsense.

4. The only reason the Windsor rehab came before the Council is that it needed either a variance or a change in zoning to proceed as planned. If the Windsor developers had submitted a rehab plan that did not take the elevation above 45 feet, it would never have come to the Council for its approval at all. It would have needed only the approval of the Planning Commission and the Landmarks Commission. That's the system that would still prevail if the height limit is raised to 55 feet downtown. Unless a variance or zoning change is needed, project approval stays with the Planning Commission and the Landmarks Commission.

I share your distrust of the current administration with respect to its undermining the independence of the LC and other citizen commissions and committees. And the Mayor is now paying the price for his trade-mark ham-fisted attempt to stack the decks in his favor. But, on the other hand, I don't think the Council wants to... or should... get involved in reviewing every building permit applied for, every project proposed that comes before the PC or the LC. They'd have no time then to do much of anything else.

Bill C. said...

LC, I know folks have probably overwhelmed you but, this is too important to neglect.
There is in the Councils hands testimony, full of very well articulated reasons to back the action they took. All of which shows a lack of diligence and understanding on the Landmarks Commissions' behalf. All of it provided by experts in the area of your concern.
Your side,(please excuse the reference to sides as you may have been in the minority on the commission) had an expert show up at the Council meeting. Due to the proccess the vote was taken before he could speak and effect the outcome. Out of consideration for his position and effort to come the Council allowed him to speak after. I as were many was shocked when his only response when asked about the details in the Murphy letter responded it simply does not exist, and refused to go into any further discussion.
So, forgive us for feeling that this commission has not lived up to its responsibilities and deffinately seems to be led by unqualified or uncaring folks with their own personal agendas to pursue.
In light of what you've learned in the last 2 days that should have known a long time ago, what's your response?

danny said...

Landmarks Commission member is going nowhere and never, cannot, go anywhere but nowhere.

All evidence supported the council's decision. No new evidence was brought forward after the first vote. There was no reason for a re-vote. Suck up all you want Curm. There was no reason. The Windsor folks lambasted the council in two separate meetings and multiple times in the paper - all with no supporting information - because had the vote gone their way the Windsor would be off the historical list. No one disputes that anymore! Jimmy H. Carter! Can you people knock off the kissy crap?

Many of the posters here have brought forth additional background data. All of it is very adverse to the Landmarks Commission.

The Landmark's commission member offers nothing but an appeal to be nice. Who is not being nice?

But the Landmarks Commission is clearly a sham organization comprising Godfrey partisans and mice who stand for nothing but cave in to be nice.

Thank you LC member for showing you have NOTHING to support your position other than a call to be a mousy suck up like you appear to be. And thanks to all the posters who HAVE brought forward today additional damning evidence against the Landmarks Commission.

The Landmarks Commission - call it what you will, is smells so familiar, and is merely Godfrey by an other name. Oh yes, LC, you are no doubt so offended. I too am offended - by people like you.

Since we're both offended that makes us even on that score. Now perhaps we can move on.

peace said...

The Landmarks Commission is not evil or Godfrey by another name. I don't see how attacking them does any good. They are another volunteer committee who has done a lot of good work in Ogden, overall. I hope they move forward in a positive manner and do what's right for Ogden and its landmarks. Thanks to LC for posting and trying to get points across.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

You wrote: No new evidence was brought forward after the first vote. There was no reason for a re-vote.

Well, Danny, had you been paying attention and not let your anger run away with you, you'd know that you're saying here exactly what I've been saying, here [and in an email to the Council members]. That absent any evidence being presented to show that the street's Historic District's designation would not be compromised, the Council should not re-visit the matter.

What I said also, and what seems to have you upset, was that if the LC had replied to the first vote by saying it believed the Heritage foundation etc. were wrong, and that it could demonstrate that with evidence, then the Council would have been prudent to have reopened to matter to hear what they had to say. But the LC didn't say that. Nor did Ms. Wilkerson. Nor did, so far as I know, anyone on the Administration's side of this issue. All we got instead in the SE was intemperate ranting and finger-pointing. Given that, as I said here [and to the Council members], there was no reason to reopen the matter. Glad you agree.

The only other thing we disagree about is your thinking that this... "Thank you LC member for showing you have NOTHING to support your position other than a call to be a mousy suck up"... is effective argument or adds up to anything other than indulging yourself or accomplishes anything other than making you, somehow, feel good for a moment or two.

Curmudgeon said...

Peace:
Good post.

Bill C. said...

Oh Curm, you noble champion of pacification.
Curm, you shoulda been there, it was great. I was so proud of the Council members, not only for how they voted but for their ability to sit patiently by and recieve all that misguided ill informed geigerian blather hurled at them by these lying little matty rear licking supporters. Short deck even took a turn, in his best combination style of Parry Mason and Forrest Gump he mimicked g-trains expert, telling the Council they errored because they based their conclussion on evidence that simply does not exist.
Geeze Curm, you could of made a bundle selling pacifiers to g-trains flock, I haven't seen a bunch so whooped up on bad kool-aid since the heyday of lift ogden, touting gondolas.

Historically Inaccurate said...

Rudi,

Would you be so good as to provide a hyperlink for the url here if you get a chance: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/tax/ITS/its_47.pdf

Would you please also link the Windsor’s architectural drawings so people can again make the comparison?

If audio file of the city council meeting is provided, can you publish it?

Thank you.




Landmarks Commissioner,

While I have never served on a volunteer commission I can imagine the amount of time involved. It is your personal time and you’ve chosen to invest it in public service and for that the community applauds you.

I have served on other volunteer committees before and while I’ve always valued the opinions of staff, I have realized I am ultimately responsible for my decision and vote and when appropriate voted against a recommendation they supported. I pulled the Secretary of the Interior Standards off the Internet after about 10 minutes of research – having never done that type of historical research before. If the Landmarks Commission worked as a team, you could very easily verify staff information. Have one commissioner call SHPO on big decisions, while another contacts other preservation advocates or reviews standards available on the Web.

Perhaps this is the first packet staff has sent that has been somewhat misleading. The standard listed above specifically addresses roof additions and the Windsor mimics the “what not to do” example. It is hard to believe there was not some sort of political pressure to not let the commission know about the standard.

This thread has gotten pretty long, so I’d like to restate my questions. I appreciate you taking time to research them.

There are several types of additions that can be made to a historic building and various standards that apply based on the type of addition. When reviewing the standard above that specifically addresses ROOFTOP additions in a historic district, should you have voted to support the proposed Windsor renovation?

The mayor said that we were going to have to accept the fact that to bolster economic development 25th Street needs to have non-conforming buildings. Do you agree with his on-the-record statement?

Was it appropriate for the Mayor to publicly criticize a local businessman already invested in Historic 25th Street and historic preservation because the Mayor disagreed with him on this issue?

The businessman in question is somewhat immune to city retribution, but other business owners may not be. Based on the Mayor’s conduct isn’t it possible that there are other businesses on 25th Street that also want to keep the height restrictions and historic atmosphere in tact, but fear retribution (but public and private) if they speak out?

He also stated our goal should be to look like Park City and we would be lucky to resemble their Main Street. At this time only 27% of their buildings still conform to federal standards within their historic district, and more lose their status each year. Is this the path you want 25th Street to take?

The Park City comments were especially troubling to me. Ogden’s demographics mean there are certain types of retail that work in Park City aren’t an economic reality for us and their Main Street increasing looks like every other resort town I’ve been to and is losing more and more of the small scale original details that drew people to the community to begin with.

http://www.parkcity.org/aboutparkcity/demographics.html
Park City Median Household Income: $65,800

http://www.ogdencity.com/index.php?module=ibcms&fxn=about.community
http://censtats.census.gov/data/UT/1604955980.pdf
Ogden Median Household Income: $34,047

The next Landmarks Commission Meeting is October 30th.

The Star Noodle Building is on the agenda.

It would be wonderful to see the Landmarks Commission and developers work together to create a successful business venture that adds to the community within historic guidelines. There is no place I’d rather have lunch, dinner, or shop than 25th Street. I’d also love to see the developer receive the 20% tax credits available to businesses who follow the guidelines and the commission help them make sure they get those economic incentives. Tax credits are not write-offs. It’s money given directly to businesses and it can really add up.

Christmas is fast approaching. I’ve decided to spend most of this year’s budget on 25th Street. I’m also planning on letting merchants know I want the height restrictions to stay in place and would appreciate their support.

A LANDMARKS COMMISSIONER said...

I have not had a chance to review all the posts here to reply yet. Most are civil and I don't understand why insults and immature ranting gets anything done. I believe we are having a dialogue here and I am sticking my neck out here to understand some logical and I think well executed points of views. I have questions too and I am relaying what I know and don't know and where we are at this point and how we got here and perhaps where is best to go. It has all happened very fast. I am data gathering at this point. The most important thing I want to say right now before I get to anymore details is that most of the evidence that has been shown to me here, the letter by Murphy, the examples of roofing additions and many comments and points were not available to us at Landmarks nor were presented to us or City Planning. I am not saying that this was purposeful but much of it surfaced and occurred during the City Council reviews. We did not have much of this information at the time it was presented to us. That is why I am inquiring and why Landmarks is concerned. We are individuals and addressing this in our own ways individually and we did discuss it in our last meeting. Most of that discussion were the insults made by city council to us and questions as to the validity of the letter and that is when we made a formal request to have a work session to discuss all of these items to better understand. The work session is in progress from what I understand as from the email from Bill Cook, some council members were traveling.

I see we have moved on to other topics here so wonder if it is worth my going into further details if we are onto other things and nobody is here any longer or interested.

My main point above all is this. I agree there has not been much evidence to dispute what has been presented to the council. We did not see any of this information for whatever reasons. That is why I said since there was any doubt at all it would have been prudent to have tabled this ordinance revision and give us a chance to hear about it and ask questions and perhaps challenge the claims if necessary and for the powers at be answer the questions and for Landmarks to have a chance to weigh in. The more I hear from you all I see there is much more then I imagined to this story. Now I know many here have made up their minds on this but from my point of view there is still more to understand and hear. That's what we do. I am concerned that there were items that were not presented to us or the city planning commission. And I think this topic and the potential development and renovation of the Windsor and other buildings yet to be presented is too important to have just let it slip through as it did so fast and hastily through both commissions and city council as well. With this much dispute there needed/needs to be answers.

Most here are civil and that is where I would direct this discussion. This Danny character is an example of closed minded and rudeness that many consider this blog to be and why more do not participate. And how unfortunate that true dialogue and discussion cannot be had because one does not agree. He uses the word contempt, well perhaps he should look in the mirror. He has some legitimate concerns, for that I agree but does it do any good to make such hostile allegations and personal attacks? He is doing exactly what he claims "the other side" is doing. Was it even worth taking my time to come here and discuss this if all it is viewed is as long winded, vaucous rants? I know this is only by one but you see how this makes the entire blog seem hostile? The claim that everyone else not agreeing with him are wrong and cannot be listened to is exactly what he is claiming from the administration and the supposed sheep that follow. I am telling you, I am my own person and I base my decisions by what is presented and what we have access and from folks that come to us and speak out on issues with logic and conscience. I take pride actually in my/our work and what I feel is my and I think our independence which of course I cannot speak for everyone but I feel having worked with this group that the diversity and knowledge I have seen is impressive. The claims you make as if the commission is a conspiracy for the Mayor or administration is completely wrong. As I said, come to our meetings. See for yourself and participate if you fill so inclined. Each and every case is different and there are way more sides to most petitions then merely black and white, just like this case. Many are tough decisions. I have no preconceived agenda other then to do what is best for Ogden from my point of view based on what is brought before us based on fact and ideas. We each have a voice and we each have a vote. Thats it.

Let me know if anyone is still interested and wanting to talk more about this. Perhaps it is too late for this project but the discussion ought to be made for future projects. I don't believe it will go away. I suspect a new ordinance may present itself or the legal proceedings will now dominate. That is my own assumption but I think a logical one. The limitation of the 45 feet may not be best. Design discussions are a total other topic.

Uncle rico, there is an existing building now on lower 25th street, Artist & Heirlooms, owned by Tami Crowley who this blog ate up, chewed apart and treated what I think rather cruel because of speaking out. As if her investment or concerns have no value at all but those here do just because you may differ with her. Her building is 56 feet range. The figure was done by an average based on the buildings from the late 80s.

Let me know if this discussion is still in motion. There have been some great remarks made here and some things that I had not thought about and I thank you for that. You all have really got me thinking and wondering. I will find out for my own self. I will get on later and if there is civil interest I will continue. Perhaps all of this will come out in a court of law now which I feel is unfortunate for the time and money for everyone and the delays. That is why i still feel this should have been tabled and more discussion put onto it before such a rash decision was made by city council. I know I am unsettled about it and many others as well. Just as you are here.

Thanks again...
Sincerely,
A Landmarks Commissioner

Historically Inaccurate said...

Landmarks Commissioner. I am still waiting for a response. I appreciate you need time for some research, but not all of my previously stated questions require research.

You can answer based on your own opinion and judgement.

There are now close to 80 comments on this thread.

Nobody is tuning out. I'll check back on Friday and Saturday if neccessary.

Are any other readers willing to do the same?

disgusted said...

a landmarks commissioner

i am curious was greg montgomery on the staff that provided and presented to your committee the briefing and information and finding of fact packet for the windsor hotel.

Asking Landmarks Commissioner said...

Landmarks Commissioner, you said: “The reasoning behind their saying no is the historic designation as are most comments on this blog. I agree. If that was to be threatened then the commissions would not have voted for the ordinance change.”

Please explain how the Commission could vote for the change against the SHPO? I understand that the SHPO gave an “unofficial” statement stating that the Windsor Hotel would not qualify for tax credits which means that the hotel would not meet the Secretary’s of the Interior standards with the proposed addition. Mr. Kirk Huffaker, Executive Director of the Utah Heritage Foundation attended the March 23 Council meeting, and spoke and said that the Windsor Hotel being a major contributor to the Historic District would not threaten historic district designation if it lost its historic designation, but the Council would be setting a dangerous precedent, because if a few other buildings no longer qualified for historic district designation, then the Historic 25th Street District would probably lose its historic designation.

As far as the Landmarks Commission goes, the former Commissions have done a wonderful job with helping to establish the Historic 25th Street Historic District and helping to preserve the historic homes and buildings in Ogden. Earlier this year the Mayor removed experienced, trained and independent members on the Commission after they refused to approve a project that Scott Brown wanted. He told some of the 25th Street business owners that they would soon be gone and they were. The integrity and sincere desire to serve well of the new members is not questioned, but they are inexperienced, naïve and haven’t learned that Godfrey and his administration aren’t truthful can’t be trusted so they do as he wants because he has a silver tongue. As for Sue Wilkerson, she is so compromised and has a huge conflict of interest being paid commissions for many of the buildings, condos and houses that Ogden City has had a hand in, and serving on the Landmarks Commission. If she did the honorable thing, she would resign her position on the Commission. But she doesn’t have that much integrity.

Jason W. said...

ALC dupe/fraud/Godfreyite/GTrain surrogate:

Respond to GTrain Wilkerson's personal email to Lying Little Matty Gondola Godfrey and his department heads about the "un------real" actions of the council, of the "once I get documentation of the deceit" grade-school accusations, about the NOT! second-grade exclamation, then repeat that you are not a toady of The Forehead; respond to the notion that you offer nothing but surface platitudes about agreements and civility, when the master you serve is an evil dwarf who has never spent a day in office without lying, cheating, bullying, obsfucating, compensating for his short-man's disease, and being a delusional douchebag midget from Harrisville; substantiate your claim that refusing an eight-foot addition is "ludicrous." You cannot, thus you will not, and that is why you are repudiated here, and rightly so. Danny had you pegged from the get-go, and I, for one, do not appreciate your service, I do not appreciate your point of view, I do not appreciate your ignorance, I do not appreciate your selfishness, and I do not appreciate what you are doing to OTown because you, like all the other fractioned-brained jerkoffs circling teeny Matty like he's half a Jim Jones, is that you sheeplike middle schoolers regard the community-saving wonder that is THE GONDOLA, Lying Little Matty, and its collective Geigerian horde of cheerleading morons as a good idea; you are stupid. I, and many like me, think you suck. But I'll say it. And, please, next time you're in Priesthood meeting or whatever you subjugated women do on Sundays, tell that self-righteous asshole Disenchanted that if he knows me and my family so well, he'd/she'd best bring his/her concerns to my front porch, rather than composing bullshit behind a pseudonymn. I'll make lemondate, but I'll ask that he/she lay off the onions, capeesh?

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Jason W. said...

On a THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE-related side note, his team (the Zoobies; I read some ski industry profile wherein THE SKI proclaimed his undying and onion-reeking love for the Godforsaken Cosmos) is taking a world-class beatdown in Fort Worth. Buy-bye, BCS, THE SKI; I hope you have some onion rolls and some thrift-store jackets to tide you over.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Where Did You Sit said...

Just curious LC, did you sit by your BFF Tom Moore at the meeting?

Curmudgeon said...

Bill C:

Sigh...
One more time...
You wrote: Oh Curm, you noble champion of pacification.
I am not a pacifist in re: disputes over public policy. You're starting to sound like Danny, who thinks anyone who isn't foaming at the mouth is AWOL.
And I thought, and said, since no evidence to counter the Heritage & other letters had been produced, the Council did the right thing by refusing to reopen the matter.
Bill, you're too savvy to confuse civility with passivity.

a council member said...

Landmarks Commissioner, above you stated, “I find ironic that the same city council approved a project on 24th & Monroe that does not clearly meet the historic integrity of the district and will let it pass without further discussion. There are many in this area that are opposed to the design. Not the development but the design of southwestern style or historic Mexican architecture which does fit with the ethnic culture of the area at this time but not the historic integrity of the neighborhood from it's own past. How does City council explain that decision in light of the strong desire to protect historic integrity?”

You have been misinformed. The Council did not approve “the southwestern style or historic Mexican architecture which does fit with the ethnic culture of the area.” The ordinance that they adopted was written by the administration and their legal department that stated the remodeling of the old Safeway store and the façade you described had been approved by the Community and Economic Development Division and would be allowed to proceed during the moratorium. Last Tuesday when the Council had the opportunity to override the Mayor’s veto, they chose to let it stand citing the success of the Mt. Ogden Community Plan and respecting the East Central community to develop a plan for their community. Council member Jeske mentioned that the façade did not meet the historic architecture of that area and wondered if the developer could modify it to be in harmony with the area.

You also stated, “It is no secret that some on the council have it out for the Mayor and the administration no matter what.” That is NOT true. This is a ploy that Mayor Godfrey uses to try to discredit the Council and to turn public opinion against it. I have seen the Council vote only for what they believe is best for the city and its residents according to the information they have. We want to see economic development and growth in Ogden as much if not more than the Mayor, but we feel that it should be done in the correct way protecting the fantastic natural beauty and the colorful history of Ogden.

Curmudgeon said...

On LMC's latest post:

The most interesting comment in there is the one about the LC not having before it the opinions of the Heritage and Historic Preservation groups that were later made available to the Council. And I think LMC also said there was other information posted here that the LC was not aware of when it considered the Windsor matter. Raises interesting questions in my mind about how the info packets for them were prepared, what was included, what was not, and who made those decisions about what to include and what not to.

Probably the current Windsor design/development is now dead. The owners have said repeatedly that it is. But I suspect similar matters will come up in the future. Probably worth thinking on before they do.

The Windsor developers, I'm told, made it clear that they knew their plans would make the Windsor property a "non-conforming" property vis-a-vis the Historic District, and so they made it clear they did not intend to apply for Historic District preservation tax exemptions for that reason.

So, the question then is this: does every existing historic structure in the 25th Street Historic District have to remain absolutely true its historic exterior limits, look and feel? No exceptions? Or can some historic structures be rehabbed in ways not entirely consistent with the Historic District designations without endangering the street's Historic District status?

And if the answer to that question is "yes," then the next question becomes, should the historic purity [so to speak] of a few of the buildings be partially sacrificed for the [presumptive] greater good of increasing business, residents and prosperity on the street, thus making the Historic District more successful overall and increasing the probability of saving the rest of the buildings?

I tend to favor historic preservation over other values, but these are not trivial questions. They are worth some serious thought. The costs of insisting that all rehabs of historic buildings absolutely adhere without exception to the preservation standards may involve losing historic buildings entirely if they cannot be profitably rehabbed under the rules, and thus slowly deteriorate until for safety reasons they have to be torn down. Or if Historic 25th Street fails in the end to really take off and become a vibrant, profitable and successful downtown dining, shopping and partying venue because only limited rehabbing could be done profitably.

I suspect some of the questions above played into the LC's recommendations this time. In any case, they're not trivial questions, they bear some thinking on, seems to me, so that a sound policy overall can be agreed on that will maximize historic preservation on 25th to the extent possible and help make the Street into a profitable and thriving economic zone, and head off before it starts the kind of divisive donnybrook we had this time round.

bullet sponge said...

Curmudegeon,

Indeed the same questions you raise were addressed by the Mayor himself at he last Council Meeting. He is of the opinion that we need to model ourselves after Park City (where only 27% of the buildings remain true to their historic past) to be successful.

I would counter that 25th street IS successful. Can it be moreso? Of course. But compare it to how it was 15 years ago and you can easily see how well it's doing.

Also, there is already a fairly large chunk of it which is non-historic as it is. I think we need to protect what is left, and I don't think that the two things are mutually exclusive at all. I see no reason Windsor could not function quite well without a silly hat on top.

For that matter, the rooftop addition could still happen if they'd simply adhere to the guidelines for it.

I see no reason why the street can't continue to be successful and grow moreso while maintaining its historic integrity. If I'm proven to be wrong, and we need to mix in some more non-forming structures then so be it, but I can't think of a single reaoson why somehow the building disregarding historic standards is going to magically be more appealing.

Curmudgeon said...

Bullet:

On 25th Street as success, you note, correctly, that compared to how it was 15 years ago, it is already a success. No argument there. But it absolutely has not yet been as successful as some Historic Districts [with a dining, drinking, retail and entertainment focus] in smaller cities have been. The Haymarket District in Lincoln, NB comes to mind, or [though its a much bigger place], the Stockyards District in Ft. Worth. There are others. They are alive with people on busy nights, moving from place to place, shopping, dining, partying. 25th Street has not gotten there yet, and part of the reason... I said part... is that sections of the street are still faced by historic, but declining buildings, not in very good shape, and certainly not fitting well into entertainment/dining mix. Compared to what it was, it's a success. Compared to what it, perhaps, could be, it's not there yet. [And yes, I know developing the district that way is impeded by Utah's silly liquor laws, but even the Gov now wants the Private Club for Members laws eliminated. It could happen....]

As for Hizzonah's comments: the questions mentioned ought to be discussed at some length, by the LC, by perhaps the Council, in light of evidence and experience... for example, looking at other Historic Districts [not residential, but downtown/dining/entertainment oriented]. What worked for them? What didn't? And so on. Hizzonah simply announcing that he's answered the questions to his satisfaction is absolutely not enough of a discussion. It's not even a beginning. And 25th Street as Park City is nonsense on its face.

You wrote: I see no reason why the street can't continue to be successful and grow more so while maintaining its historic integrity. Nor do I. As I said above, I tend to favor preservation over other values in these disputes. But there are serious people... not just Hizzonah... who think differently. Wouldn't hurt to look at their reasoning and their evidence. Have it hashed it out thoroughly, not amid angry rants by the Godfrey Gaggle. Just strikes me that attempting to make good policy at the top of people's lungs at contentious Council meetings is not the best way to proceed.

drewmeister said...

I love how people like the the Landmarks Commissioner and Jeff Lowe (if it really is them, and not just someone screwing around) come on here, pontificate endlessly, fail to answer anyone's questions, and chide us for being unruly. (Since we never hear aggressive conduct coming from the LC Chair, or the Mayor, or the national conservative talk radio that my employer deems necessary to jam down our throats every friggin' day.. yes, we need to learn about civil discourse instead of lying, bullying, and weaseling..) Jeff Lowe played the same game, which he will no doubt point to sometime in the future as "gaining public input" though failing to actually say anything.

"No! Just because I'm being obstinate and refusing to actually answer anything, doesn't mean you have to be mean! I'm taking my ball and going home! If anyone still wants to talk to me, grovel at my feet and I'll think about maybe responding in a circular, non-productive fashion some more."

Respectfully, Landmarks Commissioner, if our unruliness makes you so easily offended, then I'm surprised you're in any sort of public leadership position. This is, after all, a blog; for some of us, it's the only chance we have to express ourselves freely in the stifling societal atmosphere we have here in the Wasatch Front, and sometimes it gets ugly. However, if the Council can take the mudslinging that some of your colleagues have felt necessary to launch, then surely you should be able to deal with our texted rantings even with a few hells and damns from us gentiles. If the Customer Service Manager at Wal-Mart can handle assholes all day every day, you ought to be able to handle us for a little while. ;)

Ed J said...

wait until you see wilkerson fisher's plan for star noodle.he wants to connect a higher than 45 foot walkway to the old upholstery shop.that's why he was screaming at the cc.he and shane from rumors bar want to open a "vegas" nightclub because in fishers words "all of them now are dumps".not only does he have no parking for his endeavor he should get a copy of city ordinance 15-34-2.

Wm M said...

Ed J

I think the Star Noodle plans are different now. I'm hearing they are going to brick and mortar between the 2 buildings ... where the alley way is now.

disgusted said...

how the fom work.
found it interesting that fisher is the guy that bought the bic building from the city along with the vacant lot next to the bic building on washington blvd. btw fisher bought the building for a k-mart blue light special price from the city.
the vacant lot next to the bic building is one of the locations that ogden properties llc plans to build one of their projects called the brownstone.

Ed J said...

wmm///fair enough.you would know.i got information from my folks.what about"vegas"style nightclub

curious 1 said...

I'm sure the mayor won't let any of his friends business stay open on Sunday....

A Landmarks Commissioner said...

After much consideration and review of all the minutes and petitions that were presented to Landmarks Commission and City Planning Commisson the last several months and the comments that I have absorbed here I have made some conclusions and also have even more questions. I will share some of them here and I really do appreciate the dialogue that has happened here. Much of that has influenced my thoughts now. Allow me to review a bit of history to see how this decision was arrived and traveled. The original meeting was convincing in Landmarks by the professional presentation made by the architect Mr. Dan Van Zeben and the planning staff. Here we go....

THIS IS GOING TO BE LONG... I APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE BUT PERHAPS IT WILL BE USEFUL HERE AT THIS TIME AS I AM ASKED TO RESPOND AND HAVE MANY THOUGHTS ON THIS DISCUSSION STILL:

March 27, 2008- Landmarks Commission meeting
I have taken this issue from the beginning from the March 27th meeting in Landmarks when it first was presented by the architect Mr. Dan Van Zeben presenting, representing the owner of he Windsor along with Ogden city planning staff John Mayer and Manager Greg Montgomery. In the minutes it is duly noted that "staff sees a zoning issue dealing with height." However on the premise of "there is a guideline about setbacks for new construction which states under Building form 34, minimize the visual impact of rooftop uses as seen from the street by setting activities back from the sidewalk." The standard reads "at a minimum they should be set back at 15 feet." Mr. Van Zeben was the architect on the American Can Building as well and has spent a lot of time with the State Office of Historic Preservation as well as the National Park Service people. His familiarity with these agencies were helpful in the presentation. Pictures were displayed of examples from other cities. Many questions were asked by commissioners regarding zoning variances and site development standards. Commissioner Wilkerson asked if they would be required to go to Planning Commission for the the two items that go against Landmarks regulations. Mr. Montgomery responded that there are two issues: one is the 15' setback which is a guideline so the Landmarks Commission can determine if it is appropriate. The height would require a petition to change in ordinance. The Planning Commission cannot waive the maximum requirement height. Exceptions are for steeples such as Time Square. There was much discussion beyond that and one can review the minutes of this meeting to read more details about many other aspects of this renovation. Commissioner Allen moved to grant a Certificate of Historic Appropriateness for the Windsor Hotel. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wilkerson and passed unanimously by 5-0. Commissioner Allen asked if Mr. Montgomery agreed with the decision on the Windsor Hotel. Mr. Montgomery felt the height issue will create a lot of discussion. He also verified they will have to take the height issue to the Planning Commission, but a necessary ordinance would have to go to City Council. The entire presentation created excitement of the prospect of one of Ogden's run down hotels finally getting renovated. There were many other items regarding the actual building discussed besides the rooftop addition. There was not any discussion of losing the National Historic designation. It was understood that the set back and by not affecting the buildings architecture directly it was not at risk. I had mixed feelings even then on the design but must admit the idea of having the Windsor to such a renovated state was exciting.

June 4, 2008 - Planning Commission
Mr. Mayer presented this petition on the behalf of the Windsor Hotel. Greg Montgomery was out of town, Dave Harmer was to have attended to explain but was called away at the last minute so Mr. Mayer made the presentation to City Planning. The architect was not present either. Commissioner Maw asked if there is a need for additional height on 25th street and stated while the Landmarks Commission approved the remodel, they did express concerns about the height of the penthouse addition proposed. The question for Planning Commission was if there should be flexibility in the height given that there may be a desire to increase the height of some of the existing structures with new construction and could it be done in such a way that it would not take away from the historic character of the district. Chair Blaisdell expressed concern that the penthouse addition does not match the rest of the building or the historic character of the District. Commissioner Atencio also felt the proposed addition does not fit the historic hotel. He also asked about the heights of other buildings within the Historic District. A motion was made by Commissioner Maw to deny the petition, seconded by Commissioner Holman and passed unanimously 6-0.

June 16, 2008 - Administration
Apparently Dave Harmer was very upset as were the developers and administration that this petition was denied by Planning Commission. It was noted that the absence of good representation may have been the problem. This is when the city attorneys guided by Harmer began working on options for the Landmarks to present to City Planning giving three choices as to ordinance change. City attorneys drafted the proposal. 1. Keep 45' feet and City Planning could approve as long as the addition is not visible. 2. 4 stories. The appropriateness of the design still subject to LC and PC. 3. 45' with height may be approved by Planning Commission on condition that Landmarks Commission has approved a "Certificate of Historic Appropriateness" that any additional height above the maximum does not impact the historic character of the district or building and is consistent with the Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation.

June 26, 2008- Landmarks Commission
To make a long story short, after much discussion Landmarks preferred Item 3 to but they all would be presented to Planning Commission for their decision. It was requested that this request is presented to City Planning by City Planning Commissioner Atencio who is the liason to the Landmarks Commission replacing Carlin Maw in May to reconsider this revision to the ordinance. This was passed unanimously by LC.

July 11, 2008 - Planning Commission
It was then brought up in the July meeting of City Planning commission after much discussion to bring back to the table and was voted to do so by a tight margin and much discussion. It was then voted to table for next meeting so Planning staff could present with more information and do some research as it came as a surprise to many of them and some were not at the last meeting when it was denied. Dave Harmer was present and spoke and explained what was going on at this meeting. The tabling was passed and it would be reconsidered.

August 6, 2008 - Planning Commission
This item was presented to City Planning Commission and was a long discussion. The concept of the Windsor Hotel itself was not presented but the ordinance change only. There were many mixed feelings on this. Attached were Secretary of the Interior's Standards of Rehabilitation. Staff provided some massing studies of existing conditions on 25th street so the Commission could visualize. Also presented: Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings, New additions to historic buildings, Interpreting The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation #36 (not the same shown here by "historically inaccurate"), Preservation briefs with many examples of other cities that have done similar projects. John Patterson was present at this meeting as well as Landmarks Commissioner Bernie Allen and both made statements. There were more preparation on this meeting then any other. Only one opposition was present at this meeting and that was all for all the prior meetings. Ms. Pat Reader a resident in the Union Square expressed concern of her view line from her condo and felt it would take away from the main focal point on 25th Street which is the Union Station. Ms. Shalae Larsen spoke but not in opposition but concerned about checks and balances between the two commissions. Discussion began within the commission and there were mixed feelings. It was decided to go with item #2 after much discussion. See the minutes if you are interested in more. Commissioner Schade moved to recommend approval of the Ordinance language proposed in option 2. Motion seconded by Commissioner Hueton and it passed 5-3. Those opposed stated they preferred item 3.

That is the history to now, you know where it went from here. In reviewing all the minutes there was never any discussion about losing the historic designation. Some discussion on State tax increments. As I look back it was apparent that this ordinance revision was in play totally at the time for the Windsor Hotel. Most were in favor of the project in Landmarks, there were those that weren't as sure in Planning Commission. I had mixed feelings on the design aside from the discussion about non-comforming usage and risking the National Historic Register status. We know more now, yet there are still as many questions. The question that I understand many saying here is do we want to go down that road such as Park City and to what degree do we want progress to affect our historic street risk of designation or not.

I will have to say if the vote were today with all I know and don't know, and not any other information was provided contrary I would have voted against the design as it was presented and would urge for other ideas, perhaps there could have been a compromise that would work. I still think that the ordinance change has merit when considering other buildings that may be built or those that may want to add on to the first floor as there are several buildings on the street where the top floors burned and perhaps they would want to go up as it used to be. I think there should be some flexibility on the height to a point, no taller then the tallest building. As it stands now or would have if this passed that would be Landmarks decision and then Planning Commission after they gave it the seal of approval. City council would have never seen it had it been within the 45 feet.

If the community does not trust these commissions to be stewards of historic appropriateness that is another issue and one I think we should discuss. There is a line that gives flexibility and also has plenty of restrictions for the future so something doesn't regrettably pass through loopholes. And that should take much time and input before that became a solid ordinance. I think this was pushed to hard to fast as I look back as many things that come to us as the state of urgency is often prevalent by the city and developers. But that discussion is for another day. Will it ever be brought back? We shall see. Perhaps in the courts for now. We have learned a lot I think. Both commissions, city council, administration, developers, businesses and concerned citizens. Where do we go from here. We shall see...

I know this is long and I hope some of the history of this is helpful. I am going to make an attempt to address some of the questions that were presented to me the last 24 hours and there are many. I appreciate the intelligence that I have found here, by most. I can ignore the few reckless cannons. And yes, drewmeister I can handle most of the unruliness but I don't think some of it is necessary. Some of it is just plain cruel and unneccessary. And I do understand what you are talking about attitudes in Ogden. I too am a gentile btw. I think if there were less of that kind of discussion and cruel personal comments there were would be more open discussion by others and readers as well. I avoid this blog often because of it but often my curiosity takes over and I just want to hear what people are saying other then those that come to our meetings. And there is a passion here that I really appreciate. I understand the root of the issues for you, the Mayor and the administration. I have to ask myself, whatever I think of it, how can I help and make a difference. And I hope I do that by my civic positions and other projects such as Landmarks. I am fairly new to the commission so there is much to learn. I will say that I approve of all the commissioners. There is a wide variety and I think there is intelligence. I know you will differ as you have branded some or all as sheep and many other adjectives and nouns. I do not see it that way. That is not true. Again, please come to the meetings, speak out and watch how we work together and the concern both Landmarks and City Planning commission have as we sit for hours listening to petitions and our community and asking lots and lots of questions.

CURMUDGEON: Thanks for your civility and wide range of thoughts on all the subjects. You are a voice of reason and you should be on Landmarks along with Historicaly inaccurate and a few others. I agree that the letters and information presented at the city council were impressive. I asked at Landmarks after Susie Van Hooser wrote her op ed piece in the SE that I wanted to see something that opposed that. The only thing that I am aware of was her boss saying it should not have been sent. I understand he was at CC meeting last week. I don't think that was enough. I would have to see something from the federal government that stated clearly what this action would do to our historic designation. I am not convinced at this time either and as I said I would not have voted for it had I knew then what I know now. But I am going to ask more questions still. You write about Commissioner Wilkerson who reacted and spoke out and you find it hostile. She writes in the heat of the moment. Is it appropriate as to who and how? That is not for me to say. I do know she has passion and I don't agree with the comments made here about her. I have seen her oppose and challenge many aspects of items presented to us. I will not make any opinions about her personally, I like her. I only met her when I got on Landmarks so I don't have any preconceived opinions of any of the commissioners other then working with them and observing how they handle that position. And I approve of them all. I do agree more civility could have come from that direction. I do know it was hot for awhile after the first vote and it didn't help that a few of the council members made some rather unprofessonial and disturbing remarks about Landmarks Commission. That started the whole thing. And they continued to do so in their work session. I know I was not too happy either and I appreciated Catlin's email apology.

You are right Curm. Nobody would have lost if the city council moved to reconsider. That was not an approval vote but a vote to do just that. We could have had a lot of this discussion right in the work session. Perhaps there are things they have that we do not, apparently. Some important decisions about the future of the historic street could have been hashed out for the benefit for our grandchildren. As of now no real established decisions were made but the status quo. But is it right to just slam the door on an investor developer so hastily. I think a compromise could have been reached for everyone and not risk non-conformity or risk of losing a historic designation. I think this all moved way too fast. Real solid ordinances and discussion could have been established for the long term as well as the present growth.

HISTORICALLY INACCURATE: You give me the biggest challenges of all. I had to think a lot on what you have said and asked. Your copy of the interpretations will be passed around to all the commissioners and to the city planning and many others as well. I want to hear reactions to that. I do not have a rebuttal at this time. This was not shown and I guess I can see why. Because of the set back being met it was presented as conforming. And the design is much the same as the example you presented other then it is modern glass and not such a utility wooden box like a utility shack or something. But seeing it like that it does have much the same shape and effect as the proposed design.

You asked my reaction to the Mayors comments in the city council meeting. I do not agree with the Mayor on the non-conforming buildings especially now and I do not think we should follow the Park City mode. That is an example of a street and district that grew too fast with too much money and influence coming at it at once. We are facing some of that now. And yes now is the time to make determinations on that direction.

I don't agree with the resignation requests. I was not there then and first heard about it last meeting as it was brought up in the city council meeting apparently. I know Connie Cox very well and I do not want to see her leave. She has much to offer and has served for a long time. We need that experience and good judgement along with others especially to help the newcomers get to speed. I did not know she was asked to resign until I read it here yesterday. I do remember when there were dismissals and the controversy it presented but I did not know any of them then and it just did not occur to me. I understand what is happening. I think it is too bad there is mistrust. I never realized how deep through the years. I see the divisiveness but don't always understand what lies between it. I see the good that has happened the last years and I also see the problems. I have not always agreed with this administration on the record and off. But I do agree with some of what has happened in Ogden during Mayor Godfrey's terms. And I know I will be eaten alive for that statement here but he is our elected official and there has been some good, and history will tell us for sure. We voted for him as a community. What can we do? I wish we could work together and I was happy to read that many want to do so.

I don't agree with the public criticism of George Hall. From what you say that does not sound good at all. I do not know George personally, I do his wife and I admire what they have done for our community and yes Ogden High School which I didn't know about either and I did not know he had a building on the 25th street district. Which is that one? I was not aware of job threats and I do not agree at all and I understand why there would be hostility and defensiveness because of it. That is unfortunate and not right in my opinion.

I am responsible for my vote and decisions. Yes. And there have only been a few that I questioned later. On this one I know I would have voted differently or at least spoke out more on it. There were obviously a lot of information we did not have as I see now. Thanks for the applaud btw. What you provided from the Secretary of Interior Standards was impressive. We did not get that, but another version was presented to City Planning Commission. You are right about doing research but I don't think anybody would have thought to do so. We receive our packets a week in advance usually. I generally trust the information that is presented by staff is accurate and thorough and have not had any reason to think otherwise. And I cannot think of any other example where I would question that until now. I don't think it was deliberate to deceive but a possible oversight. And of course they are pitching a project but I really do not think our planning dept would deliberately pull a fast one.

Your question, should I have voted for it with the standards you presented. The answer is no. I would not have unless there was more information presented otherwise. But what you sent is convincing for me. I don't know how one would dispute that and believe me I will be showing it around and asking questions. I do not agree with the Mayors comment about non-conforming but I do feel compromise and creativity should be the answer. One that does conform. We are not Park City. We are Ogden with our own unique history and people and our direction will not be the same. We will grow and develop but I think in a different way. Yes, now is the time to direct that. Yes, shop and play on 25th. They need your and everyone's support as does all of downtown Ogden. If you can avoid franchise and chains do come and support our unique ma and pa shops. I hope everyone does the same. I look forward to working with Thaine on the Star Noodle Parlor project as it comes to Landmarks this next week. The neon will go back. And I know he has some big plans. I am sure this decision has made him look at what he is going to present. But I applaud him and the other developers for investing into our historic buildings and restoring them. But it does need to be done right.

DAN S: Yes, as you will see above the Landmarks did approve the Windsor design in March and gave it a certificate of historic appropriateness. At the time it seemed to meet that standard by my point of view and with my vote. As I said above a few times, I am not as sure of that now. The only way that one can explain that decision was hinged on having the ordinance changed. These two do get muddled together. That is how it started and played out in it's many travels to it's final demise. Well, the demise for now anyhow. I am not sure it will not surface again. And I do think the ordinance itself should be looked at and I do agree that the Windsor plan had flaws as I see it now. Compatibility with historic structures does not always mean replicating the old. It is now used and accepted that modern design can work within and through the district. It is done in many cities. Do I agree with that? At this time I prefer the examples of Union Square, Ogden Blue building and Time Square. They fit better with the architecture in my point of view. The determination from what I understand is for new and additions and windows, materials and roof and size need to follow the guidelines. Other then the roof, the Windsor did so.

BILL C: I agree that often there is more behind the scenes then we know about. It is tricky business to try and dig and dig for what you are calling fraudulently misleading. We get what we get and we base our decisions on guidelines as does City planning with zoning and ordinances. Much of it is cut and dry but much is not that easy such as this. I think I too would rather see the original architecture. Then I wonder what you think of new buildings within the district. Height? Design?

Did the council do the right thing? I thought also that there was a vendetta from what I heard. I was not present at either. I read the comments however. And I was also not happy about their comments about Landmarks. I felt the letter was not accurate since it was not sanctioned by her boss, but it still was sent and received and presented. I feel different now. I still think they should have tabled it in the first place and had work sessions with Landmarks which we are anyway by our request and with City Planning, 25th street merchants and you all here and others. I think total input and discussion would have brought us all to an obvious conclusion rather then as always splitting our community. I remain strong on that belief. I am not saying that it should have passed after all the facts were presented, but I think it was made in haste. That is why there was such reaction.

I understood that the gentleman from the state agency was going to make straight what the letter claimed. When he was contacted originally by City Planning Department he said that the state does not get involved in local municipalities zoning issues. Then the Murphy letter came out after. That blind sided everyone. I first read about it in the SE when Susan Van Hooser wrote about it. I asked lots of questions right away but was assured it was not correct. When I finally read the letter it was pretty strong. I passed it on to others. I have not seen or heard of anything that directly refutes it. That is why I have altered my position somewhat. I say that only because I want one last chance to hear all the others. My head is full of what you are all telling me here and trust me I had no idea. I am thankful you have all been so gracious to explain so well "the other side"... but I do not believe in sides. I wish we could all work together in this community and help Ogden grow and prosper responsibility with pride and community spirit.

CURIOUS 1: Yes the ordinance would take the city council out of the loop, but they were not anyway. Yes dan s, it is Utah law but that is what Landmarks is setup to do and it is assigned by the Mayor and city council approval. The only reason they were involved on this case was because they have to approve ordinance change after City Planning recommends to them. That is what happened. They were not presented the Windsor design or approval, they were presented a request to change the ordinance. The Windsor of course was the issue because it is obvious that is why it is being presented at this time. If the design was under 45 feet it would already be in the works by now based on the original approval. If our community is concerned about this process that means there is a lack of confidence in our Landmarks Commission. I did not know that until all of this and reading here how it has been stated. I will present this to the group and to the city council work session and see what we can do to mend that confidence and trust. No arguments about preserving were made to CC or to LC or PC because that was not a consideration until the letter came from the state. As I saw this pass I was under the impression it did meet the standards set forth. That is what is being challenged now. I am not convinced it does and lean to that it does not but still want to hear from others in the city planning and landmarks.

SEEN IT ALL: The majority of Historic 25th Street businesses were for this project and the official association for the street voted unanimously in favor but not all businesses are members of the association. I am sure there were those that weren't and there were those that were who did not want to speak out either in fear it would affect their business from what I have been told. I think this approval is two fold. One is the desire to stimulate the economy on the street and two to excite attitudes in the historic street as many of these merchants are struggling right now. This seemed like the shot in the arm that is needed as the investment was large and if you realize the Windsor has been a source of problems for decades it was finally being fixed. And I think as these folks work and invest and struggle they are looking for bright spots in that struggle. I do not think any of them would agree if they really believed and knew that the historic district designation may be threatened. More on this however but I think there is some good evidence for some serious discussion and research. This street has grown in a slow pace beginning in the 70s when the master plan was established, then the early 80s when the first 7 buildings were renovated and then stopped, the 90s as more businesses such as Roosters, City Club changed the image of the street and got the east benchers to come down, until now which has somewhat flat lined for now but still has some exciting projects in the works. I don't think it is doom but many are just making it down there. But there is growth and there is still a lot of vacancy. I think this plan brought some potential hope for growth and exposure and investment which is needed in that district and our entire CBD and community.

BEAVER & EJ: No comment on the email. But I understand what you are saying and I do understand that there was incredible heat going around that time. I too got many emails from many folks all over. I did not write any but I did speak to a few on the phone and asked a lot of questions. How does a private email get posted here anyway?

BULLET SPONGE: I did not know about all of that until now about the dismissals. It was mentioned in the last Landmarks briefly as I guess it was brought out in the city council meeting. I am one of the newer members and did not know Libby or Bonnie and would have loved to serve with them. I do know Connie Cox and I hope she will stand firm and stay on the commission. She is valuable and fair. I don't think you really want all of the commissioners removed. There are some fine people on this commission. You need to understand that when this was first presented the idea of non-conforming or threatening historic designation was not an issue. I know I felt confident that this was not an issue. The design was the biggest aspect of the discussion. The ordinance came about because it was necessary for this project to move forward. There was nobody at this meeting from any of these groups, from any of you or others in the community to speak against it. I think the commission was also caught up in the excitement of finally having the Windsor restored to what we considered a high standard. I wish we could all start over with what we know now. But I think there is learning for all of us. Everyone. Perhaps in time we can change that perception. Administrations change. Commissions not so much.

DANNY: No response to you.

PEACE: Thank you. I agree. Thanks for the kudos. I think we deserve some.

DISGUSTED: I think I answered the question if you were able to read through all of this. Greg did present but so did John Mayer. And their architect. The packet does come from the City Planning Dept for Landmarks. Greg is the manager.

ASKING LANDMARKS COMMISSIONER: Tax credits are granted building by building. The developers for the Windsor were not seeking them. The dangerous precedence is a good argument. I think there needs to be a lot of discussion on that subject in relation to any other ordinance revision that may approach or any building that will come to us within the 45 feet that may be boarding non-compliance. You mention the dismissing of past, wonderful commissioners. I think this is unfortunate and I had no idea. I hope we can live up to that standard from here on out.

JASON W: I am not a toady of the forehead as you state it. I have my own mind and forehead but I do not disdain the Mayor as you do. But I understand the problems. I am a commissioner and do my best to make decisions for our community. To the rest of your ranting: no response. Wow. I do not know what you are talking about and I think you got me mixed up with someone else. The ski is beautiful blue today. However I am sure you have some other meaning for this comment and again I have no idea what you are talking about.

WHERE DID YOU SIT: No I did not sit by Tom Moore. I don't know the man and he surely is not my bff. You also have me confused with someone else. I was not at either meetings.

COUNCIL MEMBER: I guess I have been misinformed. I thought the Mayor vetoed your approval for this project and you were not going to accept the veto. Do I have it opposite? I agree that this should be held off until the East Central Community Plan is completed. That is reassuring. So you are saying that it is on hold? Do you agree with me on the design may not be appropriate to the neighborhood with what we know now?

I am happy to hear you say that it is not true that city council has it out for the Mayor. I am not so connected to how the politics work between the two, but boy oh boy do I read and hear about it. Then you are claiming for City Council what I am claiming for Landmarks. I have great respect for the council and for the system and balance of power. I know many of the you personally and I do know you work hard to make the right decisions. I am confident for the most part. I was not in agreement here however. I still wish you would have tabled this and let us all meet and then make the decision. I think the council moved in haste. But I commend all of your fine work. I know it is a big job. Ours is big enough... yours is so much bigger.

I am glad to hear this and I totally agree and also believe we do the same: "I have seen the Council vote only for what they believe is best for the city and its residents according to the information they have. We want to see economic development and growth in Ogden as much if not more than the Mayor, but we feel that it should be done in the correct way protecting the fantastic natural beauty and the colorful history of Ogden."

DREWMEISTER: I already mention above about the being uncomfortable with the unruliness and rudeness. I just do not think it is necessary. I understand the concept of the blog. That is why I can write and dialogue here. I appreciate that. I wish more of this happened in city council, PC, LC chambers. Not in an attacking way but in discussion. The Walmart customer service manager gets paid to handle assholes all day every day however. But seriously, I do understand what you are saying. My feelings are not hurt, trust me. I am not that fragile.

I made it through the comments and questions. I now this is a reading group but I wonder if anybody will read all of this. I know I am looking forward to doing a proof read. Whew. If you did I will take you to lunch or for drinks at Iggy's at cheap beer night Tuesday's.

How wonderful to have such passion such as I see here. Many think this is just a bitch session blog but I see why it turns to that sometimes, frustration. I saw this excitement when the Mt. Ogden Community Plan was being worked on. I hope it is the same for East Central Community Plan. I know you are all here and voice your thoughts and opinions because you all care for Ogden. So do I. And I really do believe so does all the Landmarks and City Planning Commissioners. I wish you would all come to our meetings and participate. You will see.

RUDI: Is this the longest post in your blogging history on the wc forum? This is my first time doing this and I have to tell you this has been an eye opener and very rewarding to get some of my questions and thoughts out too. I was ready to explode when I did the first entry. I have a lot to absorb for sure and I will take with me and pass on many of the thoughts, ideas and attitudes from here to the meetings. Thanks again.

I think I will take the weekend off and rest my mind and grok all that has been absorbed.

I hope I will someday meet some of you here in person and would enjoy having a long coffee break or lunch perhaps somewhere in town and really talk turkey and there is a lot of that to go around. Someday we just might do that.

Sincerely,
A Landmarks Commimssioner

Curmudgeon said...

LMC:

Thanks for taking the time, and especially for recounting the [long] history of the proposal. Learned much I did not know.

You wondered if anyone was going to read your post all the way through. Better believe it!

Thanks again.

Wm M said...

LMC:

You signed off: Sincerely,
A Landmarks Commimssioner

Clearly you've been typing way too long ...

Seriously, thank you for a wealth of background and info ...

Ditto here also on a complete read ...

And thanks for a nice plug ...

curious 1 said...

Thank you LMC for your post.

Some of the distrust you see here is from the administration. Your account of information provided to you and the LC seems to be spoon fed and only to secure your approval, with real data provided only upon closer inquiries.

We keep getting information of millions of dollars coming to Ogden from developers, but they only seem to be lining their pockets with grantrs and sweetheart deals. The high adventure managers that came here only brought a few jobs with them.
The juntion is subsidized with BDO funds to pay for a few private businesses, we were told that the taxpayer wouldn't be responsable for. The businesses are locked into a long term lease with a flat rate for years. And was built for on the cheap. Some of the electrical still doesn't work properly, and the flow rider was never vented right either.

The condos and retail at the Junction are behind schedule and may never turn a profit, and I see a lot of empty office space where Wells Fargo moved across the street. The boarded up businesses along Washington, and restaurants that were a fixture of Ogden for 30-40 years are now closed.

When responabale citizens questioned the administaration they were labeled nay-sayers and only wanted questions answered. When college professors were vilified by those who wanted a Gondola and were looking out for the best interests of the college and Ogden, how much can Ogden afford before we are bankrupt. Prople are afraid to speak up since they might be black balled or targeted later.

Yes there is a lot of mis-trust in our great city. But a kiddy land will never pay the bills, and we need more retail and less high adventure in Ogden. Also need to stay open on Sunday to keep people downtown.

Responsable adults want open government, maybe a beer/cocktail with their dinner, and an even playing field in all business tranactions. The Salt Lake Mayor cleaned house starting with their planning department to make doing business there easier. Ogden also needs to level the business playing field, and promises should always be in writing and in the open.

RudiZink said...

Thanks for the fantastic post, "a Landmarks Commissioner."

This blog is all about fostering debate on issues which are important to Weber County residents.

Your last post was most excellent. Please keep on posting.

Glad to hear you're willing to absorb some of the information provided on this blog.

No apologies needed for the length of your last comment, which was VERY good. We have virtually unlimited bandwidth here in the blogosphere... which is one of the reasons that O'Town citizens shouldn't rely on the crap published on the... shall we say... The Gondola-Examiner

beaver said...

Landmarks Commissioner:

Thank you for your response. I respect that you took the considerable time to address each question and concern raised here.

You asked how a private email gets posted here. An email between a Landmarks Commissioner and the city Administration is not private.

Ms. Wilkerson, or any other individual acting in an official governmental capacity, should assume that her communications will be brought to light. Which makes me wonder why she chooses to conduct herself in the manner she does. Stupidity or hubris? You be the judge.

Thanks for your willingness to contribute to the blog. I have to wonder, though, given his history, how long before the Mayor investigates, and you meet the same fate of other volunteers who dared have a mind of their own.

Historically Inaccurate said...

Rudi and readers –

Sorry this thread has become the “book of the week.”



Landmarks Commissioner,

Thanks for responding. Sorry it’s taken me a while – LONG day at work.

The building I believe George Hall owns on 25th Street is the “E” Station (I’m not positive, but fairly sure). It’s an old bus depot and a fabulous building – it’s also a hub for entrepreneurs. I don’t know if George Hall is directly involved with the business ventures that go on there are just the owner. I do know that if you look on the donor list for just about every charity in town you’ll see his name (as well as his wife’s). It seems to me like he’s doing a pretty good job putting his money just about anywhere it’s needed in Ogden.

Some listed on the site below are supporters of the Mayor, but not all of the names are familiar to me and I think their concept on this issue is a good one. The url is below if anyone wants to check it out.

http://www.weberwea.com/index.html

I have always loved old houses and historic buildings, but prior to a few weeks ago no one would have called me a historic preservation activist. Once I was interested and wanted to know more, it was very easy with a few phone calls and, as I said previously, about 10 minutes of Internet research.

I saved a lot of time by calling people I knew had a lot of expertise in the field, and more specifically historic preservation in Ogden. That gave me a good starting point, and once I new where the standards were I pulled up the doc on Rooftop Additions. I called those same people to give you additional information to take to your Landmarks Commission meeting to mull over. I made a photocopy of what’s in your Landmarks Commission binder. I’m not sure if it’s available electronically, but if it is it would be great if you could send the document to Rudi so it can be posted on the blog – or if it’s on the city Website please let us know. I couldn’t find it there.

As you said previously, most of what you go by comes from the national standards because that’s how designation and federal funding is determined, but there was some information that applies. Some I found independently, while other information was pointed out to me as relevant to the Windsor.

Chapter 3, Guideline 34 (referenced in the March meeting to justify the addition to the top of the Windsor) reads:
Minimize the visual impact of rooftop uses, as seem from the street, by setting activities back from the sidewalk below.
a. Rooftop uses enliven the street and are encouraged.
b. At a minimum, they should be set back the height of 15 feet. (NOTE: “the height” is probably a typo and should be “a distance” if we’re using the current theory of gravity)
c. This includes trees, umbrellas, handrails and tables.

This doesn’t reference additions to the top of buildings at all, but seems (especially with the table and umbrella reference) to refer to rooftop patios and dining areas – which we should definitely have more of!

Chapter 3, Guideline 33:
The primary rooftop form should appear to be flat.
a. Roofs should be concealed by a parapet.
b. Decorative parapets are appropriate.
c. “Exotic” roof forms, including mansards, are inappropriate.

The design for the Windsor roof is definitely “Exotic.” Staff misused the guidelines. You may feel it was not intentional, but based on what’s come to light and the fact a contract was signed by the city Economic Director stating the rooftop addition would take place prior to the city council vote it’s hard for me to believe there wasn’t significant political pressure internally to “sell” the project to both commissions.

They signed the agreements in 2007, long before they even presented the information to either commission for approval. They waited until after the election and removal of commissioners to present the information, and the Mayor’s uncle (Bernie Allen) made the most comments at the meeting as well as the motion to approve the addition. Despite the mayor stating he wanted to see “new faces” on commissions he did not ask Mr. Allen to resign (he was appointed in May 1985) as he did other commissioners. He has “served” over 23 years on the commission and when the Mayor was elected (the first time) to office had been on the commission for approximately 15 years. This is why the blog is so critical of the Mayor’s recent handling of the commission. I found term information all on the Ogden City Website.

Other city guidelines that the project didn’t meet include:

Chapter 3, Guideline 30
A building should appear similar in height to those seen historically in the area.
a. The height limit is established in the CBD ordinance

Chapter 3, Guideline 32
On facades that are visible from the public way, the solid to void ratio should be similar to that seen on comparable historic buildings.
a. This ratio is the percentage of wall to window found on the façade.
b. Distinguish upper floors from the ground floor by decreasing the solid to void ratio in the upper floor. First floor should be more transparent.

Chapter 3, Guideline 35
Primary materials should appear similar to those used historically.

Chapter 6: Design guidelines for additions to historic properties

Additions should be compatible with the style of the main building. Each case should be reviewed on an individual basis, taking into consideration the unique circumstances of each building.

Chapter 6, Guideline 84
Any additions should be designed to remain subordinate to the main structure.
a. Any addition should be set back from primary, character-defining facades.
b. Any addition should be subtly distinguishable from the historic portion.

Subtly distinguishable would be the most important description in this guideline.

I hope that during your work session with the City Council you will let them know you now feel you did not have all of the information and if you’d had the information they did you may have very well made the same decision they did. They’ve unfairly taken a bullet by simply doing what they felt was best for the long-term. To have smart development, there always has to be a check and balance.

I feel that bullet is part of the orchestrated militant response that some, but certainly not all, in the Godfrey camp seem to take on every issue that anyone in the community expresses an opposing opinion on – especially through pre-emptive strikes on anyone that may express an opposing opinion in the future may have (for example, what Weber State has faced in recent years).

That militant approach over nine years has resulted in a community guerilla war with retaliation in the form GRAMMA requests, a blog (that’s now the most widely read and influential in the state), and general community activism through community planning (in large part to protect the sale of beloved public land and trail networks).

It’s unfortunate all of the ideas can’t be brought to the table (with enough chairs for everyone), reviewed on their merit, and moved forward based on long-term forward thinking community planning. Bringing opposing ideas together and finding a shared vision has always proved the most successful method in any group I’ve been involved with whether its community or work related.

If my community reflected that type of atmosphere I might not always agree with what goes forward, and sometimes based on information presented I might change my mind (as you did here) – but I’d be confident it was a community decision.

I don’t want to pay for a Gondola I’d never use that would receive almost no federal funding. I’d like to see Ogden as home to a streetcar system.

This is one issue we may not agree on, but I’ll bet there are dozens of others that with responsible leadership and community support could move Ogden onto a very successful future we’d both see merit in. But because of my opinion on one issue, I will never be asked or invited to the table.

Thanks again for responding and have a great weekend.

disgusted said...

landmarks commissioner
thanks for answering my question. seems to me that all information is funneled through the planning dept. greg montgomery is the point man on all communications with the various commissions and councils and agencies. makes it too easy for the administration to control the direction of the conversations and information provided. as you noted not always the whole story or not always the required information. to enable those charged with making decisions they need both good and accurate information and information from several and not just one source. and they need time to digest after they have heard and read all the information. btw montgomery is godfreys uncle.
fyi from past experience they will almost always try to slip the half informed info onto you on heavy meeting agenda day and will ask your committee for a fast turn around on the decision. dont be afraid to ask for more time to research the subject. dead lines can always be moved. just watch if you challenge them on one of their deadlines. also please dont ask them to do that additional research for you. half the time they just repackage the same info throw in a picture or two and feed it back to you but this time they want you to give them an answer on your vote that night and now you feel like your search for information is holding up the whole process. works 99% of the time.

Wow... said...

HI you are my new hero. I look at all of the information you've been able to gather in a few days and it disappoints me that the Landmarks Commission couldn't do this on their own. Before they removed the highly qualified members this research would have been done.
I happened to be at the City Council meeting sitting in the back watching things unfold. I watched as one woman, identified here as Mrs. Mosher, stormed out. I watched as the Landmarks Commissioner (Sue Wilkerson) attacked Bonni and Susie for not calling her and informing her of the problems on the building. She pointed out that they knew her number. I wonder why they would need to call her. I think it's because she doesn't do her own research. She trusts what the mayor and others tell her. She is foolish for doing that.
I could not believe the people I was sitting around and how they reacted to her. They agreed with what she had said. I don't understand why they back someone who is causing our problems. I do feel bad for the business owners. They assume that the LC knows what they are talking about, but they have proven over the last few votes that they don't.
LC I hope you can bring change to this group. I hope you will research things on your own and not just assume that what others tell you is correct. Ogden is the home of the Godfrey Gang. He has clearly defined to people that they are with him or against him. His uncles seem to do a lot of his dirty work so he can keep his nose clean, but eventually this will all catch up with him. I know he believes in a higher power, so if it doesn't get him now, it will.

Bullet Sponge said...

Indeed, Ms. Wilkerson telling Bonnie "she could have called her" is beyond ridiculous. If you want the help of competent people then put them ON Landmarks, don't kick them off. If there are people on Landmarks who can't do their jobs without expecting handholding from more qualified ex-members they shouldn't be there.

LMC, Let's hope this has been a wake-up call for the Landmarks commission. Realize the administration can and will attempt to hoodwink you, or anyone else it can to get its way. Be ever vigilant, and don't hesitate to question anything and do your own research and demand your fellow commissioners do the same.

Its unfortunate that the commission is taking a lot of the heat for the Mayor's actions, but when you've got people like Sue Wilkerson on Landmarks, it doesn't help.

Thanks for taking the time to communicate here btw...

drewmeister said...

Landmarks Commissioner:
I appreciate your diplomatic reply, and for making a genuine effort to answer a great many questions from my fellow cyber-wolves. (Or should that be vultures, maybe? Perhaps on occasion, I suppose.. haha) Your latest response was, I feel, more productive than any in the aforementioned celebrity encounter we had with Mr. Lowe. My concern was that he criticized our aggressive posturing much in the same way you had, but rather than make an attempt to explain himself or prove his positions, he seemed to slowly vaporize when pressed harder. I assumed you would act in the same fashion, but I admit it appears I was incorrect.

I commend your efforts at diplomacy and open dialogue, and I hope you will encourage your colleagues to follow your lead in whatever ways you are able to.

just a little info said...

George Hall owns the old Bottling works Building on 27th and grant.
Allen Hall owns the old us station on 25th and Grant.

Two different people.

Allen Hall is from Market Star, Mark Johnsons' roots are from Market Star, hence the support of the Godfrey Gaggle from Allen Hall.

Curious 1 said...

George Hall ownes the old station on 25th and Grant, and leases it to Alan Hall. The mayor tried to get Alan to lease the American Can facility with 1/2 the cost of the lease if he would move there, but Alan had already decided on the renovated old Greyhound Station.
George also has other properties in town including the bottle works.
Alan and Jeannie Hall are also good supporters of Ogden and charities.

Hmmmmmm said...

Are they brothers?

Historically Inaccurate said...

Wow,

Thanks, but as I said previously, I could never have found all of the information without contacting people who have access to it and asking for their help in finding which chapters would have the relevant information.

Sifting through the Federal information was very easy and was all on line. I could do it all independently.

However, the city literature that I got a copy of is very cumbersome and hard to find answers in, perhaps because it's just meant to supplement the other info.

If it's online I'd appreciate LC letting us know where to find it. It would be much easier to sift through by hitting my CNTRL + F keys to look for key words. You can do that with the Federal stuff.

RudiZink said...

You've done a yeoman's job here @ Weber County Forum, Historically Inaccurrate!

Thanks!

Once again our little backwater blog helps to educate the people in our wonderful city who make the big decisions.

al said...

hmmmmmmmmm-

George and Alan Hall are not brothers or members of a common gene pool. One thing the do have in common is their community spirit and significant charitable contributions to better countless programs and causes in Ogden.

Have you ever noticed Matthew Godfrey on the donor listing for any local charity???

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