Monday, March 02, 2009

Two Important Items On Tuesday's City Council Agenda

More bars on 25th Street? A new furnace for the Marshall White Center?

News is a mite slow on this Emerald City Monday morning, but there are nevertheless a couple of important items coming up on tomorrow evening's city council meeting agenda, for which we'd like to provide our readers a heads-up. On Sunday evening, Councilwoman Dorrene Jeske lodged this comment in one of our lower comments sections, which we now incorporate in pertinent part:
For those of you who have not seen the agenda for Tuesday’s Council meeting, there is a public hearing before the Council decides whether to adopt the petition and ordinance that would increase the number of bars/private clubs in the Historic District. Please attend and let us hear from you during the public hearing, at which time you will have five minutes for your presentation.
Also give us input on what should be done with the heating systems at Marshall White Center -- it is not operating properly affecting all the programs at the Center especially those that involve the swimming pool.
Thank you.
Notable is item 8 on tomorrow's City Council Agenda:
8. Reports from the Planning Commission:
a. Definition of a Lineal Block. Petition 2008-19 to amend Section 15-2-1 of the Municipal Code for the definition of lineal block and related language for business code 5-3A-1 and 5-3C-8. (Receive public input, deny petition/request ordinance be drawn – voice vote)
In plain English, item 8 involves an effort on the part of Thaine Fischer, owner of Historic 25th Street's now defunct Star Noodle Parlor, to persuade the council to enact a re-interpretation of the current 25th Street zoning ordinance, (which currently prohibits more than two private clubs or bars within a "lineal block,") to mean that the term "lineal block" would only apply to one side of the street (rather than both sides of the street under current interpretation.)

The net effect would be to allow Mr. Fischer to open a new 500-patron private club (bar) on the south side of the street.

Mr. Fischer's effort to double the potential number of bars on 25th Street through this proposed ordinance reinterpretation has of course been the subject of considerable discussion here on Weber County Forum in the past. For those readers who'd like to bone up on the facts, we refer you to our January 9, 2009 article on the subject, where you'll also find some good reader comments. Regular readers will also recall that Mr. Fischer's earlier petition to the planning commission, urging the adoption of the same ordinance reinterpretation, has already been rejected by the planning commission. So in truth, Mr. Fischer's agenda item #8 represents an attempt to urge the council to overrule the commission... to take a second "bite of the apple," so to speak.

While we do believe that it's unlikely that the Council would normally act to reverse a negative recommendation of the planning commission, we also recognise that Mr. Fischer is a Friend of Matt (FOM) (Fischer donated $2170 to Godfrey's mayoral campaign in 2007), so it's hard to predict what a couple of the more "wobbly" council members will do.

For those readers who are inclined to advocate the denial of Mr. Fischer's proposed ordinance reinterpretation motion, we urge you to take up Councilwoman Jeske's invitation, attend Tuesday night's council meeting, and let the council hear your opinions on the subject. You can bet your boots that Mr. Fischer will have his own vocal advocates showing up in force.

As for the second issue raised by Councilwoman Jeske, wherein Ms. Jeske seeks input on what should be done with the heating systems at Marshall White Center, we urge our readers to attend the Tuesday meeting and urge the council to do what's necessary to bring the Marshall White Center up to snuff. The MWC serves a great number of disadvantaged citizens of our community. Frankly, we believe the city administration's continuing neglect of this important inner city facility has been and remains a disgrace. "Urge the council to take the necessary funds out of Boss Godfrey's budget," one reader suggested in a comment downthread. Not a bad idea at all, in our opinion. First things first, we say.

For those readers who will be unable to attend attend tomorrow night's meeting for one reason or another, we of course once again provide our handy Ogden City Council Contact Information Link.

You know what to do. Do it NOW. Believe us; your Emerald City legislators are sitting on the edges of their seats, waiting to hear what you, their constuents think.

And what think our gentle readers about all this?

21 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

Seems to me we, and the Council, ought to look at the proposed change to the definition of "lineal block" on its merits, without regard to who is proposing it. The Council should treat it as if it came from John Doe. If it's a good idea --- and it might be --- it should not matter that it's being proposed by an FOM.

call girl 1 said...

Wwhy not allow more bars as a preface to legalizing prostitution for 25th Street which has had that in its day?

A girl has a hard time getting a legit job these days. So do guys.

I think it might give 25th Street a more inviting atmosphere and it would surely make Ogden th talk of Utah.

Wonder why Godfrey hasn't mentioned it before because I am sure it must have crossed his mind.

a FOW said...

I'm with you on this one, Curm. While one should always consider the source for a policy change, ultimately the policy change needs to succeed or fail on its own merits. I would like to see, again, what folks think of the policy proposal itself.
Oh, and my "name" -- short for "friend of Wicks."

summers eve said...

Why isnt the Godfrey bunch trying to round up donations for the upgrades to the Marshall White center.
I can think of several non profits they could go to for the money.

1. Ogden Community Foundation.

2. Friends of Northern Utah Real Estate.

3. Envision Ogden

4. Left over money from Matt Godfreys last Mayor Campaign.

Or is it that the Mayor wants to let the Marshall White Center fail?

Curious 1 said...

How can the mayors friends now be in favor of a drinking establishment when Godfrey has done everything to close the bars on 25th ST. What will the children think walking along 25th if another bar is opened?

This might be a good idea as long as the building isn't allowed to expand and ruin the historical features.

Southsider said...

Wasn't the guy who owns the building on the corner of 25th & Lincoln denied a bar permit several years ago? I seem to remember that he even tried to get his address changed from 25th St. to Lincoln so he'd be the only bar on the block. If the ordinance is changed, wouldn't he be first in line ahead of Fischer?

summers eve said...

Anyone can be a FOM if they believe in his vision for the city, oh, and yes make a sizeable campaign contribution.

Bill C. said...

I'm not clear on the specifics, is this ordinance change specific to just 25th st, or does it apply to all the downtown area?
I would be inclined to change if it was for the latter. If it's just 25th st. this change is only for the benefit of one property owner and doesn't reflect fairness but rather favoritism.
Something that should be concidered.

Wm M said...

It's an ordinance change for "downtown" 24th and 25th Streets ...

Bill C. said...

Wm. 24 and 25th st. is a pretty narrow deffinition of downtown, this seems too narrow to accomidate other building owners in the City. If thats the case, I wouldn't go for the change.
There are alot of vacant buildings in Ogden, this ordinance offers very few the potential to gain tennants. This smacks of a self serving ordinance, who's the author?

RJ Svengali said...

If one wants to sell alcohol from a business, the sale should be up to the owner of the business.

While we appreciate those who think they have a vested interest in keeping downtown less drunk, and those who believe they have a magic algorithm to determine the number of drinking establishments per block...

Wait, did we say we appreciate them? Let us rephrase: its none of their damn business.

If they want a sober business, let them but the business on the free market, and not sell alcohol.

We wont force them to sell alcohol, they wont interfere with our right to run a private enterprise as we see fit.

These busybodies do little else but satisfy their own moral outrage, and then they go pump shopping dollars into Riverdale and Layton.

Ignore them.

Curmudgeon said...

One possibility is to create a "downtown entertainment district" in which a much higher density of clubs is permitted. [SL tried to do this; legislature wouldn't let them.] Some mid-sized cities have done this with, I think, good results. [E.g. the Haymarket District in Lincoln, Nebraska.] Might be worth a think in Ogden.

RJ Svengali said...

It is that one little word: permitted.

Elmer Fudd said...

Here's the problem with Fischer's proposal for another new bar on 25th street. His plan is to open up a "western=redneck" bar," which would exacerbate the behavior problems on two-bit street.

Ever been to a "redneck" bar?

If so, you understand the problem.

RJ Svengali said...

This is Ogden, Utah, man. What are people afraid of!
It would actually clean things up a bit, with a little more authentic railroad town flair.

Move the goodly-help missions across the viaduct where they belong, and bring on the rowdy boys!

We can see it now, a line up of big ol' trucks, macho men in tight fitting pants you might question your daughter wearing, big hair girlies all pouting and posing, and a band playing Hank, Waylon, and Willie?
A red-neck bar is a great idea for 25th street!
We have no problem whatsoever with having a honky tonk a few doors down from our mountain west domicile.

Damn, that is so cool!

Bring it.

Britney Spears said...

A REDNECK BAR?

EEK!!!!

Whatever happened to Mayor Godfrey's vision of an Ogden of Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Moschino, Armani and Prada?

How the mighty have fallen.

If this happens, don't count on having me and my friend Paris visitating your town again any time soon.

RJ Svengali said...

Ah, pick up a used cowgurl hat over on Melrose and Beverly, put a spit shine on a silver belt buckle, grab a box 'o' extra-large lovengloves, and come linedancin' with us, purty little ladything.
You know you'll love it when I play rough rodeo rope ranger.
Giddy up.

Britney said...

Svengali.

Typical Ogden cowboy.

All hat.

No cattle.

Ogden Resident said...

I guess I can’t get my head around the issue that when anyone other than a FOM wants to do something in this town they can’t. It as though Godfrey takes the original guy’s idea, refuses him the ability and then allows his friends to exploit the opportunity. And if Godfrey has to rewrite the city code to get it done, he has no problem doing it as long as it’s for one of his buddies.
Thayne Fisher appears to be in tight relations with the Provident Partners and to be working in conjunction with the people of Ogden Properties LLC, both FOM operations. He appears to be one of Godfrey’s imported carpet baggers. Just look around town at how many properties are controlled by these few companies and all with the help of Godfrey. An example of his relationship to Godfrey is evident in his no bid purchase of the BIC building at then less than market price from the city. Godfrey sold it to him in his typical fashion of after the fact begging the City Council for forgiveness routine. With the sale also went the vacant lot next to Farr’s Jewelry which is being developed by Ogden Properties LLC. Look around folks and see whose names are on all of the buildings that are for lease or sale and look to at the condition of the buildings. These guys are major contributors to the run down look of our city. The old Star Noodle building has plywood for a fa├žade now and insulation hanging out of openings in the front of the building. Go up a block and look at how they are maintaining the buildings on the other side of the street or the Windsor Hotel or even the building that the SE did a write up on a couple of weeks ago.
Yet when anyone other than one of these Junior Gadis tries to do anything downtown, they are denied. This selective business development opportunity in our community limited to only the FOM may not bother some of you but I find it unethical.
This is not free enterprise at work and its reason enough for me to take exception with this request.
Let’s see these Junior Gadis developers actually develop some of what they already own in our city rather than just letting those properties that they own just sit idle and decay in our downtown. Otherwise by passing city ordinances for them, we as a community, in effect increase the flexibility of the properties thus increasing the value in their properties. This concept in itself is good if they are actually going to do something immediate with the property but in these guys cases I worry that they are only thinking about flipping the properties, as is evidence by what they have done in other areas of the country where they do business and is evident by the progress in the development to date on the properties that they already own in our city that sit idle. Additionally by granting the changes without an immediate business plan for development the city gives away its ability to control future development in our downtown district without gaining a darn thing.
Think about it guys, no immediate development plans means no added tax revenues for the city and thus no rational for the city to implement the change and allows the city to maintain the control of future development in that section of the town until something is immediately planned for development. If the city allows this change they are playing into the hands of the developer without any apparent gain for the residents.
I suggest that the city not grant the ordinance change until Mr. Fischer and his cohorts, the FOM, make some significant progress on developing some of their other properties in our community that sit idle and in a state of decay.

RJ Svengali said...

All good points, however:

Friends of Mayor Godfrey are not the only ones in Ogden who allow their businesses to act as a blight.

Witness a notable Mayoral detractor, Bruce Edwards.
He purposely allows his bulding to look like a slum, when one afternoon of work would spruce it up nicely.

Of course, he obviously has a different set of "issues".
Seriously.


Or the various rental houses that are owned by long time Ogden city patriarchs.
They rent to persons who they suspect are involved in drug and gang activity, but as long as the checks come in...

Lots of good points, though.

Curious 1 said...

Is it true that the Mayor had to hide his rentals under an LLC? I understand his properties are some of the worse in the city.
Anyone have a current list to see for enforcment issues...

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