Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Live Blogging from the Planning Commission Chamber

High tech blogging in overload mode
Updated with this morning's Scott Schwebke Report

Believe it or not, the ever tireless Dan Schroeder is now sitting in the Ogden Planning Commission chamber right now, doing live blogging updates in our lower comments section about tonight's Planning Commision meeting. Refresh the comments page to read Dan's latest and more or less streaming real-time posts.

Update 7/2/09 7:05 a.m. MT: Mr. Schwebke provides his own report of last night's commission meeting, with this morning's Standard-Examiner story:
Commission tables request for underground water tank
We'd also like to express our special thanks to Dan S. this morning, for last night's real-time commission session updates.

40 comments:

Dan S. said...

I'm now at the Planning Commission meeting, listening to the staff presentation on the Union Square phase 2 proposal. The water tanks are next on the agenda. I'll try to provide live updates as we go along.

Dan S. said...

Seven commissioners are present: Southwick, Wright, Schade, Hyer (chair), Holman, Herman, and Hueton. Atencio and Blaisdell aren't here and I'm not sure whether they will be.

Dan S. said...

Union Square phase 2 would have 70 units and 117 parking spaces (if I heard correctly). Interesting that even in a pedestrian-friendly downtown area they will still have more than one parking space per unit.

Dan S. said...

Commissioner Herman moves to approve site plan, subject to several detailed conditions. Vote is 6-1, with Southwick voting against due to reservations over parking issues.

Dan S. said...

Water tank issue is now up, with City Engineer Justin Anderson presenting. Herman discloses for the record that his architecture firm is working with WSU on future planning; this doesn’t seem to be a conflict of interest.

Hyer: The question is should we spend all this money on additional storage, or should we save the money?

Anderson: Steel tanks used to be cheaper but price advantage isn’t large and an additional above-ground tank would be against the general plan. Maintenance on steel tanks is high. They’re subject to vandalism, gunshot holes.

Dan S. said...

Anderson is relating anecdotes about how you shouldn’t rely too much on pumps; extra storage is always better. A lot of the points he’s bringing up aren’t relevant to this particular project, however. I’d say he’s fear-mongering.

Dan S. said...

More fear-mongering from Anderson: The existing tanks weren't designed with seismic protection. "That scares me."

[No consultants' study has ever concluded that the steel tanks need to be replaced, or addressed any of these issues regarding steel tanks. Rather, the consultants were told to assume that these tanks would be replaced to make room for new development.]

Dan S. said...

Oops, it's not Anderson speaking (I can't see his face); it's Kenton Moffett, also of the city engineering department.

Question: When would the higher 1.25 million gallon tank be constructed? Answer: Within the next two years, preferably at the same time as the 5 MG tank.

Herman: Could you transmit water straight from the 5 MG tank straight to the 46th Street tank? Moffett: You could, but it would be more expensive in the long run. Inevitably there will be development and the high tank will be needed.

Dan S. said...

Herman: Is the transmission line a higher priority than the 1.25 MG tank? Moffett: Yes...

Herman: Why aren't we reviewing the conditional use permit for the smaller tank now? Moffett: We're still working on finding a suitable site, but we'll present that quickly. [Really? What if that tank is outside city limits?]

Dan S. said...

Now he's fear-mongering about what happens if current supply to McKay-Dee Hospital is interrupted...

No more questions for Engineering Dept.

Reminder that this is a two-part proposal. Current discussion is over amending the capital improvement plan.

Time for public input.

Dan S. said...

Oops, not yet time for public input. Montgomery is now passing out letters from me (emailed first thing this morning) and from the fire marshall. [So they won't actually have time to read my comments before they vote.]

Montgomery is now reviewing the existing Capital Improvement Plan and discussing the context of this proposed amendment.

Dan S. said...

Montgomery is now reviewing history of Water Horizons process. That included a provision for four new water tanks (without saying where they would go). Then came the CRS report. Montgomery is not accurately summarizing how the CRS report modified the recommendation of the 2005 Sunrise report (which didn't really address storage issues for existing zones in this area).

Montgomery: Planning Commission must determine whether this proposal is consistent with the general plan.

Dan S. said...

Montgomery: General Plan calls for preserving open space as well as meeting infrastructure needs. General Plan does call for some infill growth in this area. Fire flow requirements are based on need for a fire in a WSU building. Fear mongering about possible disruption of supply from Pineview [irrelevant because 23rd Street reservoirs are so huge]. Staff believes this is consistent with General Plan.

Dan S. said...

Herman would like to consider making tank smaller to reduce its impact on the area. Montgomery: a small decrease in size doesn't affect cost much.

Dan S. said...

Southwick: What would the life span of this new tank be? Answer: 50-100 years.

Montgomery: Think back to when there were gravel operations at Mt. Ogden Park. The land does recover. [Not a good comparison since tank would be kept clear of large vegetation.]

Dan S. said...

Public commenters: Myself, Rob Garner, and now David Smith. 2 minutes each. No others.

Commissioner Schade: I'm not sure I see anything in the General Plan that would contradict approval of this project. We're here to decide whether it meets the general plan and I don't see any problem.

Hueton: Seems to be a cart-before-the-horse scenario: determining size of tank before we know what development it will serve.

Dan S. said...

Hueton: We should know what the whole system will look like before we decide on one piece of it.

Hyer: I remember when we lost water on the north side of town. On the other hand, how much do you want to over-build in anticipation of emergencies?

Hueton: Pipes coming out of these tanks would go across a seismic zone. Perhaps redundant pipelines would be a better way to spend our money.

Herman: 5 MG tank is over-sized. We should become a more conservative society.

Motion on CIP amendment (recommendation to council): Schade moves to recommend approval. Wright seconds. Motion fails with all H's voting no, other three in favor.

Dan S. said...

Attorney Stratford: You must make a recommendation for or against tonight. Suggests recommending approval subject to conditions, or could recommend denial.

Hyer: I see a different situation on north end than down here, in terms of vegetation. Also concerned about cost during a recession. Herman is concerned with tank size. Southwick: Isn't the bond money already in place? Hyer: It's not free money; it's coming from someplace.

Dan S. said...

Montgomery: Funding is already in place from Water Horizons. Existing CIP calls for new tank at 46th Street, which would also have an impact on vegetation.

Southwick: Let's move it forward with caveat that city should take another look at tank's size.

Montgomery: This vote isn't over exact site, just general location.

Stratford: This CIP amendment includes both tanks.

Dan S. said...

Southwick moves to approve CIP amendment with caveat that city council further review size requirements. Holman seconds. Passes unanimously.

Dan S. said...

Now on to the conditional use permit for the 5 MG tank. Kenton Moffett again comes up for presentation, showing site plan.

Meanwhile, Montgomery is conferring privately with attorney Stratford.

Revegetation would use seed mix from Forest Service.

More discussion about site details.

Dan S. said...

Moffett: Fence is required by the state; would be outside the perimeter of the tank, about 7 feet high with barbed wire on top.

Trail would be rerouted with new bridge, funded by this project.

Dan S. said...

Montgomery: Water reservoirs are a conditional use in the O1 zone. State law says permit must be approved unless impacts cannot be mitigated. [Yeah, but is the city gonna sue itself if the permit isn't approved?]

Primary concern is with impacts to character of the area. During construction, impacted area would be quite a bit larger (looks like 3 or 4 times) than the footprint of the tank, due to slope and need for cut/fill.

Dan S. said...

Montgomery is now showing map of proposed trail realignment--after construction. During construction the impacts to trails would be much greater and there isn't yet a good proposal for how trails could remain in use during construction.

Another concern is runoff, especially into Strong's Creek. This should be a condition for approval.

Dan S. said...

Montgomery: If tank is downsized, then many of the issues could be revisited and mitigation would become easier.

Attorney Stratford: This item could be delayed, but it would take until September, given the city council meeting schedule. This could be a problem because it would delay contracts, etc.

Dan S. said...

Public comments: Myself and David Smith. (Rob Garner has left.) Again, 2 minutes each.

Hueton: It's understandable that the engineering department wouldn't have the needed expertise to address aesthetics. We need to bring in more expertise here.

Dan S. said...

Hueton: We should either table or deny.

Southwick: Tabling makes sense.

Hyer: Could we take a field trip up there?

Hyer: We could also approve it and then if size changes, they'll have to come back because project won't be the same.

Dan S. said...

Southwick moves to table until August, asking Engineering to come back with better mitigation plan. Herman suggests asking what disposition of existing tanks would be, and seconds.

Engineering cuts in: Changing size of tank won't change site plan by much.

Schade: We should be specific about what we want mitigated.

Southwick: Backfill, additional scarring, multiple roads, more specific trail plan, ensuring protection of creek.

Vote: Passes with 4 in favor, Wright and Schade opposed, Hyer abstains.

So this item will come back next month, if they're ready (otherwise may have to table again).

Dan S. said...

Commission adjourns for a break. There are other interesting agenda items but I need to leave before they reconvene. Thanks for reading!

Stephen Cook said...

This is a fantastic public service.
I know you hear this a lot Prof Dan... But, Thank You!

OgdenLover said...

Yes. Thanks, Dan.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan;
Thanks from me too.

Bill C. said...

Thanks Dan, I would have been there but I spent the day at a funeral in Idaho.
As for the scare tactics these young insecure having to lie mandated engineers keep alluding to; If hospitals are of such great concern wouldn't there be specific requirements mandated by the State? How about the owners of the hospital, wouldn't they have requirements prior to construction?
The 2005 inspection found no shortcomings in this area, don't these commissioners study and research as much as us common onlookers? It's really not that difficult to tell when Montgomery is lying or evading the truth and these young engineers are far less practiced than he is.
I suppose we ought to thank the administration for supplying more good examples like their handling of this and the Marshall White Center for the up-coming elections.

blackrulon said...

Before we take on a new water system I have questions. Where is the new housing in Ogden being built? How much is the current water system being used? Will new and expensive mountainside housing meet current hillside building regulations? How will the proposed new water tanks be funded? Will new homes that benefit from these water tanks have to pay any additional impact fees? If the trails network is changed will open access still be available?

Dan S. said...

blackrulon,

Here are quick answers to some of your questions. The proposed water tanks would be funded by a bond, which will be paid off by the new, higher water rates that all Ogden customers began paying a year and a half ago. Ogden has no impact fees. The current proposal is to reroute trails around the new tank site after it is complete. For security reasons there would be no public access to the site of the tank itself, which would be surrounded by a high fence topped with barbed wire. It's not clear what would happen to the trails during the two-year construction period.

Michael said...

This is obviously a plot by lying little matty. When will the people of Ogden see what the Mormon Mayor and the brethren are doing to their freedoms here behind the Zion curtain?

call me "dummie" said...

It sounds like CH17 has been trying to get the Council Meetings on CH17, and it's been the City Council that has been resisting and from what I heard they even sabotage the last attempt from CH17.

Curmudgeon said...

Dummie:

Without some substance... sources, specifics... this is just unsupported rumor from an anonymous source. Not worth much. You have some specifics, let's have them. Some docs to reference, give them. Someone who will go on the record to back what you say, tell us who he or she is.

If it is the Council blocking putting their meetings on 17, that's something I'd want to know. But I need more than an anonymous un -sourced rumor with no specifics.

Dummie said...

I heard that just this last Tuesday the Council refused to give the keys to their control (Room) system so CH17 was not able to get a direct feed. I personally am not a fan of this site so I will remain anonymous. If you find this to be untrue then remove my postings but when you find it to be the truth I hope you get the word out.

Curmudgeon said...

Dummie:

Now you've given us at least something specific that can be asked about. And [if true] raises other follow up questions that would need to be asked, such as "why?" We're dealing with pure speculation here, still, but I'm not sure if it were my decision to make, I'd simply hand over access to the Council's tape record keeping system to someone from Ch 17 [or anyone else] who asked for it. Certainly not without some prior agreement about use, access, etc.

But, as I said, this is all still raw speculation at this point.

What is not speculation is that Council meetings in Ogden ought to be available, at least on a tape-delayed basis, on the community channel as they are in many other cities across the land.

PS: If you're gong to post here, and I hope you will again, please make up a name to use. Anything. Disconcerting to have to address you as "dummie" [rename for Anonymous]. Don't like doing that. Any name will do.

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