Friday, November 27, 2009

Standard-Examiner: The Powder Mountain Debate Rages On

Why one gentle reader does not find it reassuring that Rep. Froerer is trying to cut a deal with the Powderville jackals that starts "at the development agreement"

By Curmudgeon

The Standard-Examiner has up Friday morning a good news/bad news piece on the Powderville mess:
Powder Mtn. debate rages on, unsettled
First, the good news. The Utah Supreme Court, which has received appeals from both sides in the controversy, has issued a stay order to prevent the appointing of a town government by the developers until the appeals can be heard by the court. The developers opposed the stay order, but the court issued it anyway.

And what did the developers have to say about all this? From the story: "Spokespeople for the town sponsors did not return calls for comment." Of course. Such people much prefer to operate in dark damp places out of the public eye. It is their natural environment.

The story reports that opponents of Powderville [aka residents of the developer-decreed and to-be-developer-governed town] are also hoping the legislature's leadership will not this year cave to the realtor lobby as it did last year by preventing a bill to give town residents the immediate right upon incorporation to dissolve the town by popular vote. Based on past performance, relying on the House leadership to do the right thing when its Utah realtor lobby masters wants it to do otherwise is a doubtful strategy unlikely. But we can still hope, I suppose. Miracles do happen they say.

And the not-so-good news? The story reports that Rep. Gage "Asleep At The Switch" Froerer [who managed not to notice that his constituents were being sold down the river in the Developers Dream Bill] is trying to cut a deal with the developers. From the story:
While the talks are still very preliminary, Froerer said he thinks a deal is in everyone's best interest....
Froerer said he wants to go back to the beginning of the problem. "We can pull the lawsuit, pull the incorporation off the table and start at the development agreement," he said.
Uh oh. Mr. Froerer's legislative career has mostly involved his sitting up and rolling over on cue from the Utah realtors' lobby [as frequent poster Machman has often pointed out]. Why do I not find it reassuring that Mr. Froerer is trying to cut a deal with the Powderville jackals that starts "at the development agreement?"

Going to be interesting to see what the Utah Supreme Court does with the appeals.

17 comments:

Stephen M. Cook said...

Let us bypass and amend to our narrow purpose the applicable ordinance, and then we wont need to pound you with unethical behavior, and attempt to screw you all with an end run around the people who we want to have as our new townies?

Typical wanna-be developer without a viable plan, verses a nice little town that wants to stay that way.

No deal.

Danny said...

Nice write up from Curm.

Once again we see Gage Froerer, reliable "man of action" when it comes to "getting it done" for the realtor lobby, lining up his ducks to be able to offer excuses to his constituents.

Rather than re-introduce his legislation, and push for it, he is going to piddle away time while the legislature meets. When his "negotiations" fail, he can once again blame circumstances beyond his control while saying he "did his best".

Just like last year, when he blamed his own party leaders for killing his legislation.

Gage Froerer:

Results for realtors.

Excuses for constituents.

He can run on that.

Monotreme said...

After all, the Republicans invented the concept of plausible deniability.

Dan S. said...

Froerer is obviously torn. On one hand, the message from his constituents is loud and clear. (He must have been especially impressed by the huge turnout at their recent fundraiser, which he attended.) On the other hand, it's hard for him to oppose the realtor/developer lobby. He's a realtor himself, and in any case, these folks have a lot of influence over the legislators whose votes he'll need for this bill.

Under the circumstances, we need to send Mr. Froerer the right message. That message is not the one that Curmudgeon keeps sending, which is that no matter what Mr. Froerer does, he's a dirty evil Republican who is in bed with the developers and who is to be blamed for getting us into this mess in the first place. If there's nothing Froerer can do to earn our praise, then he has no reason to try. The correct message is that we're watching him closely and we will remember what he does--either way--when the next election comes around.

Ron Gleason said...

IMO Gage is looking at the situation correctly. Let's say the legislation he proposes gets passed, then the developers will have to deal with Weber County again and hammer out a development agreement. If the courts throw out the law again the developers are back having to hammer it out with Weber County. So why not get the developers back to square one NOW.

One thing that has changed is that Weber County now has a Resort Zone Ordinance on the books and the developers should be analyzing that to determine what they can do.

We have to accept the face that there will be some development at Powder Mountain.

Ron Gleason

Stephen M. Cook said...

Sure there will be. Right after the road is completely rebuilt to UDOT standards for the usage planned, and a real developer steps forward with the funds to proceed.
Until then, its just flipping and skipping.

Sure, the valley will develop and grow; smart.

Curmudgeon said...

In light of Dan's post, permit me to quietly note the following about my main post above:

1) It noted that Mr. F. had fallen asleep at the wheel when the original Developers Dream Bill was passed.

2) It noted that Mr. F's legislative career has shown a tendency to support bills and policies that are backed by the Utah realtor lobby.

3) And it noted that, in light of all that, some healthy skepticism would probably wise when Mr. F. announces, as he has, that he's trying to cut a deal with the developers of Powderville regarding development that will, if he succeeds, cause him not to introduce and work for passing of the legislative solution to the Powderville mess that he introduced last year, but could not get through, he said, because he was betrayed by the leadership of his own party. In light of his past performance, I thought he bears close watching on his negotiations with the developers. Still do.

4.) That at no point did my post call Mr. F "a dirty evil Republican." I leave name calling like "dirty evil" to others, and am sorry to see Dan. S. introducing it into this discussion. I did call him a Republican. If some think that constitutes name calling... well, I can't help what people think.

5) As for the rest of Dan's post... First, he's unhappy with my pointing out that Mr. F. "is to be blamed for getting us into this mess in the first place...." Sorry, but Mr. F. is in part responsible, since it was his constituents' right to elect the town government that will have the power to tax them that got sold down the river to accommodate real estate developers. No way round that, I'm afraid, Dan.

Second, Dan wrote "The correct message is that we're watching him closely and we will remember what he does--either way--when the next election comes around." Couldn't agree more, Dan. Couldn't agree more.

As for this --- "If there's nothing Froerer can do to earn our praise, then he has no reason to try." --- well, there is much Mr. F. can do to earn back his constituents' trust. He can fix the mess he helped create. All I said above was that given his past performance in office, I didn't --- and don't --- find the idea that he's trying to cut a deal with the Powderville developers particularly reassuring.

Curmudgeon said...

RG:

As I recall, this whole mess got started when WC refused to agree to the scope of what the developers wanted to do at Powder Mountain --- the issue was not development-vs-no development --- but the County's refusal to sign off on the extent and nature of what the developers wanted to do. The Developers' Dream Bill provided a means for the developers to cut the County entirely out of the process, more or less.

And yes, it might be a good idea to take the developers back to square one regarding their plans for the mountain. My concern was... and is... that Mr. F. may be too likely to advocate giving away far too much to the developers in a new development agreement in order to solve his large personal problem: his constituents outrage over the Powderville mess. He has a real incentive to make that mess go away, and in light of that --- once again, considering past performance --- I think it wise to be somewhat skeptical about having him head up the negotiations with the developers.

That skepticism may be unjustified. I'd be delighted to learn that it is. If Mr. F. can broker an acceptable compromise that does not give away the store to make his problem go away, I'll be first in line to congratulate him. [OK, maybe not first. But not last either.] Love to see it happen. But I'll remain skeptical until it does. With, I think, good reason.

Machster said...

Gage Froerer, Gary Hurbert, Sloan, Chris Kyler, Bryan Kohler, Micheal Ostermiller, Greg Bell, Wayne Neiderhauser and so many more... Past Presidents of the corrupt and disgusting Utah Realtor Association, and heavily involved in scamming virtually every Utah resident while "claiming" they represent and protect private property rights. This is their National mantra and it is ironic and patently untrue.

If you think otherwise, ask the besieged residents of Powder Mountain if their "private property rights" are being defended. By Froerer, or Governor Hurbert, or his appointed co-conspirator and heavily bribed (by the URA) Lt. Governor Bell and the other 30 or so (Realtor/Developers) in the current Utah legislature.

Kyler and his bottom feeding unethical and immoral ilk (the URA) are stealing from everyone. And so long as there are naive and uninformed Utah electorate, they will continue to run Realtor favorable legislation through and put forward their ethically challenged candidates, just as we recently witnessed in the Ogden City Council election.

In the end we deserve the nefarious and unethical crap we elect whether Democrat or Republican. And there's the rub. The High School and Sophomoric ignorant who think those with the most expensive and polished political signs must want it more and therefore will get my vote will continue to let these leeches on society and pond scum continue to have political sway.

This is the essence of Utah local politics. Big money buys big signs and expensive brochures and advertisements. If the Standard Examiner would just print the truth for once, we would be treated too; the smaller the signs and more dedicated the candidate to actually representing the people rather than the special interests...well that will never happen...just look at the advertising money being received by the Standard Examiner from the Realtor Association. So there it is. The awful and pitiful truth.

But on rare occasions character, integrity and ethical concerns win out and therein lies our best hope for the future.

Dan S. said...

Curm: I'm glad you agree with me about the message we oughta be sending to Mr. Froerer.

No, of course you didn't call him a "dirty evil Republican". Not in so many words. But you did christen him with a less-than-complimentary middle name, and you compared him to a dog. You unfairly singled him out for voting for HB 466, when in fact every legislator, including every Democrat, voted for that bill. And you failed to mention any of his numerous efforts to help undo the effects of HB 466, from sponsoring the bill that repealed it, to sponsoring the bill that would allow the citizens of Powderville to disincorporate, to letting those citizens use his realty office property to promote their cause during last summer's balloon festival.

I share your skepticism regarding this latest news about negotiations, and I'll be watching very closely to see what, if anything, comes out of this effort. But meanwhile, if you really agree with me about the message we should be sending to Mr. Froerer, then I strongly suggest that you change your tone and praise him once in a while when he does something right.

Machster said...

Dan S.

Please excuse the intrusion in your missive to Crum. But:

May I suggest you do some of your excellent research into exactly what "Mr. Froerer" has been doing. And then pontificate about what he has done that is right or correct. If you can in fact find any that are real.

As one of his constituents who has been paying very close attention since August 07, I believe if you do your usual thorough and excellent research, you will discover several things.

First, his out of the box, first sponsored bill, which almost passed by the way, was to make it legal for developers to bypass local planning commissions by going directly to county commissioners, *whom most were in the pockets of the URA by the way, with their developments and subdivisions.

His efforts continued to bring Realtor friendly legislation to the forefront at every bend and turn.

Mr. Froerer's efforts relative to fixing the unanimously passed HB 466, "Developer's Dream Bill", have been very carefully steered by his behind the scenes URA mentors to give the appearance of doing the right thing but of course at the wrong time. His corrective bill for example was delayed until a mere week or two prior to the end of the session. His grand standing before the other State Constitution Review Board was also carefully pre cast such that it had no chance of passing any serious scrutiny a mere ten days prior to the session's end. I think they call these things a "Red Herring", "Grandstanding" or certainly diversionary tactics to stall, nuance, and deceive the public. And further, our illustrious "Representative" is frankly not smart enough to do any of what he has done on his own. Anyone who has sat with and listened to him in public hearings, meetings, commission meetings, committee meetings, or even in his office trying to explain what is a conflict of interest, over countless hours, if reasonably preceptive at all, knows this.

The man had a stroke, in all fairness, and it may or may not have had some effect on his reasoning powers. He may or may not have fully recovered mentally as some I know have not.

So his actions are carefully montored by and directed by those who got him elected in the first place as past President of and now lapdog of the Utah Realtor Assoc. The three of them at the top of that organization, all have advanced degrees in political science and also law degrees and think they are very clever.

While you are researching Dan S., assuming you do, pay close attention to another, one Wayne Neiderhauser, the past chairman of the Interim Committee on Revenue and Taxation, and on which Mr. Froerer also sits today. You will, if you are as astute as I believe you to be, see a trend. But I must caution you that you will need to read and listen to all the proceedings of the aforementioned committee over the past three years, and as I have, listen too and/or attend the legislative sessions.

I truly wish I could not be this presistent gadfly. But rather be upbeat a give benefit of doubt. But alas, the truth is carefully obscured and well hidden from view. Buried in political corruption and manipulations designed to obfuscate and give false impressions to keep URA influence intact where it is most cost effective. That of making Realtor friendly laws while lying about their mantra to protect private property rights.

With much respect for both you and of course Crum.

Machster

Ron Gleason said...

Curmudgeon, yes there were/are differences between what the developers wanted and the county was willing to allow. However since that time Weber County has proceeded to finalize and pass the OV Destination and recreation Resort Zone ordinance (link below)

http://www.co.weber.ut.us/wiki/index.php/Ogden_Valley_Destination_and_Recreation_Resort_Zone_DRR-1

This ordinance provides specifics on what a developer can expect and most importantly a framework and procedure for working through the process.

The developers were aware of this pending ordinance but claimed they could not wait for it approval.

This ordinance is not perfect nor does is address the road issue or the issue with the resort spanning multiple counties. However it is what the developers should be using.

Can Gage help facilitate a solution? I have no idea but i have to believe it the county and the developers that are the important parties here.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

Glad to see you agree with me about the wisdom of approaching Mr. F's negotiations with the developers with some skepticism.

In re: this -- "You unfairly singled him out for voting for HB 466, when in fact every legislator, including every Democrat, voted for that bill." Yes, Dan, the bill passed without opposition. However, it had particular impact only in a few legislators' districts where greedy developers rushed to take advantage of the Developers Dream Bill. And one of those legislators was Mr. F. It's his constituents who had their voting rights and right to elect those empowered to tax them sold out to accommodate the wallets of developers. And so, yes, Dan, I think Mr. F. bears a little more of the responsibility than legislators whose constituents did not have their rights lost by the indifference of those they elected to represent them.

Nobody in the Utah legislature, either party, came off looking good in this, Dan. But some whose constituents lost the most because of their ineptitude came off, I'd suggest, looking a bit worse. One of them was Mr. F.

OV Resident said...

So utah politics and corruption are not important eh?

This is why Machster's posts are so relevent and appropriate. People like Ron G. have their head up their asses so far they just "will not" ever see and therefore the URA control of the State will continue for many more decades as it has over the past two or three.

If making laws to favor one sector of the economy and oppressing the largest sector...the general population, is not important enough to address. Then what in the hell is?

Attendance at OV Ordinance Committee meetings, during which Weber County literally assigned 90% of the participants, proves where the three Commissioners loyalty lies. The vast majority were all developers, resort owners and contractors, with only two large land owner\ families represented. Others were questioned at the entry point and turned away by the Co. Commissioner's baffoon, Hamilton.

So what in the name of democracy does Ron G. think came out of the committee? Realtor/developer/resort owner friendly ordinances. And yes the Powder Mountain gang of thieves were well represented.

Gees dude! How ____ stupid do you think we are? If you have the stomach, ask yourself and find out how much money have the three County Commissioners been paid by the URA, FNURE PACs and the like? Who financed and ran Bishoff, Dearden, and Zogmaister's campaign?

Or then you might just already know? And don't care.

Boston Blackie said...

Some of the comments above have good points and facts. Some don't. In the interest of progress let's just suppose that we did go back to square one.

Withdraw the incorporation petition, and pick up where the OV Planning Commission left it with 19 conditions that have to be met to receive their zoning change support and recommendation to the Weber County Commissioners. Two of those are (1) a second access road and (2) a limit on the units allowed that were set at about what the existing zoning allows. These two items are the real sticking point with the Powder Mountain development people.

The bad legislation that passed (HB466) was passed to assist a separate incorporation in Southern Utah, not for the Powder Mountain issue! It was a mistake by every legislator since it was unopposed by anyone in the legislature.

If a negotiated agreement can be reached that holds firmly to the 19 main conditions from the OV Planning Commission, it may be a way out of this mess.

Machster said...

"Some of the comments above have good points and facts. Some don't." Ron G.

Ron G.: Just wondering which comments do not have good points or facts?

First Substitute H.B. 296
Representative Gage Froerer proposes the following substitute bill:
2007 GENERAL SESSION
STATE OF UTAH
Chief Sponsor: Gage Froerer
Senate Sponsor: Dan R. Eastma General Description:
This bill modifies county and municipal land use development and management provisions relating to subdivisions.
Highlighted Provisions: This bill:
eliminates a requirement for a planning commission recommendation before a person may record a subdivision plat; and requires county and municipal land use authorities to give notice and hold a public hearing before approving a subdivision plat.
Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
None
Other Special Clauses: None
Utah Code Sections Affected:
AMENDS: 10-9a-604, as last amended by Chapter 240, Laws of Utah 2006
17-27a-604, as last amended by Chapter 240, Laws of Utah 2006
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
Section 1. Section 10-9a-604 is amended to read:
10-9a-604. Subdivision plat approval procedure -- Effect of not complying.
(1) [(a)] A person may not submit a subdivision plat to the county recorder's office for recording unless:
[(i) except as provided in Subsection (1)(b), a recommendation has been received from the planning commission;][(ii)] (a) the plat has been approved by:[(A)] (i) the land use authority of the municipality in which the land described in the plat is located[; and], after the land use authority:(A) provides notice of the public hearing required under Subsection (1)(a)(i)(B) as provided in Section 10-9a-207 ; and (B) holds a public hearing on the proposed subdivision plat; and (B)] (ii) other officers that the municipality designates in its ordinance; and
[(iii)] (b) all approvals are entered in writing on the plat by the designated officers.
[(b) Subsection (1)(a) does not apply if the planning commission is the land use authority.](2) A subdivision plat recorded without the signatures required under this section is void.
(3) A transfer of land pursuant to a void plat is voidable. Section 2. Section 17-27a-604 is amended to read:
17-27a-604. Subdivision plat approval procedure -- Effect of not complying.
(1) [(a)] A person may not submit a subdivision plat to the county recorder's office for recording unless: [(i) except as provided in Subsection (1)(b), a recommendation has been received from the planning commission;] [(ii)] (a) the plat has been approved by: [(A)] (i) the land use authority of the county in whose unincorporated area the land described in the plat is located, after the land use authority: (A) provides notice of the public hearing required under Subsection (1)(a)(i)(B) as provided in Section 17-27a-207 ; and (B) holds a public hearing on the proposed subdivision plat; and (B)] (ii) other officers that the county designates in its ordinance; and (iii)] (b) all approvals are entered in writing on the plat by designated officers. [(b) Subsection (1)(a) does not apply if the planning commission is the land use authority.] (2) A plat recorded without the signatures required under this section is void.
(3) A transfer of land pursuant to a void plat is voidable.
[Bill Documents][Bills Directory]

Machster said...

Ooops, in above comment please substitute "Boston Blackie" for "Ron G." Sorry bout that Ron G.

Brain fart.

Machster

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