Saturday, February 27, 2010

Powder Mountain Update: Weekend Time Out

But first... several additional budding developments which have come to our attention since our last WCF posting on this subject

As we enter into the weekend, we'll temporarily put the Powder Mountain story to rest, until at least next week. Before we do that however, we'd like to inform our readers about several budding developments which have come to our attention since our last WCF posting on this subject:

1) Regarding the pendency of Rep. Froerer's HB 218, we received this voice message from Senator Allen Christen, the bill's Senate sponsor, which indeed confirms that the Powder Mountain Developer and the County Commission seem to be on the verge of a settlement deal:
The bill [HB 218] is stalled in committee. It's not dead; it's not gone. But we have at least temporarily,we have a letter from the developer saying that they will stand down, not try to to incorporate, run everything back through the planning commission, and essentially do the same thing. They just don't want to have this done to them. I've seen the letter; the Commissioners still have to agree to it, and if that's amenable to them, then everybody's going to back off, and hopefully let this thing go away.
We subsequently spoke with Senator Christensen by phone, who further confirmed, to our considerable initial disappointment, that despite its offer to "stand down," the Powder Mountain Developer has unfortunately not yet offered to permanently relinquish its right to later resume its action for Powder Mountain Town incorporation. Inasmuch as we've as yet been unable to obtain an electronic copy of this letter, we'll thus offer no commentary on whatever substantive terms may be contained therein.

2) We've been informed by a reliable source that the Weber County Commission had at some recent point set a public hearing for March 16, to discuss a mysterious "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU), but that this hearing has now been taken off-calender. Presumably it'll be returned to the calender for public hearing, once Commission and Developer legal eagles have dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's.

3) We've also been informed by several independent sources, gentle reader Laura among them, that Senate Government Ops Committee members McAdam and Robles have responded to lumpencitizen persuasion, and are prepared to vote in favor of recommending that HB 218 be advanced to the Senate floor for deliberation and debate, in the event that the committee would re-convene to re-consider the matter. Of course that's all hearsay; so take it for what it's worth.

4) We also had a short conversation with Rep. Froerer late yesterday afternoon, wherein he reconfirmed that he remains ready to "pull the trigger" and continue, if necessary, to push his bill forward for a full Senate vote. In this context however he also offered the cautionary admonition that a sizable number of the key players in this battle, including some litigants in the Powder Mountain citizens lawsuit, are expressing concern about throwing the bill in front of the Senate, where strong opposition forces continue to oppose HB 218. Rather than taking the risk of a Senate "crapshoot," an influential faction of the prospective "Powderville" residents are therefore apparently leaning in favor of the "negotiated" settlement, an outcome which indeed appears to be in the works.

5) Last but not least, Ogden Valley Forum has an interesting guest commentary up on its blogsite this morning, speaking to the issue of the continuing "back room" negotiations. We accordingly invite all interested WCF readers to take a look:
Guest Post From Frank C. - HB 218 Questions
In closing we'll say that while we still maintain the position that the "Powderville" problem will never be permanently solved until the Powder Mountain Town Incorporation issue is unequivocally and irrevocably taken off the table, we'll nevertheless resist the temptation to forcefully editorialize on this point this morning, but instead defer, at least for the time being, to the hopefully sound judgment of those parties who are far more intimately involved in the negotiations than we.

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,"
as the old saying goes. So we'll recognize the possible wisdom in this old folk ax, cool our jets at this juncture and wait to see how it all shakes out in the days to come. The very last thing we'd like to see at this stage of this exceedingly fragile existing situation, would be to find ourselves being blamed for throwing a wrench into the works.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

17 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

Just so long as we're clear that at this point, it's Rep. Froerer who has his bill on "hold."

As for the potential PMT residents who favor the back room deal: I certainly understand, and have no problems with that. They have to protect themselves, since the Republican leadership threw them to the wolves in 2007 when they snuck the Developers Dream Bill through in the final hour of the session, and then ended the session early in 2008 to make sure the wolves --- or jackals would be a better term, I guess --- could continue to gnaw on their fundamental liberties. Under those circumstances, I would be out to protect myself however I could too.

But we also need to understand that if the Weber County Commission caves to the in effect extortion of the jackal developers [who are holding the PMT residents hostage and demanding ransom, paid as concessions on sweetheart zoning for explosive growth at Powder Mountain Resort], the results may not serve the public good.

Paying off on this kind of ransom rarely results in good public policy.

But whatever is happening is happening now behind closed doors. We'll have to see what emerges then the deal-cutting between Freorer, the Weber County Commission and the jackals' lickspittle mouthpiece, Mr. Curtis [who aided and abetted the passing of the Developers Dream Bill as a Republican legislative leader before he was thrown out of office by the voters], is done and the doors are opened.

We shall see.

Zipper said...

One can hope that any deal with Powder Mountain will not endanger the density numbers for Ogden Valley. There are also considerations regarding traffic, road safety, pollution, wild life and water usage.

We think the Weber County commissioners should go back to the 19 conditions set forth by the Ogden Valley Planning Commission and work from there with Powder Mountain.

If the deal here is to just stop the incorporation, then both sides have lost sight of the primary reasons the Powder Mountain rezone petition was
opposed by most Ogden Valley residents.

reality said...

Time to widen Ogden Canyon.

RudiZink said...

One additional point for the sake of clarity, Curm. The parties to the ondoing negotiation consist of and are limited to these: 1) the County Commission, 2) The Developer and 3) a handfull of prospective Powder Mountain residents, who are also parties to the citizens' lawsuit.

Although Representative Froerer is indeed "looking over their shoulders," and has agreed to adapt his legislative tactics in the event the above "negotiating parties" manage to strike a mutually acceptable deal, Rep Froerer remains a technical "stranger to these negotiations."

His involvement with respect to the negotiations is merely peripheral at most, which is an important point that's sometimes been missed, during our WCF conversations on this topic.

more reality said...

Time to flatten the Powder Mountain road.

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

OK, fair enough. So long as we keep that in mind if/when an agreement to drop the incorporation emerges, should Rep. Freorer try to claim credit for it.

frankc said...

Having started all this by asking some possibly impertinent questions, let me ask another:

Why would the developers (hereinafter "the perps") even consider dropping the incorporation at this point unless they have been or will shortly be promised VERY significant concessions by the county, most probably in the form of significantly increased density and abandonment of conditions on the grant of that density?

From the perps' point of view, they stand a very good chance of beating Froerer's instant disincorporation bill, and also stand a pretty good chance of prevailing before the Utah Supremes. Even if Froerer's bill passes, there are other problems with instant disincorporation. Accordingly, there is virtually no reason, unless they lose on all these fronts, to drop the incorporation without more. To again place themselves at the mercy of the Ogden Valley Planning Commission without an advance deal that they will get what they want would be suicide. The OVPC has already spoken, and the perps didn't like what they said the first time, so why would the perps do it again, even if just for the three new properties now constituting part of the development? They wouldn't. Notwithstanding the commissioners' proven inclination to ignore the OVPC, they would have a hard time doing so after all this water has gone under the bridge.

My money is on the existence of a really stinky deal that has already been reached, and that the county and the captives (or those of the captives who know about it )don't want to acknowledge for fear of being pilloried by the rest of us for selling out Ogden Valley. Any takers?

It will be interesting to see how the agreement will be presented when it can't be kept under wraps any more.

Jennifer Neil said...

The committee and Senate should still pass the bill .. because if the developer(s) "promise" not to push for incorporation at this time, who Is to say They won't do it in the future -- there still needs to be a contingency plan for the protection or restoration of citizen rights.

TLJ

althepal said...

Froerer's obviously playing it smart. So long as HB 218 still hangs over the developer's head during the current legislative session, there's a lot greater likelihood that the Developer will be conciliatory during negotiations.

If the bill were to immediately go to a Senate vote and be defeated (look at the results in the Senate Committee - this could definitely happen), ALL bargaining leverage would EVAPORATE IMMEDIATELY.

I like the way Froerer's playing it, (given the weak hand he and the Powderville citizens have been otherwise dealt)-- like a good poker player.

frankc said...

Jim Halay just answered my question by discovering SB 269, from that cretin legislator of negotiable loyalties, J. Stuart Adams of Layton. SB 269 proposes that lawsuits may be settled by county officials by means of a development agreement without consultation with or approval by planning commissions.

There you have it. The Legos are in place as soon as Pronaia and ULCT grease the skids, and the Weber County Commissioners can give the perps whatever they want without regard to the hard work and good sense of the Ogden Valley Planning Commission.

Thanks, Stuart; you serve your pimps well.

RudiZink said...

Frank, I emailed Gage earlier this morning about SB 269; and here's his response:

I understand it is dead. We told him we would kill it in the House.
He won't run it.


He also added this in a followup email:

We do pay attention down there, believe or not.

reality said...

You sent an e-mail to an elected representative before noon on a Sunday? In Utah? Regarding policy? And with a question that runs contrary to absolute developer rights?

I can see the Rep sitting in his tightie-whitie underwear, wife getting kids ready for Sunday Indoctrination, and trying to figure out how to type something for the thousandth time with out saying anything at all:

Developers always win in Utah. Always.

Marv said...

Frankc

Planning commissions are only advisory bodies to the governing councils. They can only make recommendations to the commission, or councils, who are the only ones to have the statutory authority to act. So even if this SB 269 did pass I don't see where it would make much difference one way or the other.

I agree with your assessment of the mealy mouthed Adams. He was the hand picked successor to the now Lt. Gov Bell. He represents the GOP leadership in the legislature, not the constituents of Davis County. He was NOT elected by the people, but appointed by the GOP leadership (so called) and blessed by the Davis GOP delegates in a highly rigged show of democracy.

Machster said...

REALTORS
J Stuart Adams
Adams Company
475 N 300 W # 204
Kaysville, UT 84037
(801) 546-6000

Biographical Sketch
J. Stuart Adams

Former Chairman of the Utah State Transportation Commission
Chairman of the Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA)
Served 9 years on the Layton City Council
2002 Business Person of the Year – Utah State Chamber of Commerce
2002 Builder of the Year -- Northern Wasatch Home Builders Association
Past President of the Northern Wasatch Home Builders Association
2004 Legislator of the Year – Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce
2004 Legislator of the Year – International Code Council
2004 Representative of the Year – Davis County Republican Women
2005 Realtor Active in Politics – Utah Association of Realtors
Utah State Senator
Stuart Adams served 4½ years in the Utah State House of Representatives (June 19, 2002-Dec. 31, 2006). He commenced his service in the Senate on September 16, 2009.

Gee.., I wonder if the UAR's decided to put up a Senate Bill to counterbalance Froerer's grandstand bill. And by doing so give Curtis and those legislators funded by the UAR, which is most of the legislature, a Developer's bludgeon for use in the secretive and closed door negotiations.

Dump them all. Dump every candidate who is, was, or is funded by the Realtor Association or Developers.

That is unless you really have enjoyed this Powderville act going on now what a - two year battle for individual private property rights, which the UAR claims as their mantra "To protect individual private property rights". LMAO

Oh and sell your property by owner and never use a UAR person. Kill them by choking off their commissions.

Just vote no to UAR candidates said...

Stuart Adams Phot Album

Go there to see "Governor" Hurbert (past President of the Utah Association of Realtors) signing and appointing another Realtor.

Enjoy people it is your Utah Government that is being heavily infliltrated by more and more Realtor Developers.

If you like that reelect Herbert, Froerer, Greg Bell, J. Stuart Adams, Wayne Neiderhauser, the list goes on and on.

Ray said...

This post from "Numbers" at the Ogden Valley Forum puts it in perspective:


Numbers said...
Well "pay attention to this":

1. Fact: nonelected Governor Herbert, past President of the Utah Ass. of Realtors (UAR).

2. Fact: non elected Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, Realtor Developer, UAR member. Appointed by 1.

3. Fact: non elected J. Stuart Adams, politically active Realtor and Developer. Appointed by 1. & 2.

#3. with no doubt advice and consent of #'s 1. & 2. introduces a bill to off set # 4's (Gage Froerer, past President of the Utah Ass. of Realtors and active politically Realtor & Developer) HB 218 (the quick disincorporation bill). #3.'s Bill would authorize only two people (two of the three County Commissioners or Councils, without any other checks or balances, to make development and real estate deals with developers. Only two (2) people! Think about it...

So #'s 1,2,3, and 4. are all Realtor's who are "politically active". And very likely working together to finesse around the HB 466 (the developer's dream bill) which was slipped beneath the radar of "asleep at the switch legislators" in the last hour of the 2007 session or maybe it was the 2008 session.

The whole enchilada stinks to high heavens of collusion, conspiracy, and racketeering. And now the Powdervillians or "Perks" are "negotiating with the Commissioners" and awaiting the outcome of the new counterbalancing Senate Bill sponsored by the Utah Ass. of Realtors...the same ones who ran Froerer's campaign. And so many others it makes an honest person want to puke through their nose, no longer physically able to hold it.

Hello! Anyone for major Ethics Reforms? Independent and transparent Ethics Commissions?

It is your State. And it is in a very bad state of affairs.

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