Friday, May 28, 2010

A Couple of Blog Articles Which Might Be of Interest to WCF Readers

Update: The Ogden Sierra Club throws in its own 2¢ regarding the proposed Powder Mount Memorandum of Understanding

As the Utah print media winds down going into the Memorial Day Holiday, there's not much to sink our teeth this morning. However our friends at Ogden Valley Forum have been posting at a pretty good pace over the past couple of days, so we'll take advantage of the current lull in the red meat news to link to a couple of blog articles which might be of interest to WCF readers.

First, for those readers who are planning to attend next Tuesday evening's Weber County Commission meeting, wherein the proposed Powder Mountain Mountain Memorandum of Understanding will be a chief agenda item for public discussion, OVF has some new informational material available, including a link to a fairly robust Weber County Planning Division staff report, which blogmeister Valley aptly refers to as a "26 page masterpiece." Take a side tour over to Ogden Valley Forum to check it out:
Details of the Great Ogden Valley Sellout
And speaking of the Weber County Commission, those of you who are eagerly looking forward to the 2010 County Commission races might want to take a look at this second Larry and Sharon Zini article, which reports on commission candidate Amy Wicks's guest appearance at the Ogden Valley GEM Committee meeting at the Huntsville Town Hall on May 26:
Amy Wicks meets the GEM Committee
As one OVF reader remarked in the OVF article comments section, "What a breath of fresh air. No Real Estate connections, no reference to business as usual. Amy may be the one we are looking for that cares about what happens in the Valley and is willing to stand up for the Valley residents." Needless to say, Ogden Valley citizens are pretty much fed up with real estate developers and their money-grubbing fellow travellers.

That's it for now. Address either of the above topics, or treat this as an open topic thread. We don't care what you say; but do say somethin.' It's been awfully quiet around here lately.

Update 5/29/10 7:20 a.m.: The Ogden Sierra Club throws in its own 2¢ regarding the proposed Powder Mount Memorandum of Understanding, with this letter to the Commission transmitted to us yesterday by regular WCF contributor Dan Schroeder:
Comments on Powder Mountain Draft MOU

11 comments:

use common sense said...

Amy Wicks is in favor of the UEG Ethics petition?

Good enough for me. She has my vote.

I can't wait to hear that fatass Kerry Gibson's take on the subject.

Yes! Every candidate for any Utah office should be asked where they stand on the ethics petition!

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

You wrote: "We don't care what you say; but do say somethin.' It's been awfully quiet around here lately.

OK, if you insist. Took Stupid Dog out on the Birdsong Trail this morning. Sunny and cool. Indian paintbrush blooming on the sagebrush flat half way up. Spectacular views to the north and west. Four springs running along the trail at the moment.

Good day today, or over the three day weekend, to get out and enjoy some of what makes Ogden a good place to live. Can't spend all our time grousing. And this is a good place to live.

If the weather cooperates, take in a Memorial Day weekend service outdoors [SE has a list here] and then bike or walk the River Parkway, or do a picnic by the river. BBQ something good. Play some softball or soccer. But get out for a while. It's a good part of what Ogden's good for.

[Well, Rudi, you said anything....]

Wants Ethical Politicians said...

Common Sense,

It seems that most of the current Legislators (Kerry Gibson is one)don't want an ethics code to keep them in line so that should be an easy vote for Amy Wicks. To be sure, we can check his voting record on ethics reforms that have come before them. We need to make ALL our elected officials accountable for their votes and actions!

Anyone who is involved with real estate or is a realtor needs to be avoided and given the boot. The realtor association has brain-washed them all into being greedy SOBs! Let them go elsewhere, but keep them out of Utah!

Tiny Britches said...

Be careful all when you quote. Amy Wicks said she favored ethics reform but did not mention the petition.

Kerry Gibson has the solid backing of the real estate people in this election. He is part of the same old leadership that has had control for so long.

just me said...

I will not vote for any candidate who doesn't fully endorse the UEG petition. Maybe Amy just needs to needs to clarify her position.

Danny said...

After reading the memorandum of understanding (MOU) nominally negotiated by Commissioner Dearden with Powder Mountain, these things seem clear.

Whatever else he may be, Commissioner Dearden is no negotiator. Mr. Dearden, negotiation is a skill. Never assume you have a skill - that you can do something without training that other people are paid to do.

Any commissioner who votes for the MOU should not be re-elected. It is a deeply flawed document, negotiated by skilled shysters on one hand, and a babe in the woods on the other.

Biker Babe said...

Danny, "things seem clear" --- ??!?!?!

I read that MOU and went WTF was that all about? None of it made sense, the references were vague, bread crumb trails led nowhere -- I could have better Before my Technical Writing course at University!

Rule: consider your audience
Rule: write so your audience gets what is written

What has been done in this case is the document was written to sound like it made perfect sense to a Different Audience, thus leading the general audience to b'lieve the people who actually understand that crap will do the right thing ...

js

BB

Dan S. said...

Yesterday I sent a letter to our County Commissioners regarding the Powder Mountain MOU. I also sent copies to the Standard-Examiner, Rudizink, and Larry & Sharon Zini. Now I see that the Zinis have posted my letter, more or less verbatim, on the Ogden Valley Forum blog:

http://ogden-valley.blogspot.com/2010/05/comments-on-powder-mountain-draft-mou.html

RudiZink said...

Dan Schroeder is mostly right. The process of approving this MOU now, and thus "locking in" developer-friendly provisions in a context where ALL other issues are yet to be resolved before a final "Developer Agreement" is proposed, negotiated or adopted, just ties the hands of Weber County, and further paints Weber County negotiators into a corner.

Unless and until a final Developer's Agreement can be negotiated, this MOU should go down the old shitcan.

Why give up negotiation "chips" when many other issues need to be decided during these proposed subsequnt negotiation, your blogmeister asks?

Why not dump this silly MOU, which actually amounts to no more than a wholly unenforcible "agreement to agree"?

As somebody whose done lots of negotiating between big payers in a variety of real estate projects around the country, I'm wondering why the Weber Commission is so obviously willing (maybe hell-bent)to compromise on this.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that this is an ELECTION YEAR, eh?

My advice to the County Commission? Leave ALL issues on the table, and give this half-assed MOU the great heave-ho which it desrves.

Just a helpful hint from yer old pal Rudi.

RudiZink said...

Dan Schroeder is mostly right. The process of approving this MOU now, and thus "locking in" developer-friendly provisions in a context where ALL other issues are yet to be resolved before a final "Developer Agreement" is proposed, negotiated or adopted, just ties the hands of Weber County, and further paints Weber County negotiators into a corner.

Unless and until a final Developer's Agreement can be negotiated, this MOU should go down the old shitcan.

Why give up negotiation "chips" when many other issues need to be decided during these proposed subseqeunt negotiation, your blogmeister asks?

Why not dump this silly MOU, which actually amounts to no more than a wholly unenforcible "agreement to agree"?

As somebody whose done lots of negotiating between big payers in a variety of real estate projects around the country, I'm wondering why the Weber Commission is so obviously willing (maybe hell-bent)to compromise on this.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that this is an ELECTION YEAR, eh?

My advice to the County Commission? Leave ALL issues on the table, and give this half-assed MOU the great heave-ho which it desrves.

Just a helpful hint from yer old pal Rudi.

David S said...

There are many more issues than the ones that Dan raises. Here is the letter I sent to the commissioners.

Jan Zogmaister replied that an amended MOU would be posted soon. Hopefully it can be posted here, since this is where I check for news. Letter follows.

RE: Powder Mountain Proposed MOU

County Commission Members,

It seems the MOU’s primary intent is to allow the developer to vastly increase the density of housing currently permitted. This would seem to be overwhelmingly at odds with the public’s wishes and best interests.

The issue of road safety is essentially not addressed. The agreement requires the developer to pay somebody a few thousand dollars for a study, instead of installing a road that will cost millions. This is clearly inadequate.

The “Open Land Donation” section is mislabeled. Since the money “donated” by the developer may be used for any purpose, it is really just a payoff to the county for allowing the development. The section should be relabeled “use fees” or some other such name. Then the level of those “fees” can be addressed to see if they are adequate.

The MOU suggests a transfer tax that is currently illegal. This is absurd. If the developer wishes to supply some funding to the county to cover the cost of what they want to do, they should suggest a valid mechanism, not an illegal one.

The agreement allows the developer to unilaterally withdraw from the agreement if Eden Heights is not re-zoned, even though a request for re-zone does not exist and we don’t know what it would look like if it did exist. Why allow a unilateral op-out, based on speculation relating to something that does not even exist?

If the parties cannot agree at some point, the MOU states that the “parties shall use standard and customary terms used in similar developments.” This is an impossibly vague statement that is a hornet’s nest of future litigation. The MOU should define the conditions clearly, not suggest terms that appear to exist in the mind of the developer but which he is not stating clearly here.

Importantly, note that this MOU conveys an immediate re-zone to the developer that vastly increases the value of his property, yet does not require the developer to move forward at all. In effect, the developer is being granted a very valuable financial option for zero premium (i.e. for free), with an unlimited time duration. In other words, the property owner could immediately sell the property, pocket the windfall, and leave county residents with nothing more than a higher-density re-zone awaiting the whims of any future owner 10, 20 or 30 years into the future. Why would you vote for that?

This MOU seems to be little more than an end run around the county planning process. The developer appears to believe that by holding the residents of the new town hostage and attempting to weary you with litigation, they can push you into getting what they want. The document is impossibly vague in many places. What little there is that is spelled out clearly in the document, is totally inadequate. I urge the county to reject this MOU, proceed with its litigation, and keep the existing planning process in place.

David Smith, 5-27-10

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