Monday, October 11, 2010

Standard Examiner Editorial: OUR VIEW: Raise 25th Street Height Limits

The historical designation of 25th Street needs to be diligently guarded, no matter what the 25th Street Business Association and the SE editorial board say

By Dorrene Jeske
Ogden City Council Member, 2006-10

Yesterdays Standard-Examiner editorial, “Raise 25th Street height limits” shows how presumptuous and ignorant the SE editorial board is. Grondahl’s cartoon shows how insensitive and ignorant he is of Ogden’s Historic District. Apparently he doesn’t appreciate history or historical buildings, (He should visit colonial sites along the east coast or Europe and it’s centuries-old buildings.) He sounds like Mayor Godfrey when asked what would happen to the recreation center if it wasn’t a success, “In twenty years it will be torn down and something else built.” What a waste! How does anyone get ahead with an attitude like that? How does a city address it’s capitol improvement needs when they are continually making bond payments? MY generation could hardly wait to pay off their mortgages and free up money for their children’s education and missions.

I take issue with some of the Editorial Board’s statements. One of the statements being “frankly, we think they’re (the 25th Street Business Association) “the experts on this matter.” They were talking about buildings meeting the criteria for historical designation. What an asinine statement! The 25th Street Business Association is exactly what they state they are – business people! Their main purpose is to realize a profit on their investment. Usually guidelines by the National Historical Association require strict adherence to using certain building and remodeling materials, staying within the architectural styles of the building, etc. And usually these requirements are more expensive than materials and components found on the market now. Does the editorial board really think that most of these businessmen will follow the guidelines of the Historical Association of their own free will? I hope that Council members will seek the advice of Kirk Huffaker of the Utah Heritage Foundation, as I did during discussions regarding the Windsor Hotel. He is the REAL historical expert with the degrees to prove it.

We saw what happened with the old Windsor Hotel. The owners were businessmen from California and didn’t give a damn if their plans met the strict guidelines for maintaining the historical designation of the hotel or not. Their plans did NOT! They planned to build a penthouse with an all glass front wall. It looked ridiculous and so out of place on top of the old hotel.

I can see the advantageous of adding an additional floor to the old buildings on Historic 25th Street, but some control by the Council and Ogden City Business Development Department need to maintain the right of design approval to make sure that it is congruent with the design of the building. The Landmarks Commission should also have input on decisions, but with the way the Planning Department was able to manipulate them by not giving them all the documentation and guidelines published by the National Historical Association when the Windsor Hotel was asking for approval, casts doubt on the integrity of both the Commission and the Planning Department.

It’s sad that the past history of dealings with the Ogden City Administration under Matt Godfrey’s reign leaves the citizens of Ogden and perhaps some Council members feeling uneasy about the administration’s ability to make ethical decisions. We do have two new directors so we can hope that they aren’t tainted.

Ogden has a jewel in the historical designation of 25th Street! Besides being unique, it also receives federal funds for the maintenance and preservation of the buildings. Those funds can easily be lost if Ogden were to lose the historical designation. That designation needs to be diligently guarded, no matter what the 25th Street Business Association and the SE editorial board say.

We are well aware that anyone who does not go along with the Mayor and the SE are called “naysayers.” It’s easy and childish to use name calling to intimidate others and it should be considered with a grain of salt and consideration given to the author/s and their point of view. Especially when they don’t have the facts or know of which they speak.

18 comments:

Ralph Betterman said...

Mrs. Jeske while I do not agree that the height limit needs to be raised when there is no project forthcoming, I have to say you are absolutely clueless regarding historic districts. Thank goodness you are no longer on the council. Have you ever traveled in your life? Have you ever seen a real historic district? Sheesh. Give it up, woman.

Curmudgeon said...

RB asked Ms. Jeske "Have you ever seen a real historic district?"

Is he implying that Ogden's Historic 25th Street is not "a real historic district"? Seems to be.

I'd also note that his reply to Ms. Jeske offers no evidence to support his claim that she's wrong on this matter and ill-informed. Just more of the usual "Is too! Is too! Is too!" playground-style argument we have gotten all too often from the advocates for the change.

Curmudgeon said...

Dorrene:

I think you're wrong about Mr. Grondhal's cartoon. I certainly didn't read it as a plug for raising the height limits. In fact, seemed to me to be, if anything, a tongue-in-cheek comic dig leaning the other way. I doubt very much that he's either insensitive or ignorant about Ogden's downtown historic district.

Much of the rest of your post was, I thought, on target, but you need to cut Cal a little slack.

Dan S. said...

I think Cal takes pride in being insensitive, though not completely ignorant, about most things! He's a genius and a treasure, and the S-E is lucky to have him.

Danny said...

Steve Conlin is a hack and a fraud.

Since he never substantiates anything HE says, he will not mind if I do not do so either.

The Standard Examiner is on the take to Godfrey.

(Same argument.)

Oh hey, how about the SE wait until AFTER the facts to make its decision, rather than doing it BEFOREHAND as they are doing here. Unless, they are on the take . . .

Nice to hear from Dorrene, Ogden City Council Member, 2006-10, 2012-2016.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Raising the height limits, with adequate review by interested parties, is a good idea.

Curmudgeon said...

SMC:

OK. Why? And what will be accomplished by a blanket raising of the height limits that could not be as well accomplished by a project by project consideration, since as you note each project will have to undergo review by "interested parties" [which would include who?] anyway?

I'd note, for example, that no variance was requested for the Windsor project, and that there were more evidently than enough votes on the then Council to approve a variance for that building if one had been requested. Instead, the proposal that came to the Council was for a blanket raising of the height limit over the whole district --- and that's where the problems developed.

So, since no proposal for an actual project is now pending, I wonder [along with Councilman Stephens] why the wholesale change has been proposed yet again, and whether it might not be more efficient and less divisive to consider applications to exceed the limit project by project --- as was not, for some reason, done with the Windsor project.

Be interested to hear your take on this.

Dorrene Jeske said...

I guess I'm a little sensitive where Historic 25th St. is concerned. His cartoon just hit me the wrong way, because you can't rebuild "historic" buildings. I have been to Tokyo and visited some of their shrines and old castles which were built to last and are centuries old. I have also seen how some of their homes and some buildings were not built to last. But their engineering skill in dealing with numerous earthquakes is superb.

Historic 25th St. is a real jewel now, and those who have worked so hard to restore and make it the success that it is, should be acknowledged by involving them in all decisions to make drastic changes to it that could hinder the historic designation. I know that some of those pushing for the height increase are from out-of-state and here to make a fast buck at our expense.

The person who wrote the first comment dazzled us with his vast knowledge and ability to express himself that he really does not merit a response.

Danny, I appreciate your confidence in me and your support, but I am not having the success with my back that I thought I would,and right now I just couldn't take on the responsibilities of a council member again. But I am still trying to stay involved because I care about Ogden and what happens to her and her residents. I have another project going that I could sure use your help and support with. If you could write me or let me know how to communicate with you besides the blog or call from a pay phone so that we can talk, I'd appreciate it. There has been quite a bit of interest and people who have said they'd help.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Each morning, as I rise in my slippers to pick up the Times from my 25th street porch, I look at my neighbors buildings on my street.
I like life downtown.
That is pretty much my interest in this; not much. Residential property owner on lower two five.
My opinion is soley based on what I think would look good, to me, what I would like to see.

I would like to see two quite taller, really narrow brick turn of the last century-appearing residential buildings, one right on the north-side of the west end - in the empty lot next to old Angelos.
It would look great.

The other, or course, next to the Kokomo.

I would think that city code and historical whoo ha would allow someone to develop those lots in this reasonable manner.

It would look nice. It would look historic.

BAT_girl said...

OFF subject, but the SL TRIBUNE has been running some very interesting articles which are getting lots of national attention:

Packer talk jibes with LDS stance after tweak (1427 comments)
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50440474-76/packer-church-question-speech.html.csp

LDS Facebook campaign: Support Packer (911 comments)
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50448737-76/packer-event-100000-hannemann.html.csp

Apostle’s speech on gays changed on LDS website (831 comments so far)
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50440474-76/packer-church-question-speech.html.csp

Mormon apostle’s words about gays spark protest (1499 comments so far)
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50434583-76/gay-church-packer-protest.html.csp

Apostle: Same-sex attraction can change (3,724 comments so far)
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/50404210-78/church-lds-sex-packer.html.csp

The younger generation is hanging out on FB (no surprise) here:

WE LOVE YOU – President Boyd K. Packer / FB group, open to the public (13,440 followers)
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=157010880987998

Curmudgeon said...

SMC:

Neither of which projects required a district-wide changing of the height limits; both of which projects, should anyone propose to take them on, which no one has, could be granted a variance, as the Windsor project could have been, had one been proposed to the Council, which it was not.

Moroni McConkie said...

Every time Mr. Cook calls himself an "owner" on 25th Street, I scratch my head. The Hattinghs are listed as owners of his address.

googlegirl said...

Weber County Parcel Search

Stephen Cook said...

The Johnsons are listed on the Port Orchard property, and the Porter family, the Eugene lot. The Utley name is on the Sevier County scrub, Gardener in Brevard, FL.
I rent a small home in Logan, Utah, and the keys to another in Moab.
I have no idea who owns my automobiles; my watercraft, likewise, if even still existent.
I never lived at 125 25th street; and have not had real employment in over a decade.

I do not own anything.

Ozboy said...

Can anyone enlighten me as to just who it is that Mr. Conlin speaks for. I know it's the 25th Biz Association, but who exactly are they. Do they represent and speak for all the owners and merchants on two bit? Do they do that for the majority? Are there other owners and merchants on the street who are not represent by Mr. Conlin, or who opposes the 25th Biz group in anyway?

Who exactly are the "stakeholders" and where do they all stand on the issue?

Personally, and coming from a bias toward historical preservation, I am not opposed to the higher building restrictions if they are done with sensitivity toward the surrounding buildings and street. I think the discussion is only for one more floor, which I can't see as being out of line on the face of it. Something about Devils & Details seems to apply here.

It is great to read that Dorrene is back throwing a few well aimed, and much needed, punches at the fools who rules here in the magical land of Oz! Ogden needs all the keen sighted people of integrity and knowledge we can get to point out the skinny little naked ass of the Emperor who ain't got no clothes on!

AWM said...

Doreene, there is NO OTHER reason to raise a building by a floor accept for MONEY. SMC and Curm have a point. If done on a case by case basis what's the big deal of adding a floor? I'm willing to bet most of the folks frequenting 25th have only minimal knowledge of its history. They park their just detailed Land-Rovers with oval 26.2 and RAGNAR stickers in front of Roosters, pop in for a Hefe, send off 10 or so texts @ the bar to their business associates, and then head home to their 5,500 Sq foot houses. @ best, most folks going to the eaterys on 25th prefer their history somewhat Faux or Lite. Want a really historic atmosphere that's not watered down by Yuppy brew-pubs? Go to Phillipsburg Montana and get a real sense of "historic". For starters, Rust is the domainant color of local vehicals and asking for anything "Latte" or gluten free is liable to get you pistol whipped. Now THAT's Historic!

Curmudgeon said...

Oz:

The Association does not represent all 25th Street merchants, but it does represent many of them. If you have the coupon the city distributed free for the association's merchants in the utility bills, you'll find the member merchants listed on it I think. Snow Basin is included, I think, so the definition of Historic 25th Street may be a fairly liberal one.

Mr. Patterson told me, on the moving the buses matter, that a majority of the merchants in the association voted for it. What the vote was I don't know. But the Association, again, does not include all merchants in the Historic district.

And the merchants who are in it have every right to promote whatever changes they think will improve their businesses. What concerns me is the way the Association seems to get whatever it wants from the City Hall [including privileges not extended to non-Association merchants, like the free coupon ads delivered on the city's dime to every house therein]. And the way the SE stated that it thinks the Association is the "expert" on zoning questions involving the Historic District.

They've done good things. The Street has been spruced up.They are consistent sponsors of some pretty good downtown events and festivals. It's the assumption that seems to prevail at City Hall that what the Association thinks is good for its merchants is necessarily good for Ogden that's troubling. Sometimes I'd agree it is. But other times, not.

Curmudgeon said...

Off topic, but amid all the grousin' and complain' and such like, I thought I'd post some unalloyed good news: they got the first of the 33 trapped miners out. He's on the surface. Damn that's good news.

Ok. Back to grousin' and complain' now.

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