Monday, April 18, 2011

An Emerald City Tuesday Evening Council Meeting Heads-up

Godfrey is desperate to say he got something done on the river, but this latest development proposal is a poor last ditch effort and not in the best interests of the city

Editor's Introductory preface: In anticipation of tomorrow night's Emerald City Council work meeting, we're pleased to promote to the front page gentle reader Looks like we’ve been sold down the river again's Thursday comment, which alerts us to some serious and troubling Ogden River Project mission creep, which will be discussed at Tuesday's meeting:

By: Looks like we’ve been sold down the river again

The latest proposal being presented to the city council in the upcoming work session for the river development appears to no longer be a mixed use project with nicely laid out garden lined paths with small parks along the way that follow the meander of the river on one side and small boutique shops and restaurants lining the other side of the path... a show place in the city that would draw locals and non-locals alike to the downtown area and as an excursion for those people that come to Ogden for conventions. This concept has given way to a housing project disguised as a mixed use project.

Here's a link to tomorrow night's council packet, for those WCF readers who'd like to examine the original source documents:
The city council is first being asked to redefine the current language as to what is a mixed use area in the city ordinances. Specifically the current wording for mixed use states that no more than 60% of the area will be allowed to be used in any one specific type of use, such as residential, commercial, office building or retail. This is to ensure the area actually functions as a true mixed use area.

What is being proposed to the city council to change is the language that would define a mixed use area as an area where no more that 60% of any one HOUSING TYPE is used. With this change the river project can be 90+% housing. Defined in the latest river project development proposal as 28 carriage houses, 24cottage houses, 383 townhouses, 283 apartments, 23 (in 9 buildings) live/work residents and 9 mixed use (commercial with residential) buildings. Once the language is changed then the whole area becomes a housing project. Then the council will be asked to approve the river project development agreement and if they do, the whole concept of a true mixed use area within the city that would attract people from all over to enjoy its beauty will have been lost.

Some of the concept drawings show large park areas along the river (being totally surrounded by residential complexes) rather than what most people envision as true mixed use and later in the presentation they show build outs of these same park areas into residential projects as the whole area gets completed.

One has to wonder to with all the effort put into restoring the river back to a natural state in anticipation of a true mixed use setting how the river will fare with the new pressures of some additional 1500 plus people living in close proximity to the river. Council should seriously review the changes being proposed to the mixed use ordinance and council should seriously review the current development proposal to see if a housing project is really what they envisioned for the river project.

In MHO, Godfrey is desperate to say he got something done on the river, but this latest development proposal is a poor last ditch effort and not in the best interests of the city. This is just too valuable an asset to the city to simply turn this area into a housing project.

Editor's Addendum: For those readers who'd like to voice their objections to the administration's desperate proposal to abandon Ogden City's carefully crafted, original mixed use development intent, and to swap it (bait and switch-style) for high density housing project parameters, which will inevitably lead to the "instant ghettoising" of Ogden's River Project Area...

Imagine something like this along the Ogden River. This is what cheap, high density residential rental property looks like:

Here's what cheap and developer-profitable
high density residential housing looks like, People!

Here's your Ogden City Council contact information. Need we say more? AHEM!:
Remember, your Ogden City Council representatives love to hear from you, their constituents, even when you're only writing to gripe.


Jetblue said...

Wait, a couple of years ago didn't you say it was Chris Peterson's carefully crafted mixed use ordinance, written by CP's attorney Tom Ellison? It sounds pretty good as written by Peterson.

RudiZink said...

Nice try, Jetblue. But as you'll recall, the chief contemporaneous objection to the so-called "Ellison ordinance" was that "Ellison's office played a role in drafting an extensive revision to Ogden's Sensitive Area Overlay Zone ordinance. The revision would have removed the current prohibition against building on slopes steeper than 30% within the overlay zone":

Peterson's Attorney Wrote Proposed "MU" Zoning Ordinance

You've raised a red herring which has absolutely nothing to do with the River Project.

Curmudgeon said...

A city planner back in Baton Rouge told me his staff had a term for high-density large scale rental projects like this one may be [I haven't looked at the docs yet in detail]. They called them "instant slums."

Whether that applies to this new River Project proposal I can't say yet. But a change as significant as this, which envisions a project very different from the one previously put before the Council [and just recently rejected] should require a lot of careful thought and information gathering. This is not something to be done with a lick and a promise just to get it done quickly.

Dan S. said...

Actually, Ellison (Peterson's attorney) played a much bigger role in drafting the "MU" ordinance than in the proposed modifications to the sensitive area overlay zone ordinance. In any case, the modifications to the latter were never approved, whereas the MU ordinance was modified and adapted to the River Project. It's a stupid ordinance in many ways, but at least it ended up requiring a true mix of uses. Whether that's a reasonable requirement for the River Project area is another question.

Keir said...

You build cheaper housing in Ogden, and put it over by the river, and in 10 years, you will have a slum.

Mr. Sulu said...

Not in Utah! All u need to do is put a bishop in charge of the block, disperse some boys to collect fast offerings, and the block will look as nice as temple square ogden.
I mean, the Junction Ogden.

isnt this whole section of the usa on the LDS church millenium map as a designated holding area for refugees?
I guess the river area will be for people who are already tagged and papered.

RudiZink said...

LOL, Dan. I didn't say that Ellison's treatment of "proposed modifications to the sensitive area overlay zone ordinance" was Ellison's only problem. All I'm saying is that his focus on extending massive residential densities to the the Mt. Ogden Golf Course property was the major sore point at the time, way back in 2007, for most of us.

Disgusted said...

If we've wanted a housing project we could of had one twelve years ago.

Why spend 4 to 6 million dollars to restore the river back to it's natural state if you just going to introduce that many people to the area. If 1500 people move into the area how many of them will be kids who will live in the river all summer long, even if you say it's off limits. It won't take long to ruin all the hard work and money spent.

I was for developing the river as a mixed use area of town, even tried to buy in on two different pieces of property. I agree with the comment that the river project could be a real draw to the downtown area and an asset to the city when it comes to visitors but not if you're walking through someone's backyard.

Hopefully City Council will slow this down and do it right.

Disgusted said...

City was on the right track to develop the river project as a mixed use area it just got in bed with the wrong developers and during a tough time in the economy. Let wait until the economic environment is better and lets find a better developer to deal with.

One other thought, why do we need a developer for the whole project? Why can't we let the city manage the development? The city could set the over all concept and standards. City could designate specific areas in the project for specific types of property uses, i.e. retail, restaurants, pubs, office, residential, etc. Whole city could have input and then the property could be developed by the land owners. City property could be sold off to individuals that wanted to participate. City could require commitment to build within given time frames with the property sales and specify the general use of the property by basis of the master plan developed by the city.


What will it cost us said...

Maybe the mayor wants a residential building like the LDS built west of the Temple, of course they wanted good married LDS. When they couldn't rent and make any money with empty units they had to open rentals to everyone.

Parks and grassy soccor fields sounds great until they actualy find a competent developer that can use their ouw funds. At least start getting taxes and fines paid by the current owners. Enough fines for weeds and the city can own the whole area.

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