Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Open Space Plan Up For Final Approval

Document is packed with good but vague wishes.

By Dan Schroeder

Immediately after tonight’s important RDA Board meeting, the city council will meet as the city council to consider final approval of a new Open Space and Recreation Plan.

The council announced its intent to create this Plan nearly two years ago, and some of us spent endless hours in meetings during late 2009 and early 2010. The plan was then drafted by the Planning Department staff, approved by the Planning Commission, and modified by the City Council in preparation for tonight’s final adoption.

Interested citizens will want to download and review the Plan. As usual, you can get the full agenda packet from the city council web site. For an abridged version that includes the Open Space and Recreation Plan but not the other agenda items, click here.

As is typical with such documents, the Plan is full of good wishes, expressed in language that is mostly too vague to have any teeth. Does it offer any real protection against unwanted development of our precious parks and open spaces? The lawyers would have to argue over that.

Fortunately, the Plan isn’t the only mechanism by which the council can protect open space. The council has also expressed its intent to rezone all of Ogden’s existing parks to prohibit any residential or commercial development. Then even if the administration tried to sell park land for development, the buyer would have no vested right to build on it (unless a future city council changes the zoning again). According to council chair Caitlin Gochnour, the Planning Department has promised to draft the rezone ordinance within 90 days.

Another awkward aspect of the new Plan is that it would completely replace the existing Parks and Recreation chapter of Ogden’s General Plan. For the most part this replacement is appropriate because the subject matter would be redundant. However, the existing Parks and Recreation chapter also includes detailed discussions of city recreation programs and developed recreation facilities such as the Lorin Farr Pool and the Marshal White Center. It is troubling that the council apparently intends to remove all reference to these programs and facilities from the General Plan.


Ozboy said...

Dan, you are truly an Ogden jewel.  There is just sooooo much that us hoi polloi would never hear about if it were not for your great and selfless efforts on behalf of Ogden's citizens.   Thank you so much, I just wish the planets were aligned in such a way that you would become mayor!  

In your above article one thing you said really stuck out to me -

"unless a future city council changes the zoning again"

That is a real bingo and points out why, even in those times when the city has an honest and capable gummint, it is ever so important for the citizens to not get complacent at election time.   Evil forces from the dark side - ie Godfreyites - can always sneak in when the collective guard is down, take control and drive the ship of state onto the shoals of financial ruin.

Blame Shreve said...

Dan is the Man, protector of land, rights and ethics. Unfortunately it seems in Ogden for every Dan S. there are two Blain Johnsons! Look around, they're not difficult to spot. Hopefully they all feel the consequences of their actions and do just what John Patterson, GET OUTTA DODGE! (Dodge uses all the letters of Ogden! haha, close?)

Dan S. said...

I see now on the council documents page that the open space plan approval was tabled until August 2. Haven't had a chance to ask anyone why, but I'd guess it's because of the last point made in my article: They may want to put something about recreational programs and developed facilities back into the plan.

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