Monday, April 29, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune: Powder Mountain Buyer Riles Eden Residents

Youthful think tank plants headquarters in rural town to some neighbors’ frustration

The Salt Lake Tribune's Cathy McKitrick provides an eye-opening WCF-topical story this morning on the latest dust-up in the never-dull Ogden Valley.  At center stage in this pending flap we find the Summit Series group, the youthful and internet wunderkind investor group, who arrived in the Valley last year with their acquisition of Powder Mountain Resort, amidst considerable public media fanfare. Unlike their Powder Mountain ownership predecessor, Western American Holdings, who'd put Ogden Valley residents through five years of legal grief, with battles raging from Utah Courts, coursing through the State Legislature and pouring into the Weber County Commission chambers, Summit Series had billed itself as environmentally and citizen-friendly, and were thus welcomed by Valley residents more or less with open arms. Despite the fact however that the Summit Series Group has in many ways put its best foot forward to win over the full support of sorely gun-shy Ogden Valley lumpencitizens, that still isn't happening, as Ms. McKitrick reports:
And perhaps troublingly, we learn via a story provided by yet another sharp-eyed Weber County Forum reader, that "annoying-your-neighbor-wise," this ain't exactly Summit Series' "first rodeo":
So what about it folks?  Will Weber County code enforcement officials ultimately succeed in toning down Summit Series' "rock star-style" corporate culture and bring this unorthodox (shall we say?)  ski resort investor and management group's behavior into closer alignment with Ogden Valley's heretofore "udderly" bucolic lifestyle?

Or, in the alternative, will the forces of BIG MONEY and prospects of an increased Weber County property tax base lead our Weber County Commission and code enforcement authorities to turn a blind eye toward Summit Series' Eden Party Mansion, and treat Eden residents such as Eric Sontag as "nosy neighbors with a little too much time on their hands"?

Added bonus questions:

1) Ms. McKitrick reports that "Summit is poised to finalize its Powder Mountain transaction by the end of April and could pay up to $40 million in funds gathered from investors," raising the sodden question of what happens to Weber County's recently approved $22.5 million bonding application in the event that Summit somehow manages to fail in closing its property acquisition escrow?

2) Hello, people.  Are we the only ones who'd been previously led to believe that the Powder Mountain acquisition was already a done deal?

4 comments:

blackrulon said...

Well Weber County has kicked in with taxpayer public funding.

Stringtownn Rd said...

I guess enforcing current single-family residential zoning, and Summit setting some kind of track record for respecting the existing laws of the community (i.e. NOT running a business, entertaining hundreds of investors 24/7 to a home with a septic system with a capacity for only 7 people) doesn't bother other county residents. Never mind Ogden's drinking water. Who has the NIMBI attitude? Let's not forget about this is the road the Valley School children walk down every day with a sudden 3-fold increase in traffic due to Summit's business operations from the house. Maybe reading the full article in the Trib would be enlightening.

Bob Becker said...

I read the full article. Some of the complaints were phrased as "may haves" not certainties ( encroaching on FS land), others flatly denied by the investor ( fence cutting). Entertaining "hundreds of investors twenty-four seven" would be a zoning code violation, but it's at this point merely an allegation, which the local official quoted said had not been established. Looking into it, he said. Hundreds twenty-four seven? Hundreds? That'd be pretty hard to miss. Have the police been calledabout the alleged speeding problem? Any response? Any ticketing? Article doesn't say.

It's the investor's street too. He lives there .

If he's operating the house as a confrence center, the town should stop it, absolutely. But the story has so many allegations being flung at him. as " may haves" and unestablished allegations and the investor has reportedly been so willing to be accommodating about some of the complaints, that at this point, yes, I ' m skeptical that they're all soundly grounded.

And no, given the( now amended) Developers Dream Bill, I don't think you have much hope of stopping the resort's expancion or the concommitant development that will come to the
valley.

Stringtownn Rd said...

There are approximately 15 houses on Stringtown. At the county meeting with each commissioner, which the author of the article attended, the half-dozen residents offered to sign affidavits on the spot to verify the hundreds of people coming to the house each week. Summit had 6 white passenger vans operating at 5 minute intervals from 7am to 2am shuttling out-of-town investors to the house. The code enforcement officer came to verify on her own time these activities. An investigation was opened on the issue. A petition was signed by over 100 people from the valley asking the county to enforce this. Summit does not own this house. While commissioner Bell agreed to monitor speed, no action has yet been taken. Needless to say the residents feel the county has been dragging their feet on this issue.

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