Ogden Valley Incorporation
Brandi Hammon | February 27, 2023
The rumors are flying with the news of the Ogden Valley Incorporation efforts underway. This is a brief overview of the intent, process, sponsors, and where more information is available. Hopefully, this will quell any misinformation and open the door to your participation in the future of the Ogden Valley.
An open house will be held at the Mountain Luxury Lodge at 3632 N Wolf Creek Drive in Eden at 6–8 pm Thursday, February 23rd.
The intent of the incorporation is quite simply to bring local control to the upper valley and implementation of the Ogden Valley General Plan. Presently the valley is under the management of Weber County along with other unincorporated areas of the county spanning west. Commissioners and the planning department are often not residents of the upper valley, although we do presently have one commissioner but have not had local representation for several years. We feel the upper valley is unique and differs from the pressures, attributes, and opportunities found elsewhere in the county.
The process of incorporation began with a Feasibility Petition Submission to the Lieutenant Governor's office including the property to be incorporated. Within the parameters of the Utah Code the attached map is the current proposed incorporation area. Presently, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain are not included but Nordic Valley is. The map may still change as the recent letter sent to property owners would allow boundary property owners to request a withdrawal from the proposed incorporation area. The Lieutenant Governor’s (LG) office will then review the petition which required signatures from owners representing a minimum of 7% of the property value and 10% of the acreage in the proposed area.
Once that is completed, the LG office will verify the signatures on the petition. If approved the state will issue a RFP (request for proposal) to third parties to complete the study. The study is funded by the state. This third party will then complete a socio-economic analysis of the proposed incorporated area. It is expected that this report will be completed by late 2023. The report shall include:
- Budget for Proposed City include ratio of Revenue to Expenses
- Tax Impacts to Property Owners
- Fiscal Impacts to Current Service Providers
Expenses include general government costs including elected officials, administrative and legal fees, recorder, finance, elections (general only), auditor, planning, engineering, police, animal control and shelter, roads and highways and weed department.
The county retains the expenses of the judicial system, jail, fire, elections, library and schools.
Sources of revenue include property tax, sales tax, business licenses, building permits, transient room tax, class B/C road funds, RAMP funds, grants and other federal programs.
Once the study is completed it will be released to the public. Community meetings will be hosted by the feasibility contractor to share results of the study.
If the feasibility study proves that an incorporated city would be financially sound, the residents of the valley could then sign a petition requesting the state/county to add the item to the next election cycle. The community then votes to incorporate or not. The vote will be decided by a simple majority.
If the vote to incorporate is unsuccessful, things would remain as they are. However, if the vote to incorporate is successful, the process will move to the next step. Voters who live within the city boundary will elect the new government and the process to set up the city will begin.
At this time the intent is to incorporate as a city, not a new county. Huntsville Town would remain autonomous as they already incorporated back in 1924. Huntsville Town is in support of the incorporation, see the letter from Mayor Sorenson.
Becoming a city allows for local governance of planning and zoning, collection of taxes/fees and to conduct business. It allows for local control and implementation of the general plan into code as it was intended.
Vested Rights Rule protects that existing development plans remain in effect.
The incorporation of Ogden Valley is sponsored by Mark Ferrin, primary sponsor, Richard Webb, Brandi Hammon, Jeanie Wendell, Shanna Francis, and Nick Dahlkamp.
My personal belief is that Ogden Valley is a special place. It should be well thought out, protected and grow with a designed master plan. I fully support the General Plan and all the effort and input that went into it.
I hope you can join me next Thursday so that myself and the other sponsors can answer any questions you may have regarding this endeavor. Here’s to making the world a better place one small valley at a time.
Further information can be found at Ogden Valley Incorporation on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org. An additional open house will be held at the Huntsville Library on Tuesday, February 28th at 6 pm.
A Letter from the Huntsville, Town Mayor
Huntsville Town and the Ogden Valley Incorporation Effort
A hundred years ago, in 1923, forward-looking Huntsville residents took a valiant stand and voted to incorporate as the Town of a Huntsville. The incorporation was finalized in 1924. With history on their side, those residents were able to look back at some of the mistakes made just a couple of decades earlier.
Huntsville was originally incorporated in 1903, but dissolved just six years later, in 1909, essentially financially insolvent. While we don’t know all the reasons our forefathers chose to reincorporate a hundred years ago, one would guess that rapid growth and property development were not the issue in the years leading up to the depression. However, the desire for a local voice with local governance and decisions, were probably high on the wish list. I believe the petitioners for incorporation share those desires. Funding for a water system was also a key factor of that early reincorporation drive.
Fast forward a hundred years, and our forefathers would not recognize Ogden Valley. Once a Mecca for farming and agriculture, our open spaces are dwindling, as many farmers have been forced to sell. Our landscape has forever changed, and our beautiful valley has been discovered. Despite regular updates over the past year or so in The Ogden Valley News, many Ogden Valley residents were surprised to receive letters recently from the Lieutenant Governor’s office detailing the newly proposed area for incorporation. Some Huntsville residents were left concerned since the incorporation map appeared to include incorporated Huntsville town. I can assure you that Huntsville Town is going nowhere and will remain autonomous.
The town owns property in unincorporated Weber County (green waste/landfill, water plant, etc.), and we also received letters from the Lt. Governor’s office.
Nearly one year ago, the proposed city organizers met with Huntsville Officials to present and discuss their plans. Their first question was, “Would Huntsville like to team up and expand its borders to encompass the entire valley?” Our reply was, “No, but thank you.”
While we liked the idea of local control and representation, we didn’t feel that the Town of Huntsville could adequately provide the services necessary to grow from a small town of 650, to a city of nearly ten times that amount. Our citizens like living in and being part of a small town.
Incorporation organizers have reached out several times over the past year to update us on their progress, and we have appreciated the open dialogue and their desire to coexist. While I personally support their efforts, that is not to say that I don’t have some concerns about our town becoming an “island,” surrounded by another city.
Huntsville has recently updated our annexation plan, which is essentially a wish list of areas and properties we may consider annexing in the future. The new plan includes areas to the north, east, and south of our current boundaries. While there are pros and cons to expanding our borders through annexation, we have chosen to proceed with great caution. As previously mentioned, we are concerned about being able to adequately provide services and water to a larger area.
The newly revised annexation plan may ultimately become a moot point, because if we choose to proceed with annexation, then the expansion would need to be completed prior to the new city’s proposed boundaries being approved and recommended by the Lt. Governor’s office.
I am hopeful that these details will alleviate some of the concerns of our residents.
Richard L Sorensen,
Mayor, The Town of Huntsville