Ogden Valley issues were the focus of a packed Weber County Commission agenda.
Several residents turned out to let commissioners know they want to preserve the rural atmosphere of the valley.
At three separate public hearings, residents and workers asked commissioners to not allow more rezones for large equipment storage, reconsider allowing internally lighted signs and reject a transportation plan that allows for a possible road through sensitive lands.
Thom Summers, with S&S Excavating in Eden, said he believes the county is unfair to rezone land to allow other businesses more space to store large construction equipment, as no other companies have expressed an interest in buying any of the land currently available for that use.
The definitions of what qualifies as large equipment are ambiguous and may unfairly give an advantage to businesses like landscaping companies that excavate basements and septic tanks, while punishing actual excavating companies, said Steve Clarke, speaking as chairman of the Growth with Excellence Mandate committee.
Clarke said the GEM committee was also concerned about disrupting the valley plan by creating more storage land, when current land was not being fully used.
The commissioners did not end up voting on the issue, instead setting it aside for review.
Other residents opposed allowing internally lighted signs in the valley.
If Ogden Valley wants to become a nice resort area, the signs cheapen the look of the town, said Brandi Hammon, with Mountain Luxury Real Estate.
Clarke, this time speaking as an Eden resident, said there are ways to advertise businesses without allowing the signs, which are not conducive to the rural atmosphere in the valley.
Commissioners still passed an ordinance amendment changing the maximum sign size, but asked planners to look at the possibility of restricting internally lighted signs. The final problem was with a Transportation Master Plan map, which had a potential road marked that, if built, would pass over sensitive lands and historic farmlands.
Although the amendment to the transportation plan was focused on a right of way for Highway 39 through Ogden Canyon, the residents who spoke were more concerned about urbanization by potential roads around towns in the valley.
"Anything that might restrict, confine or define what they could do with it (the farmland) in the future is a step that should not be taken," said Sharon Holmstrom, of Eden.
Hammon said she didn't believe the map was developed well enough to be called a master plan and that she felt it left too much open to the whims of future development.
Eden resident Dan Harris said he did not want the potential road to be on a master plan map because it gave the road too much validity as an option.
Planning Director Rob Scott said he did not understand why people were upset about the road, as it has been on the transportation map for more than 20 years.
He said the term "master plan" is just a change in terminology, and doesn't lend the potential road any more legal weight than under a different name.
The commissioners approved the amendment, but chose to call the map the Ogden Valley Transportation Element map.
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Copyright (C) 2009, Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah