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  #21  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2006, 12:18 AM
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I am so Jazzzzzzzed, MORE PHOTO'S,

Man, I've got to get my butt up to Ogden,and see this stuff for myself.
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  #22  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2006, 12:18 AM
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/\ wow, I knew it was a big project, I didn't know it was that big. Congrats to Ogden.
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  #23  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2006, 12:24 AM
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Work on the i-15

On our way up to ogden there is a big project going on at I-15. Looks like some upgrades are taking place as well as maybe adding a few more lines...













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  #24  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2006, 4:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delts145
Ski82,

I'm not sold either way yet on the gondola. But all those businesses that are ski and sport's and tourist related are banking on it. It will be like making downtown Ogden a main street Park City or Whistler/Blackcomb, only alot bigger. They are anticipating thousands of tourists being carried right from the curb of a vibrant downtown Ogden to the mountain tops, and back down again. Without the gondola, all those world-class plans for Ogden will not happen even close to the level hoped for.


Hmmmmm, I think I just sold myself on the gondola's
I think it is asking too much for people to ride a Gondola from downtown to a resort (in an area that has poor exposure for a ski resort). The ride would be long...very long. And lets be honost, it's not like the bulk of the ride would be through the mountains but rather up a residential street then down Harrison Blvd to Weber State, then up to the resort. To Weber would be 3.5-4 Miles alone. Bottom line, its probably a hour long ride. You can drive to Snowbasin in under 30 min. This is another common misconception, there are no plans to take the gondola to Snowbasin, just to the new resort.

The other thing that makes me upset is the mayor promoting the use of the gondola as mass transit. That just doen't make any sense. The option UTA prefers is streetcars, but the mayor would rather have his gondola.

As for the companies that have moved to Ogden, I doubt many of them put much weight in a plan that is so contriversial and far away from being started.

I don't want to sound like a NIMBY, but I just don't think it makes sense.

As for the pictures... I really need to go check out the mall site over the hollidays. Looking good. I would encourage everyone to make it up to Ogden for a visit. Really a great downtown. 25th St is like Main St in PC without the prices. For a good meal and brew, head to Roosters. There was a good comedy club when I lived in town, too. If you really want to see Ogden's potential, head a few blocks east and you will find some great residential architecture. Some are pretty run down, you can see what can, and will be.
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  #25  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2006, 5:16 AM
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Exclamation An interesting and important read to consider.

ski82, The points made here would seem to strongly disagree with your concerns. Let's research the existing gondola's in the Alps and Dolomites. I think there might be some European example's which have worked well. It would be good to get a perspective from cities which have used this mode for many years now. Kind of like the new tunnel at Snowbird. It's a new and exotic project for North America, but a long proven mode in Europe. Infact, I think we should write in to the Mayor's office asking for existing set-ups that prove their points. Hmmmm, see how they respond.




Ogden's Proposed Gondola/Resort

The news of a proposed gondola/resort project is generating a lot of interest throughout our community. In an effort to provide answers and facts, we are including the most frequently asked questions about the project and answers to those questions.




OGDEN’S PROPOSED GONDOLA/RESORT

The proposed gondola/resort project is generating much interest throughout our community, and unfortunately a lot of misinformation is being circulated. In an effort to provide answers and facts, listed below are the most frequently asked questions about the project and answers to those questions.

1. What will happen to our trails and access?

Trails will remain open to the public. In fact, the resort will create more trails and access for the community than exists today. Some foothill trails would be relocated on a dedicated trail through the redesigned golf course.

2. Will roads be constructed up the mountain or in Malan’s Basin?

Chris Peterson, owner of Malan’s Basin, and Ogden City are working on making this a roadless project, even for construction. The use of a construction tram may make this concept feasible.

3. Will Mt. Ogden Golf Course remain available to the public and will fees be prohibitive?

The golf course will remain open to the public and the green fees for Ogden residents will remain in the same range that they are today.

4. Will the parks be preserved, hurt or improved?

The parks will be preserved and improved. There have been many improvements needed at Mt. Ogden Park and Marquardt Park that can now be completed as part of this project. There is some City-owned land east of the golf course that will be included in the golf course sale.

5. What are the benefits for the average person in Ogden?

More trails and improvements to existing trails—1,200 new jobs--$5 million in new annual property tax revenue—more shopping downtown—transit between commuter rail and WSU (less cars on Harrison)—greatly improved Mt. Ogden Golf Course with a locals’ discount to keep green fees in the same area they are today—eliminate losses to golf course ($320,000/year) and greatly reduce, if not eliminate, Conference Center losses (almost $1 million/year)—new recreational opportunities with discounts for Ogden residents.

6. Do the plans include the gondola connecting to Snowbasin?

The plans do involve a leg of the gondola that would go to the top of the mountain, which would allow skiers with a Snowbasin lift ticket to enter Snowbasin. That leg will require an environmental study by the Forest Service to approve, while the rest of the project can be built on private property without Forest Service approval.

7. How will winds affect the gondola?

Gondolas can operate in winds up to 35 miles per hour. Winds in Ogden City are rarely above 35 mph. On the mountain, winds above 35 mph will occasionally cause the gondola to be closed, but few customers should be inconvenienced by these closures because demand for skiing and sightseeing is low on very windy days.

8. Will the gondola be air-conditioned?

They can be if needed, but lift manufacturers, after reviewing our temperature data, don’t believe it will be necessary because they generate a wind of approximately 15mph that will cool the cabins sufficiently in our arid climate.

9. Will neighborhood privacy be protected with the gondola across the city?

The current plans have the gondola averaging 40 feet above ground level. From that height, riders will be looking at trees and rooftops. We have pictures that show what the view is like along the route from that height.

10. What are the advantages and disadvantages for Weber State University?

Advantages: This will make Weber the only university in the world that is connected to a ski resort. Students and faculty could literally ski between classes. They will receive international exposure as a result. This could easily bring 1,000 new students from out of state, which would bring more than $9 million per year of new revenue from tuition.

It also provides additional money that can be used to complete the university’s master plan. The old McKay-Dee property could be purchased with this money and parking garages could be constructed on campus to provide more parking and allow for some existing parking to be used for new buildings.

Disadvantages: Weber will receive international exposure and that could change the “commuter college” reputation. Students and faculty could ski between classes (worse grades perhaps!).

11. Will construction of the gondola require a strip swath of bare ground up the mountain?

The visual impact of the gondola will be minimal. There will certainly need to be some things cleared along the way, but new technology allows for a much more discrete construction.

12. Could a gondola across town coexist with the current bus system or a streetcar, which might be constructed in 15-20 years? What advantage would the gondola have over a streetcar system?

Yes, the gondola could easily coexist with a streetcar or bus technology. The advantages of the gondola are that it doesn’t take a lane of traffic in each direction (cars can travel over the tracks, but the streetcar’s average speed is only 20 mph), its total travel time is faster and it costs about one-fourth as much to build. The people of Ogden would have to come up with $50 million for a streetcar and the Federal government would have to be willing to pay for the other $50 million.

13. Are there other business people considering further investment if the project moves forward?

The city is receiving visits weekly from people who are going to invest in Ogden if this project moves forward. They will bring jobs, retail shopping and recreation to our community.

14. What is the total potential investment?

This project will easily surpass a half-billion dollars when completed. This does not include the investment that will be made by others as a result of this project.

15. What effect is the “ski hub” concept having on economic development in our community?

Already six ski companies have announced their move to Ogden. A seventh will announce in April. Investors are coming from all over the country to look at downtown for potential properties.

16. Who benefits from these investments?

Everyone will benefit. Even if you don’t ride the gondola, ski, hike, mountain bike, rock climb or anything else that will be offered, you will benefit from the tax money that will come in (most of which will go to our schools). Everyone will also benefit from the additional retail shopping that will come to downtown. The 1,200 new jobs that will come will be of benefit to those of low income as well as college graduates, looking to stay in Ogden. The economic prosperity of our community is the proverbial rising tide that will lift all boats.

17. Why have the cross-city gondola go down streets including Harrison Blvd.?

It is the most cost-effective route and provides the least interruption to the community while serving the transit needs it’s designed to achieve.

18. What about drainage and flood concerns relative to the Malan’s Basin changes?

There will be careful environmental engineering as part of this project to assure there is no adverse flooding affect.

19. What is the difference between a tram and a gondola?

A tram has two big cabins that travel in opposite directions along the same cable loop. They only travel every 20 minutes or so. The gondola is a much smaller 8-passenger cabin that is about 30 seconds apart. They can carry far more people per hour and offer a much better traveling experience, since you can get on the gondola with only those you are traveling with.

20. How will the gondolas be paid for and maintained?

The gondola will be operated and maintained by Chris Peterson.

21. Will restrictive covenants relative to the building on the property be followed?

There will be very strict guidelines governing the development of this project to assure it is attractive and fits in well with the natural environment.

22. Will the gondolas be accessible to the disabled?

Yes, it will be fully ADA compliant.

23. What will be the cost to the riders of the gondolas?

Right now, the goal is to have the downtown gondola be in the same price range as a UTA bus pass. The mountain pass will probably be in the $10-$15 range for one-time use. There will be seasonal passes and local passes at significant discounts.

24. Are there any environmental benefits to the proposed plan?

There are many environmental benefits to the plan including less carbon monoxide in the air as a result of the downtown gondola. It provides the ability for Snowbasin patrons to use the gondola and not drive to the resort. If this happens with just 10 percent of their customers, it will reduce acres of parking, as well as eliminating approximately 15,000 pounds of emissions in the air per year.





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Last edited by delts145; Oct 22, 2006 at 1:27 PM.
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  #26  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2006, 1:59 PM
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Big Aerial/Gondola development or not? Let's call Ed!

Things to consider when planning your sking vacation:

how to find or contact us:

For more information on skiing anywhere in the world, or to book -

- send me an e-mail at info@sailski.com or fax to 905 842 7203

- or give me a call toll free 1-888-775-2581


If you're thinking about a skiing holiday, whether it's for a family ski vacation, a ski trip for two or just yourself, flying, driving or other means of getting there (even a day or side trip when you're away on business), we'd be happy to help you plan your trips. Our travel agency, Ultimate Destinations travel agency specializes in ski vacations.

As a ski writer with more than 50 years of skiing experience, Ed Pollock has personally visited and skied at many, if not most of the major ski areas in the Alps, eastern & western Canada and the U.S. including Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New York, Utah, Vermont, Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

Ed not only can help you select the ski area with the slopes, accommodation and ambience you are looking for, but can also help you get the best value to enjoy the best experience for your ski holidays' dollar.

There are so many things to consider, selecting the right ski package isn't easy. What makes it even more difficult is trying to find out what the different ski packages include, in order to figure out the total cost of the ski trip , , ,

ski pass? -- none, 3, 4, 5, or 6 days? -- for one small area or many big areas?

number of runs? -- novice, intermediate & expert?

type & number of lifts? -- altitude, verticals & lengths?

snowmaking? -- night skiing? -- grooming?

ski equipment rentals?

hotel?-- 4, 5, 6 or 7 nights? -- 2, 3, 4 or 5 star?

location? town, village or boondocks? -- character (modern, traditional or blah)?

single supplement (if alone)?

escort? -- ski area guide? -- instruction?

meals -- none, continental breakfasts, buffet breakfasts, dinners?

times? -- mid-week or week-end travel? -- flight times, both going & returning?

transfers? -- to and from airport and around ski area or car rental?

apres-ski? -- for some people, this is as important as the skiing.


Ask Ed for the answers. If he can't tell you off-hand, he can find out for you.

Some of the very best places to ski:

In EUROPE, many if not most of the ski areas, hotels, restaurants and shops are owned and staffed by local people. Most of the families have owned the property and lived there for many, many years. They are genuine local people who like and depend on visitors and want them to return again, year after year. Visitors are treated as guests. (Unlike in North America, where most major ski resorts are owned by corporations with itinerant skier employees.)

Major ski areas in the Alps have longer runs with greater vertical height than North American, with more snowmaking, better grooming and far more aerial trams, cable-cars, and gondola lifts.

Last edited by delts145; Oct 23, 2006 at 2:08 PM.
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  #27  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2006, 4:33 PM
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Thanks for the pics, Lee -- you're awesome!!! Since I've moved away I can't take pics, but I will continue to follow Ogden news and post interesting tidbits in this thread. It would be fantastic if you or another forumer could get up there once in a while to take pics so that expatriates from the Republic of Utah like myself and ski82 can follow the progress visually. I agree that Ogden has a lot of good, old architecture. Next time you're up that direction, check out 25th Street, Union Station, St. Joseph's Cathedral, and Adams Avenue (they've restored some historic mansions and resurrected the historic trolley tracks along a couple blocks east of down town). Thanks again, and keep up the good work!
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  #28  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2006, 11:51 PM
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OGDEN’S PROPOSED GONDOLA/RESORT

The proposed gondola/resort project is generating much interest throughout our community, and unfortunately a lot of misinformation is being circulated. In an effort to provide answers and facts, listed below are the most frequently asked questions about the project and answers to those questions.

1. What will happen to our trails and access?

Trails will remain open to the public. In fact, the resort will create more trails and access for the community than exists today. Some foothill trails would be relocated on a dedicated trail through the redesigned golf course.

Trails through golf courses are just what the Ogden residents need. Currently, those trails go through undisturbed foothills.

2. Will roads be constructed up the mountain or in Malan’s Basin?

Chris Peterson, owner of Malan’s Basin, and Ogden City are working on making this a roadless project, even for construction. The use of a construction tram may make this concept feasible.

I still don’t understand how they are going to ignore fire codes, or heard their plan on doing so. Or maybe we could have sweet new firefighting gondolas

3. Will Mt. Ogden Golf Course remain available to the public and will fees be prohibitive?

The golf course will remain open to the public and the green fees for Ogden residents will remain in the same range that they are today.


4. Will the parks be preserved, hurt or improved?

The parks will be preserved and improved. There have been many improvements needed at Mt. Ogden Park and Marquardt Park that can now be completed as part of this project. There is some City-owned land east of the golf course that will be included in the golf course sale.

I don’t know enough on this particular matter to comment. Who owns what land, etc.

5. What are the benefits for the average person in Ogden?

More trails and improvements to existing trails—1,200 new jobs--$5 million in new annual property tax revenue—more shopping downtown—transit between commuter rail and WSU (less cars on Harrison)—greatly improved Mt. Ogden Golf Course with a locals’ discount to keep green fees in the same area they are today—eliminate losses to golf course ($320,000/year) and greatly reduce, if not eliminate, Conference Center losses (almost $1 million/year)—new recreational opportunities with discounts for Ogden residents.

So it sounds like all the tax revenue is coming from the sale and redevelopment of the golf course (which I don’t have as much a problem with). Why is this a package deal? Why not sale the course and build a streetcar with the proceeds? Clearly, the mayor is selling an ‘if A, then B’ proposal when A and B are completely different issues.

6. Do the plans include the gondola connecting to Snowbasin?

The plans do involve a leg of the gondola that would go to the top of the mountain, which would allow skiers with a Snowbasin lift ticket to enter Snowbasin. That leg will require an environmental study by the Forest Service to approve, while the rest of the project can be built on private property without Forest Service approval.

I am planning on being a billionaire one day too. Not much merit here. It is easy to say they have plans to grow even more support. Snowbasin has said they want nothing to do with this project and Peterson is Earl Holding son-in-law…kinda makes things more sketchy and raises more questions.

7. How will winds affect the gondola?

Gondolas can operate in winds up to 35 miles per hour. Winds in Ogden City are rarely above 35 mph. On the mountain, winds above 35 mph will occasionally cause the gondola to be closed, but few customers should be inconvenienced by these closures because demand for skiing and sightseeing is low on very windy days.

1: Windy days are very common on Mt. Ogden, esp in the winter.
2: Windy days mean lost revenue
3: What about skiers who go up and get stranded on the mountain due to wind.


8. Will the gondola be air-conditioned?

They can be if needed, but lift manufacturers, after reviewing our temperature data, don’t believe it will be necessary because they generate a wind of approximately 15mph that will cool the cabins sufficiently in our arid climate.


9. Will neighborhood privacy be protected with the gondola across the city?

The current plans have the gondola averaging 40 feet above ground level. From that height, riders will be looking at trees and rooftops. We have pictures that show what the view is like along the route from that height.

No concern…and I admit, it would be kinda cool to have a gondola going through a neighborhood

10. What are the advantages and disadvantages for Weber State University?

Advantages: This will make Weber the only university in the world that is connected to a ski resort. Students and faculty could literally ski between classes. They will receive international exposure as a result. This could easily bring 1,000 new students from out of state, which would bring more than $9 million per year of new revenue from tuition.

It also provides additional money that can be used to complete the university’s master plan. The old McKay-Dee property could be purchased with this money and parking garages could be constructed on campus to provide more parking and allow for some existing parking to be used for new buildings.

Disadvantages: Weber will receive international exposure and that could change the “commuter college” reputation. Students and faculty could ski between classes (worse grades perhaps!).

I love the disadvantages…how could you live with that? Lol. This is the best part about the project is that it puts WSU on the map, and it would suddenly become a “cool” school for many coming from out of state.

11. Will construction of the gondola require a strip swath of bare ground up the mountain?

The visual impact of the gondola will be minimal. There will certainly need to be some things cleared along the way, but new technology allows for a much more discrete construction.

Don’t know enough about the sightlines to comment. I do know, however that the are building it over the waterfall in Waterfall Canyon, one of the city’s most unique aspects.

12. Could a gondola across town coexist with the current bus system or a streetcar, which might be constructed in 15-20 years? What advantage would the gondola have over a streetcar system?

Yes, the gondola could easily coexist with a streetcar or bus technology. The advantages of the gondola are that it doesn’t take a lane of traffic in each direction (cars can travel over the tracks, but the streetcar’s average speed is only 20 mph), its total travel time is faster and it costs about one-fourth as much to build. The people of Ogden would have to come up with $50 million for a streetcar and the Federal government would have to be willing to pay for the other $50 million.

A gondola is not mass transit. You would have no stops between downtown and Weber (maybe one). A gondola would coexist but in no way compliment the other systems. I had previously heard that the cost of the streetcar was twice that of the gondola. If that is the case, sell the golf course (50 mil) and get the federal grants (50 mil). Weird how the gondola wont be able to get grants... maybe because its not viable transportation.

13. Are there other business people considering further investment if the project moves forward?

These businesses are already coming to the city…and most the employees, once the move to Ogden and see the outdoor opportunities on the bench, they are probably against the gondola.

14. What is the total potential investment?

This project will easily surpass a half-billion dollars when completed. This does not include the investment that will be made by others as a result of this project.

15. What effect is the “ski hub” concept having on economic development in our community?

Already six ski companies have announced their move to Ogden. A seventh will announce in April. Investors are coming from all over the country to look at downtown for potential properties.

Again, none of the companies that have come to Ogden or have announced coming to Ogden took much if any weight in a very contraversial plan and one that isn't even close to being started.


16. Who benefits from these investments?

Everyone will benefit. Even if you don’t ride the gondola, ski, hike, mountain bike, rock climb or anything else that will be offered, you will benefit from the tax money that will come in (most of which will go to our schools). Everyone will also benefit from the additional retail shopping that will come to downtown. The 1,200 new jobs that will come will be of benefit to those of low income as well as college graduates, looking to stay in Ogden. The economic prosperity of our community is the proverbial rising tide that will lift all boats.

17. Why have the cross-city gondola go down streets including Harrison Blvd.?

It is the most cost-effective route and provides the least interruption to the community while serving the transit needs it’s designed to achieve.

Streetcars = transit, not gondola. Just imagine a successful streetcar in Ogden. The press Ogden would get for something like that in a city its size. Can you say trend setter?

18. What about drainage and flood concerns relative to the Malan’s Basin changes?

There will be careful environmental engineering as part of this project to assure there is no adverse flooding affect.

This makes it sound like environmental studies are a minor part of any project, including ones built on the middle of an undeveloped mountain (including the SB leg). But hey, if they get to that point and get by it, all the power to them. Has anyone else ever been hiking up around Malan’s? Not much buildable area up there.

19. What is the difference between a tram and a gondola?

A tram has two big cabins that travel in opposite directions along the same cable loop. They only travel every 20 minutes or so. The gondola is a much smaller 8-passenger cabin that is about 30 seconds apart. They can carry far more people per hour and offer a much better traveling experience, since you can get on the gondola with only those you are traveling with.

20. How will the gondolas be paid for and maintained?

The gondola will be operated and maintained by Chris Peterson.

So wait, Peterson is buying the golf course, Ogden is going to use the money to build the lift, but Peterson operates and maintains it?

21. Will restrictive covenants relative to the building on the property be followed?

There will be very strict guidelines governing the development of this project to assure it is attractive and fits in well with the natural environment.

22. Will the gondolas be accessible to the disabled?

Yes, it will be fully ADA compliant.

23. What will be the cost to the riders of the gondolas?

Right now, the goal is to have the downtown gondola be in the same price range as a UTA bus pass. The mountain pass will probably be in the $10-$15 range for one-time use. There will be seasonal passes and local passes at significant discounts.

So your telling me a family of 4 would take the lift for $40-60 above driving to the mountain and back for $10 gas and half the time? The only people I know who can afford that don’t ride "mass transit."

24. Are there any environmental benefits to the proposed plan?

There are many environmental benefits to the plan including less carbon monoxide in the air as a result of the downtown gondola. It provides the ability for Snowbasin patrons to use the gondola and not drive to the resort. If this happens with just 10 percent of their customers, it will reduce acres of parking, as well as eliminating approximately 15,000 pounds of emissions in the air per year.

Is that net of the CO2 => O2 that will be lost from cutting down trees?


Can you think of any other mountain town that would support this plan? Geograhically, Ogden is much like Boulder, CO. If such a thing like this was even legal in Boulder, I would love to see the reaction of those crazy hippies. Mountains are what make these areas special and they should be protected.

Three Final thoughts:
1) The companies who came to Ogden didn't do so becasue of some plan. And can continue to be successful with out it. Kudos to the city and mayor for getting these companies and jobs.
2) There are better transit options that can put Ogden on the map as well. Streetcar anyone?
3) The plan itself hasn't been revealed all that much. Still many questions. The development thusfar has involved very few people, not just developers and politians. The resort is also in a bad location with poor exposure for snowsports.
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  #29  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2006, 12:34 AM
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So Peterson is Billionaire,Earl Holding's son-in-law. I hadn't realized that. Now this is starting to make alot of sense. If anyone can pull this whole mega-resort thing off and make Ogden an even bigger ski town than Whistler/Blackcomb it would be the Holdings. It would take a Billionaire family to fast-track this thing. At least we know that if the Holding's are involved they will be very passionate about it and it will be top-notch all the way.
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Old Posted Oct 24, 2006, 6:00 AM
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I love the Ogden City hall... its one of the few expamples of Art Deco in Utah...


and I looooooove this hotel for some odd reason
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Old Posted Oct 24, 2006, 2:59 PM
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Here's a nice, brief profile of Ogden's young, enthusiastic mayor. He's initiated and promoted some radical ideas (such as the gondola, extensive redevelopment, etc.) that upset the old stodgy NIMBYs, but I think he's done a lot of good for the city and the state. I wonder if he'll move onto a larger stage after his current term in office.


Utah magazine upbeat about Ogden's future

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

By Scott Schwebke
Standard-Examiner staff
sschwebke@standard.net


Mayor Godfrey chosen as state economic player


OGDEN -- A Salt Lake City business magazine has ranked Mayor Matthew Godfrey as one of 25 Utahns responsible for driving the state's economy.

Godfrey will be featured in an article in the December edition of Connect Magazine.

The article will tout Godfrey's role in revitalizing Ogden through projects such as The Junction, a retail, recreational and residential development being built downtown and helping to establish Ogden as a burgeoning hub for the snow-sports industry.

"Mayor Godfrey is well-liked and respected by many of Utah's business community members. His future plans and current accomplishments for Ogden's economic growth are often praised as visionary," said Colin Kelly Jr. senior editor of Connect Magazine.

"Utah's business community recognizes that we can't raise state and local taxes much beyond current levels. The sorely needed additional revenue for government and education must come from sustained long-term economic growth. Mayor Godfrey gets that."

Godfrey finished fifth in an online poll conducted by Connect Magazine to determine which 25 individuals had the most impact on promoting business and growing Utah's economy in 2006. About 700 people responded to the survey.

The top four spots in the poll went to Gov. Jon Huntsman, Sports and Entertainment mogul Larry Miller, billionaire and father of the governor, Jon Huntsman Sr., and Scott Anderson, chief executive officer of Zion' Bank.

Godfrey said he is pleased and surprised to be included with those on the top 25 list. "It's a great honor to be lumped in with that group," he said.

Mike Ostermiller, president of the Weber/North Davis Association of Realtors, said Godfrey deserves to be on the list.

"What I appreciate about Mayor Godfrey is that he doesn't think or act like a regular politician," he said. "He is not afraid of being criticized and is all about doing what he feels is best for Ogden and in driving the economy. He's fearless and tireless."

The nomination process for the top 25 list occurred in the last two weeks of August. About 250 people were nominated by Connect Magazine readers. Final voting took place via an online poll in early September.

Godfrey's mention in next month's edition of Connect Magazine won't be the first time the publication has highlighted Ogden. In May, the magazine's cover story featured the city's success in luring high-tech manufacturing firms such as Adam Aircraft and Fresenius Medical Care as well as several snow-sports companies.

Connect's Utah business leaders, top 20

Jon Huntsman Jr. - Utah governor
Larry Miller - Larry H. Miller Group
Jon Huntsman Sr. - Huntsman Corp.
Scott Anderson - CEO Zions Bank
Matthew Godfrey - Ogden mayor
Alan Hall - chairman, Grow Utah Ventures
Lane Beatie - Salt Lake Chamber president
Greg Butterfield - CEO Altiris
Fred Lampropoulos - CEO Merit Medical
Jack Brittain - Dean, U of U Business School
Dinesh Patel - managing partner vSpring Capital
Paul Allen - founder, Provo Labs
Bob Garff - Garff Enterprises
Fraser Bullock - managing director, Sorenson Capital
Ragula Bhaskar - CEO FatPipe Networks
Betsy Burton - The King's English Bookshop, co-founder/president
James Dreyfous - managing director, UV Partners
David Simmons - CEO, Simmons Media Group
Greg Warnock - managing director, vSpring Capital/Mercato Partners
Harris Simmons - chairman, Zions Bancorporation
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Old Posted Oct 24, 2006, 3:05 PM
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More suburban retail sprawl near Ogden

I wish they would have built in Boyer's portion of The Junction -- the mixed-use reincarnation of the former Ogden City Mall that JC Penney abandoned several years ago.

JCPenney to return to Weber County with new off-mall format

By Debbi Taylor
The Enterprise


After months of speculation, J. C. Penney Co. Inc. has signed a letter of intent with both The Boyer Co. and Big-D Construction to build a free-standing store in Riverdale.

The Riverdale JCPenney store will mark the company's return to Weber County. It closed its store in the Ogden City Mall six years ago. The new store will be built in the company's new off-mall format and will be 100,000 square foot single-level free-standing store.

"Our off-mall stores have exceeded our expectations, generating higher sales per square foot than our mall-based stores and more frequent visits by customers," said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman III, J. C. Penney chairman and chief executive officer. "We have a unique advantage in that our off-mall department stores provide a neighborhood presence that offers convenience and accessibility for mid-week shopping, while complementing our mall stores, which continue to be a weekend and holiday shopping destination."

To be located at approximately 4181 Riverdale Road, JCPenney will be part of a 200,000 square foot, 17-acre retail center called Riverdale Center.
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Old Posted Oct 24, 2006, 3:30 PM
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Utaaah,

Really enjoyed your article's this morning from the Examiner and the Enterprise. I noticed the same thing the other day with JC Penney. I was out West Jordon way and noticed a big new free standing, JC Penney store at that new shopping area off of Bangerter. I've also noticed the same kind of thing happening all over the Wasatch Front in the new generation shopping district's like The Meadows in Am. Fork. Anyone, who is interested in real-estate development should visit The Meadows. There are some really cool feature's there. I especially like the round-about's, and bridges over the wetland's. It's right off of I-15 at the first Am. Fork exit that you come to. Anyway, there are alot of freestanding stores like Kohl's,Sears,etc arranged in that development.
You know, I was really glad to see the Mervyn's store leave Crossroads. I know for a fact alot of people in Nordstrom management and also City Hall were very elated. I have nothing against a Mervyn's or a JC Penney. I just think they are more appropriate at a location like the suburbs, where large families etc. are shopping. I remember when a substantial amount of the Nordstrom businesss downtown came from out-of-state visitor's. In a place like the core of downtown Salt Lake or "the new and upcoming, shiek,(courtesy of people like Holding Oil and Mayor Godfrey) downtown Ogden", a more upscale establishment like Nordstrom,or Sak's is much more attractive to the tourist and convention industry.
Although, I would bet that as downtown Salt Lake densifies with working folk there will be more demand for stores like Mervyn's and JC Penney. I guess there's alot of talk about a Target in or around Gateway,which I think makes good sense.
Just some thought's, What do you think?

Thanks again for bringing us this great site,

Delts

Last edited by delts145; Oct 24, 2006 at 3:40 PM.
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Old Posted Oct 24, 2006, 9:03 PM
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I agree that downtowns need to offer something unique that you can't find in the suburbs to bring in suburbanites and visitors. However, downtown retail also needs to serve the needs of close-in residents. I don't shop at Saks, Nordy's, or Nieman Marcus (although the original flagship store is only a couple blocks from my office and is the only significant retailer in DT Dallas). I would and do shop at Mervyns, JC Penny, Sears, etc. I guess I'm just cheap.
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Old Posted Oct 24, 2006, 9:46 PM
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How did my name end up on this list?


Connect's Utah business leaders, top 20

Jon Huntsman Jr. - Utah governor
Larry Miller - Larry H. Miller Group
Jon Huntsman Sr. - Huntsman Corp.
Scott Anderson - CEO Zions Bank
Matthew Godfrey - Ogden mayor
LeeBuddy - Skyscraper Nerd
Lane Beatie - Salt Lake Chamber president
Greg Butterfield - CEO Altiris
Fred Lampropoulos - CEO Merit Medical
Jack Brittain - Dean, U of U Business School
Dinesh Patel - managing partner vSpring Capital
Paul Allen - founder, Provo Labs
Bob Garff - Garff Enterprises
Fraser Bullock - managing director, Sorenson Capital
Ragula Bhaskar - CEO FatPipe Networks
Betsy Burton - The King's English Bookshop, co-founder/president
James Dreyfous - managing director, UV Partners
David Simmons - CEO, Simmons Media Group
Greg Warnock - managing director, vSpring Capital/Mercato Partners
Harris Simmons - chairman, Zions Bancorporation[/QUOTE]
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  #36  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2006, 10:24 PM
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Thumbs up Nothing wrong with being a smart shopper

Hey, you're not cheap,just smart. If I can get a perfectly good but previously worn Armani on E-bay for a small fraction of the original price, then I'll take it. I'm a firm believer in not paying full retail. I never pay over 1.69lb for boneless-skinless chicken breasts, and on and on. The problem with downtown Salt Lake is it doesn't have the density of close-in resident's who would shop at or support a lower end department store in the temple square vicinity. However, there are many locally unique stores,like Mr.Mac which will continue to do well amongst both close-in residents and visitor's alike. Also, the new generation of big box retailer's such as Target would probably do well somewhere around Gateway.
You brought up an important point about Dallas. It's interesting that so many downtown's of very large metro's like Dallas/Ft.Worth or Los Angeles don't have a much larger cache of Department Stores. Is Houston the same?
Of couse, all the major metro's have large surrounding mall's/lifestyle center's with prestige retailer's,but usually not downtown. Downtown Salt Lake will be amongst a small crowd of cities nationwide in five years. When all is done with City Creek there will be four to six major department stores in the immediate downtown vicinity. Nordstrom,Macy's,(yet unamed: Sak's,Dillard's,Bloomy's),Sears and probably Target. I still think that if the ski and tourist industry in Salt Lake keeps soaring we'll see two more upscale department stores at the City Creek Center.
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Old Posted Oct 25, 2006, 12:58 PM
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Macy's to offer a range of value's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Utaaah!
I agree that downtowns need to offer something unique that you can't find in the suburbs to bring in suburbanites and visitors. However, downtown retail also needs to serve the needs of close-in residents. I don't shop at Saks, Nordy's, or Nieman Marcus (although the original flagship store is only a couple blocks from my office and is the only significant retailer in DT Dallas). I would and do shop at Mervyns, JC Penny, Sears, etc. I guess I'm just cheap.

Utaaah, I thought you may find this article of interest. Macy's of course will have a major presence at the downtown City Creek Center. They have a good reputation for straddling both the upscale and bargain conscious public.

You know, I would lay odds that if the plan to make downtown Ogden a world-class resort go through, that Macy's and Nordstrom will return.


Macy's planning big party

Lots of events are on tap for firm's official Utah openings

Excerpt's from article:
By Jenifer K. Nii
Deseret Morning News
When Macy's opens its doors for business, it'll be dressed in its party clothes, serenaded, offering drinks and treats and games for the kids.

Ravell Call,
Deseret Morning News
The former Meier and Frank store at the ZCMI Center has been gearing up for the official opening as a Macy's store and will have new product lines. The host of the events will be Macy's Northwest chairman and chief executive officer, Jeff Gennette.
"Utah is a very important market for us," Gennette told the Deseret Morning News in a phone interview from the division's headquarters in Seattle. "The Salt Lake market is a big opportunity for us, and I wanted to be there" for the official opening of Macy's in Utah.
Macy's parent company, Federated Department Stores, completed its $11 billion purchase of The May Co. in 2005. That acquisition doubled Federated's size to more than 800 stores.
The, "Red Carpet & Ribbon-Cutting Celebration" included remarks from Gennette, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon. The event featured cider, cake, live entertainment and activities for children.
More than that, though, Gennette said the event marked the beginning of what Macy's hopes will be a new and satisfying relationship for consumers looking for mid- and upscale clothes, shoes, accessories, gifts and the like. Which, according to Gennette, is something Meier & Frank didn't adequately provide in Utah.
"It's no secret that (Meier & Frank) was a more robust business when it was ZCMI," Gennette said. "Over the last five years, it diminished to a point where we believe we have a tremendous opportunity for growth."
Macy's has been out stumping hard in the run-up to Saturday's re-launch, promising noticeable improvements in the merchandise quality, presentation and service offered at its stores.
Deseret Morning News graphic "We're a department store, but what Macy's really strives for is that our products are differentiated and unique," Gennette said. "Hopefully, customers who have been in our stores in the last few weeks have experienced an environment that was less cluttered, more easily navigated and discernible."
Macy's has "edited" its assortment of merchandise — the majority of which, including private labels, will be new to Meier & Frank faithful — to make shopping a "more inspiring" experience for customers, Gennette said.
And that merchandise will be tailored on a store-by-store basis to fit the needs of individual communities.
"We are big on making sure that the assortment we offer is specific to each building," Gennette said. "If you walk into Layton Hills Mall versus Riverdale versus Cottonwood Mall versus Salt Lake, you should see a difference."
Also, Federated rolled out a new advertising and marketing campaign, said to be the largest in the company's history. Block parties and shopping parties are scheduled in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and El Paso over the weekend, and parades are scheduled in Chicago and 20 other cities leading up to the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in November.
"This is the beginning," Gennette said. "I think in a lot of cases people expect that we'll show up for this, and then pack up our bags and go home, but that's not the case at all. We expect this to be the start of a very active relationship, the beginning of what I hope will be a beautiful marriage."

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Old Posted Oct 26, 2006, 11:29 AM
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Thumbs up Taking flight-- Kays Creek project gives wing to vital wildlife habitat.

By Joseph M. Dougherty
Deseret Morning News



LAYTON — "The whole morass was animated with multitudes of waterfowl, which appeared to be very wild — rising for the space of a mile around about at the sound of a gun with a noise like distant thunder." That's how John C. Fremont described what he saw when he came to the Great Salt Lake for the first time in September of 1843.
Every spring and fall, migratory birds in the millions pass though the lake's wetlands during their worldwide treks. But because of growth and encroaching development since the mid-1800s, the wetlands have shrunk, and so have bird populations.
"Nearly 60 percent of the historic wetlands in the river basins in and around the Great Salt Lake have already been lost," said Dave Livermore, Utah director of The Nature Conservancy.
The Nature Conservancy is the largest private owner of wetlands in Davis County with the 5,000-acre Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve that runs along 16.5 miles of shoreline.
The preserve is home to a sea of cattails and features a one-mile round-trip boardwalk that leads to an observation tower that visitors can use to spot birds and learn about wetlands habitat.
A recent project on Kays Creek, which feeds about 10,000 acres of wetlands on the east side of the preserve, is working to bring birds back to the wetlands.
So far, it's working.
Kays Creek is a 10-mile stream that drains three canyons in the Layton area. In many spots you can jump over it. It's hidden most of the time by trees that grow along its banks. And you don't see it except when you drive by it or live nearby.
Much of the natural habitat upstream and downstream has disappeared, but downstream is where things have begun to change.
About 60 years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers dredged out a 10-by-10-foot channel for the last mile of the creek to help divert storm water from neighborhoods.
It was a ditch, good for moving water but not much else, says Jeff McCreary, a regional biologist with Ducks Unlimited, a waterfowl conservation organization.
Over the past seven years, Duck Unlimited has been working with The Nature Conservancy to redesign the last mile of the creek to turn it into what it once was: productive habitat.
"If you miss the opportunity to protect these areas, it costs a lot of money to put them back," McCreary said.
With $350,000 in donations from the Hemingway Foundation, Utah Wetlands Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Bechtel Foundation, and a federal grant, Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy got to planning, and they touted their success with a tour of the restored Kays Creek Sept. 15.
Where once was a grassland with a ditch running through it are now five ponds fed by a meandering stream with natural willows and cottonwoods growing in the banks. A bonus for those who worked on the project is that the plant life came back on its own.
McCreary said the stream is "as close as we're ever going to get to what used to be out here."
To get to this point, engineers and managers alike had to play Mother Nature.
They hired a lot of heavy equipment in 2004, said Chris Brown, manager of the conservancy's 5,000-acre Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve in Layton.
With a yellow cavalry of bulldozers, backhoes and dump trucks, workers reshaped the drainage ditch into a natural-looking stream bed with a shallow slope that will still accommodate storm runoff.
They piled earth to make 20 acres of ponds that Brown can raise or lower depending on what species of bird needs a boost.
Mike Terry, Deseret Morning NewsJeff McCreary of Ducks Unlimited speaks with members of conservation groups about the restoration of the last mile of Kays Creek as productive habitat. Ducks like deep water, he explained, but shorebirds, like black-necked stilts, need shallow water. Simply by adding a board to a drainage gate, Brown can raise the water level in a particular pond 18 inches.
Brown said he doesn't expect to take an active part in managing the ponds for the next year or so. He wants to see what happens.
The winter work was so torturously cold, Brown said, that sometimes he wondered why he put himself through it. Now that he sees changes every day in the habitat, the hard work was worth it.
"Where I used to just see birds occasionally flying overhead, this spring I recorded thousands of them nesting and feeding on the newly expanded wetland habitat and ponds," Brown said.
He has counted 176 avocet nests and 5,000 pintails, a species of duck.
Plovers, godwits, avocets, stilts, sandhill cranes and tundra swans use the ponds.
"The bird use has been far more than I expected," Brown said.
McCreary is jubilant.
"The reason this project succeeded is because of a unique collaboration between conservation biology and engineering," he said. "We created a science-based plan to re-create the types of native habitat that Kays Creek would have offered these birds before decades of human impacts."
Bird populations may never reach numbers like what Fremont saw and heard — noise like distant thunder — but McCreary expects populations to skyrocket over the next few years.
Since March 2005, when that first trickle of water began to flow over a small concrete dam designed to not get clogged with debris, Brown has begun thinking of his next project, which he hopes will be similar to the Kays Creek project, only on the north end of the preserve.


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Old Posted Oct 27, 2006, 12:03 PM
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Work to begin on HAFB business park

By Joseph M. Dougherty and Stephen Speckman
Deseret Morning News

A 550-acre parcel on Hill Air Force Base's west side that has been "underutilized" for over 60 years is a step closer to becoming a business and technology park, Hill officials announced this week.
It's uncertain when construction will begin, but the first phase will include a 44-acre space and missile complex, with office space for about 2,000 government and contractor employees, base officials said in a press release. Commercial businesses are also expected to be part of the first phase.
The development will stretch over four cities' boundaries: Clearfield, Sunset, Roy and Riverdale, according to Clearfield Mayor Don Wood. Clearfield and Roy will likely be home to the two largest parcels of development.
A private company will oversee construction of all buildings and eventually lease the facilities back to the Air Force and other defense-related and commercial businesses.
The entire "west-side development project" could take 20 years to complete, according to a Hill official.

Doug Clark, managing director of business growth in the Governor's Office of Economic Development, said the location will be one of the most efficient in the state for future employment.
The land sits alongside Interstate 15 and is close to Interstate 84 and a future commuter-rail line. By localizing some of the jobs for which Davis County residents currently commute outside of the county, there could be shorter commutes, Clark said in the news release.
Wood said the project is designed to give the base some new office space and replace some deteriorating buildings. The people who will work in new offices will need to eat, and Wood said the development would likely include some restaurants, which would increase sales-tax revenue for the cities. There's also a potential of a motel coming to town, Wood said.
"It helps put the city in a better light in terms of being economically viable and being able to sustain retail and businesses," Wood said.
Clearfield city manager Chris Hillman said Wednesday that his city's knowledge about the project is limited right now, but he looks forward to meeting with neighboring cities and Hill administrators to find out more.
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2006, 10:52 PM
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Ogden on perilous terrain.

Building in Utah's flood, landslide areas poses risks

By Doug Smeath
Deseret Morning News

In late April, Brad Hall was anxiously keeping an eye on his $500,000 home in Mountain Green, Morgan County, monitoring cracking foundations and a bowing back deck and wondering how far the ground supporting his foundation would slide during this year's wet season.
An 80-foot-wide mudslide in South Weber on April 10 wreaked havoc when it crashed into a home, hurling 4-year-old Kendell Keyes against a wall as she watched TV and breaking her leg. Just down Weber Canyon in South Weber, 4-year-old Kendell Keyes was recovering from a broken leg she suffered after a torrent of mud 80 feet wide swept down the hillside behind her family's home, crashing into the house and throwing the girl against a wall as she watched TV.
Farther south, in South Jordan's river bottoms, Andy and Jeanette Meisenbacher were at work cleaning up their soggy basement and filling their yard with wells and drainage channels to avoid a repeat of the floods that filled their basement and those of two nearby homes in March. The water came from rising groundwater as spring runoff seeped from the western reaches of the valley toward the Jordan River.
This year, the Utah Geological Survey was watching at least 50 landslides from Utah County to Morgan County, many of them near housing developments. The disasters are not just an anomaly due to this year's wet spring. After rain and snowmelt last May, a dramatic landslide in Cedar Hills, Utah County, crashed into some hillside townhouses, forcing four families to move. And in St. George in January 2005, helpless residents watched as homes washed away in the flooded Virgin and Santa Clara rivers.
For homeowners, such disasters are distressing and frustrating. "It was just like they were in a nightmare," said Trudy Keyes, Kendell Keyes' aunt.
As growth brings more and more families to Utah, new housing developments are popping up throughout the state — sometimes in places that once may have seemed off limits. From the homes perched atop Traverse Mountain in Draper's SunCrest neighborhood to east-bench homes straddling the Wasatch Fault, more and more Utahns are building homes in geologically unstable areas.
"A lot of our easily developed land is now developed," said Gary Christenson, geologic-hazards program manager at the Utah Geological Survey. "Our risk is increasing. We are building into riskier areas."
If it all comes tumbling down, fills with water or washes away, who is responsible?
"They screwed up when they gave everybody permits down here to build basements," Jeanette Meisenbacher told the Deseret Morning News after shallow groundwater breached her South Jordan basement earlier this spring.
When she says "they," she's talking about South Jordan city officials — the people she and her husband say are primarily to blame for the flooding.
The river bottoms are a natural destination for runoff from the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains. Sometimes that water trickles via above-ground streams, and sometimes it seeps underground and rushes downhill. It's that underground water that caught the Meisenbachers by surprise. They had thought they were prepared.
They had installed basement sump pumps and dug drainage channels around their yard after their city-issued building permit warned of the potential for groundwater flooding. The fact that those precautions weren't enough makes the Meisenbachers angry. Maybe the city shouldn't have given them a permit at all, they now say.
But South Jordan public services director Don Bruey said the building permit gave the homeowners plenty of warning and that ultimately it is the builder's responsibility to act on that warning.
Christenson said fluctuating weather patterns can contribute to such situations. "That's one of those problems when you build in a drought," he said. "The groundwater may be down, but the water table can fluctuate five to 10 feet in a year in some places."
Because geologic stability can vary so greatly depending on a given year's weather, cities regularly require developers or builders to commission geotechnical studies before they build next to hillsides, in river bottoms, on mountain benches or near fault lines. Some cities, such as Layton, have begun requiring such studies citywide.
The Highland View Estates neighborhood in South Weber, where the Keyes family once lived, was built in an area marked on the city's master plan as prone to landslides. But not everyone pays close attention to things like that.
"We never knew it was a landslide hazard," said Trudy Keyes, who lives in another house on the same street.
Depending on where you live, your city or county government may or may not have designated certain geologically hazardous areas off limits for developments. Your government may or may not be willing to negotiate when developers come knocking with plans for a new hillside neighborhood or river-front subdivision.
"There is pressure from the development community, but cities are trying to respond by developing ordinances," Utah League of Cities and Towns planning consultant Megan Ryan said. Some cities have created so-called sensitive-lands ordinances. Such regulations may prohibit developing on slopes of a particular grade. They may require developers to put certain precautions in place before building in river bottoms. Or they may declare wetlands off limits, among many other provisions.
"Often it's cities that have had problems in the past that are especially cognizant of it," Christenson said.
In St. George, development has long been prohibited in areas designated as floodplains by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, last year's rushing rivers swept away houses that weren't built in the floodplain. Instead of being flooded, they actually fell into the rising water as the ground around them eroded.
FEMA has since re-evaluated the Virgin and Santa Clara floodplains, which have changed as erosion altered the riverbeds. The agency has also designated "erosion zones," where high water could destabilize homes without ever flooding them. St. George has updated its ordinances to require special precautions for development in such zones. Even still, it's no guarantee.
"It's hard to know where those will occur," assistant city manager Marc Mortensen said. "We have an idea, but even now we're not 100 percent confident that that erosion zone won't grow over time."
Christenson said the UGS is willing to work closely with cities seeking to focus their planning on safely guiding future growth. Cities like Layton, Ogden and Provo have made use of that offer. Some other cities, Christenson said, have not.
"We certainly encourage all cities and counties to deal with geologic hazards," he said.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning NewsFlooding of the Santa Clara River ravaged the yard of this home last year, causing most of the structure to topple into the river. Cities have a number of tools to consider in their efforts to deal with those risks. In addition to sensitive-lands ordinances, some cities have turned to zoning to keep development away from certain areas. But zoning can be a sweeping designation of a huge chunk of land and can ignore the existence of undevelopable areas mere yards away from perfectly safe areas.
Tim Watkins, senior planner at quality-growth advocacy group Envision Utah, promotes the idea of purchasing or transferring development rights. A developer who owns land zoned to allow three homes per acre could buy the right to more density from a nearby landowner whose land is in the same zone but is more sensitive and less suitable for development. The overall density would remain the same — no more than three homes per acre in the entire zone — but the stable land would be developed more densely while the sensitive land would remain untouched.
The idea has been used recently to keep development out of Mapleton's foothills and canyons by driving density toward the valley floor.
But not everyone supports the idea of governments managing development to that degree. During the 2006 Legislature, several bills came up that would have restricted cities' ability to zone and manage land-use planning. Most of those bills were gutted, killed by committee or replaced by less-dramatic bills. But many involved in city government believe some legislators are trying to send a message: Let landowners have more control of how their land is developed.
"Cities are trying to do the right thing, and I'm not sure the Legislature supports that," Ryan said. "Maybe that's a message (lawmakers) need to hear from their constituents in the cities."
One group that has criticized so-called quality-growth planning and other land-use controls by city and county governments is the conservative Sutherland Institute. However, president Paul Mero said protecting homeowners from geologic instability is one of the instances when such controls might not be out of the question — as long as developers and builders are involved in the process.
"The role of local government in development is health and safety, so this certainly fits into that category," Mero said.

Doing your homework:

UGS has created maps for areas throughout the state showing general geologic hazards — fault lines, historic landslides and the like. But usually those maps don't do the trick when it comes to planning a few acres here, a few more there.
On the local scale, more detailed studies are needed to look at soil types, groundwater levels, the potential for liquefaction during an earthquake and other risks. Those so-called geotechnical studies are sometimes done by cities, sometimes required of developers by city ordinance and sometimes left up to individual builders or homeowners.
Even when cities require geotechnical studies, and even when those studies lead officials to require certain precautions, the necessary follow-through isn't always there.
"Few cities actually have a process to make sure what is agreed to actually gets done," Christenson said. "There's quite a few places where the process breaks down. Local governments need to be vigilant in approving developments — vigilant and, basically, hard-nosed."
When the studies are done, they are often commissioned by developers — who want to be told their land is safe and stable and who might shop around until they find someone who will tell them that.
"There are certainly economic pressures on the consultants to say what the developers want to hear," Christenson said.
Taz Biesinger, a spokesman for the Home Builders Association of Utah, said developers must comply with cities' requirements and try to use the best information they have available when building.
"Do bad things happen? Unfortunately they do," he said. "But I don't think anyone tries to do anything intentionally wrong."
Because hazards monitoring and planning vary from city to city, Christenson recommends anyone looking to buy or build a home do a little of their own homework first. Homebuyers "need to realize that when they're looking at a home, there is no guarantee that it was permitted with geologic hazards in mind," he said.
The extent of the legwork that would-be homeowners should do depends on several factors: where they plan to build or buy; how comfortable they are with the information they have received from developers, builders and real-estate agents; and, ultimately, their gut instincts.
Deseret Morning News graphic There are warning signs. For example, low-lying valley and river-bottoms areas are at a greater risk for groundwater flooding, though such floods can occur in foothills as well.
Landslides are most likely to occur on steep natural or construction-related slopes, areas in or at the mouths of drainages or canyons, slopes below leaking canals or ponds, developed hillsides where septic-tank soil-absorption systems are used and landscapes are irrigated, or below cliffs or hills with outcrops of fractured rock, according to the UGS.
High-risk areas become more landslide-prone once development starts as hillsides are cut away and become more unstable. Landscaping with thirsty plants also increases hazards as hillsides quickly see five or six times the water they normally would.
First and foremost, Christenson said, homeowners need to pay close attention to zoning maps, city master plans and building permits. If a permit application says an area may be prone to landslides or groundwater flooding, he said, more research is in order.
When cities have carried out geotechnical studies of a certain area, those studies are available to anyone who wants to see them, and Christenson recommended checking them out before building or buying. The Deseret Morning News visited several city offices to explore the availability of such studies. In every case, studies were available — although in some cities, it took a lot of asking and being sent to different departments before someone was able to help.
Sometimes, however, it might be wiser to hire your own geologist or engineer to visit your property, do a study and offer advice. "It could cost a lot, but it could cost a lot more not to know," Christenson said.

Picking up the pieces
Christenson stresses individual responsibility in checking out a homesite's safety because, ultimately, legal and financial responsibility will probably lie with the homeowner. Once disaster strikes, you may or may not get any help from local, state or federal governments.
In South Jordan and elsewhere, victims of natural disasters have discussed seeking financial help from their cities. In the case of Mountain Green's slow-moving landslide, some homeowners are discussing filing lawsuits, though it is unclear whether the target would be developers, builders or the city. But proving the city is to blame can be a tough legal process.
"Cities generally think that if we don't cause the disaster, we're not legally responsible for it," said David Church, general counsel for the Utah League of Cities and Towns and attorney for several Utah cities. "If someone builds in a disaster area, they do that of their own choice."
It can be especially hard to get money in cases like South Jordan's flooding or South Weber's landslide, where the city provided warning about the hazards, Church said.
The best way to be poised to recover as quickly and easily as possible, experts say, is to have a comprehensive insurance policy. Gus Miranda, a spokesman for State Farm Insurance, said flood insurance is an often-overlooked need.
Miranda said floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, and about 20 percent to 25 percent of those floods occur in areas considered at low or moderate flood risk. A home has a 26 percent chance of being flooded during the life of a 30-year mortgage, compared with a 4 percent chance of fire, Miranda said.
Of course insurance coverage has its limitations, too.

"Most insurance policies do not cover earth movement," Miranda said, meaning responsibility for damage from landslides, mudslides and debris flow often falls in the lap of the victims.
And even when homes have flood insurance, it doesn't cover everything. Many of the homes destroyed by the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers, for example, weren't technically flooded. The water didn't come to the homes so much as the homes fell into the water.
In the end, the best protection against costly, possibly life-threatening natural disasters may be staying away from the most dangerous places in the first place.
Building in geologically unstable areas "can be done safely, but sometimes it can be expensive," Christenson said. "Sometimes it may not be worth it."


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