North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor and John Call, the North Ogden city attorney and city administrator, said the city needs the multi use development in order to meet requirements for state law. A good portion of the 63 public comments on the Mayor’s facebook live town hall broadcast related to this project.
Call said, “The state requires cities to incorporate moderate income housing into their general plan document.” The project, which includes the Country Boy property and surrounding property, incorporates an assisted care facility, commercial buildings, apartment buildings, townhomes, senior 55+ neighborhoods, independent living center for seniors, club houses, and landscaping that consists of 30% of the 33 acres. This isn’t low income or government subsidized income,” said Call. “[Moderate income] typically includes people with jobs such as police officers or hospital workers. This is to support people with essential jobs that are required for society to function and it’s more than just putting it in a document, it’s putting it into action.”
Residents have also noticed an increase in new homes being built where farms used to be. The document Mayor Taylor shared on his facebook page includes 13 photos of streets that have land undergoing development. Mayor Taylor said building permits will likely top 150 in 2017.
Mayor Taylor said, “The city is not in charge of building homes or businesses. The private market decides whether to develop or not. We are not pushing people to develop their land. The city’s role is to set zoning requirements and regulations and make sure development happens in a way that benefits the city.”
The General Plan
Mayor Taylor said it is required by state law to have a General Plan for how the city is going to develop residentially and commercially. Mayor Taylor said, “The city’s job is to prepare the infrastructure for the growth which includes roads, new wells, new sewer and water lines. “We do projects every year to facilitate growth.”
The general plan is updated every ten years. The City Council and the Planning Commission receive input from the residents of the city through open houses, and online and telephone comments. The Mayor said over a thousand people participated in the last revision process. “If someone wants an area to be rezoned, the city council will consider if it consistent with the general plan.”
The multi use project
The Washington blvd mixed use project was proposed in 2014 and approved in 2015 and includes 33 acres. This project will probably take 10 years or more to complete.
Christina Watson commented her concern about the increase of traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods by the multi use area. Mayor Taylor responded, “This area is zoned for commercial use. There would never be single family dwellings being put in here.” He said, “a massive commercial development would have resulted in far more traffic than a large number of apartments like what they’re putting in.” Mayor Taylor said to ensure it is a top quality project, the city has regulated the materials they can and can’t use in the project.
The majority of the city is zoned for single family dwellings. Mayor Taylor explained it would be unconstitutional for the city to approach a farmer and tell him he couldn’t develop his land. “That would be infringing on citizens’ 5th amendment rights. The city can put regulations on types of development in accordance to state law.” He explained that overall private property development is up to the person who owns the land. “We as neighbors don’t get to choose everything that happens on our neighbor’s property. If we want to choose everything, we need to buy the property ourselves.”
Where the growth is coming from?
Mayor Taylor said he believes most of the citys growth is from people already tied to this city. “Given that we often have large families, that simply means there are more and more people each year who want to live here. I hope we, as a city can accommodate that.”
Beyond this, generational shifts are changing housing habits. A larger share of young people in the millennial generation are interested in renting, for a variety of reasons (frequent job changes, avoidance of debt, saving up for a mortgage, desire for more urban lifestyle, etc.). There are also more and more senior citizens living for longer and longer, and some of them are interested in an apartment or townhome without a yard to upkeep, or a cottage or apartment in a 55+ “senior community.”
Alyssa Fleming is worried about the increase of traffic that will come with adding more businesses to a concentrated area. She is particularly concerned about the area between 711 and Smiths. Mayor said they have to negotiate lights with the Utah Department of Transportation since state highways are controlled by them. Their goal is to move cars from point a to point b. They don’t want to put in a lot of lights because that would disrupt the flow of traffic. They make the final determination. One additional light they were able to negotiate will be located 2700 n 300 e. still working with udot to get more in the future.
Julie Anderson and Brent Call wanted to know what the city is doing to ensure greenspace. Mayor Taylor said “We can buy property for conservation easements but it is very expensive.” He said cities that have a lot of money or have a lot of private donations tend to utilize this. He also said when a new home is built, they are required to pay an impact fee which goes to pay for preserving landscape, providing new wells and other things that go along with more people living in the city. New homes and buildings are paying for the impact of the new users entering into our public utilities.
Carol Campbell asked about trails in newer developments. Call said a trail and park master plan is included in the general plan document.
Jonathon Call asked about police growth. Mayor Taylor said there is one officer per thousand residents. The city currently has 19 officers for 19,000 residents.
Mayor Taylor reassured Dave Hulme that a craft store is in the works.
Sidewalks are included in every development with very exceptional circumstances.