North Ogden: No more favors for developers

Saturday , November 15, 2014 - 3:00 PM

By RACHEL J. TROTTER
Standard-Examiner correspondent

NORTH OGDEN – City officials say “the good old boy” days are over in North Ogden as there will be no more favors or exceptions extended to developers.

Recently, the city council was made aware of a development where a verbal agreement was made between the former city manage,Ron Chandler, and the developer that would cost the city money – and appear that the city was involving itself in a private development.

“I don’t think the city should move forward with this in any way, shape or form,” said Councilwoman Cheryl Stokes.

“We need to be careful about setting a precedent,” said Councilman Kent Bailey.

Other council members agreed. Bailey added that there are times when city employees have made concessions to developers and not told council members about the agreements. This has left council members wondering how to proceed and feeling like they are breaking an agreement.

“These are procedural issues that need to be looked at for this (city manager) position in the future,” Bailey said.

Mayor Brent Taylor brought up that he doesn’t believe employees have had malicious intent, but that there is some confusion on what policies are acceptable and what aren’t.

“We are relying on the staff to paint a full picture. If that doesn’t happen, how do we know?” Bailey asked.

“We just need to say from here on out that we do not solve private developer problems,” Taylor said.

Bailey and other council members agreed. “We need to be a respectful city government and not the good old boys down the street,” Bailey said.

Taylor said he has noticed that the city has allowed utilities to be placed in other areas besides the streets. Now when infrastructure needs to be replaced homeowners don’t want lawns, or yards dug up to replace them. He said agreements were made before homeowners knew about it.

Taylor noted an example where a developer was allowed to put place its storm water run off in an open creek through homeowner’s backyards instead of being properly piped in the street. Some homeowners have put fences around the creek, making it difficult for the city to access the creek.

“The only one who benefited from this arrangement was the developer who saved money by not having to pipe the storm drain water into the street,” he said.

Furthermore, the same developer came to the city to ask the city to install storm drain pipes into the street of this subdivision at taxpayer expense so that he could tie into those pipes for the next phase of his development.

Taylor doesn’t think the taxpayer should have to pay for something that should have been done right the first time by the developer.

“I want to get the city and homeowners out of these types of situations, by requiring that developers do the utilities correctly and in the street from the get-go,” Taylor said.

The mayor and council said they want to serve residents in the long term, not developers in the short term.

Building inspector Gary Kerr agrees as well. “From the very beginning they (developers) need to understand that they need to do this, this and this,” he said.

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