Conditional-use permit request tabled for C.E. Butters

Aug 12 2010 - 12:07am

OGDEN -- C.E. Butters is stuck in limbo between wanting a conditional-use permit from the county and an annexation claim from Ogden.

Kevin Butters, manager of the construction and development company, asked the Western Weber Township Planning Commission on Tuesday night to approve a conditional-use permit that would expand the services the company offers at its 1561 W. 3300 South location.

However, the planning commission tabled his request pending further attorney review of state statutes governing annexation.

Butters said the company wants to remain a part of Weber County, but Ogden City Planning Manager Greg Montgomery said the property is part of a planned annexation by the city. The planning commission is legally unable to approve development in a city's expansion area without written permission from the city, which it does not have.

"We're in the county and want to stay that way," Butters said.

The land is currently an excavation site that has been slowly leveled, and from which materials such as top soil are sold, Butters said. The company currently is allowed to sell only material from the site.

Now that enough area is cleared, the company wants to expand to provide other landscaping materials with a cement batch plant, colored rocks and xeriscaping materials. They also are considering a small amount of RV storage and vehicle sales, he said.

Montgomery said the city believes the property needs to be annexed before being developed.

He said the issue goes back several decades in state law, when the state said each city needs to define what the city's expansion limits would be and where it could provide services to avoid confusion with other cities.

Services such as police and fire protection and water should be municipal services, Montgomery said, especially if the property is a small, isolated piece of unincorporated county.

But Butters said the city doesn't have the authority to annex the 34-acre property without the owner's permission. Although state law does allow some instances in which property can be annexed without a petition, Butters said the property doesn't meet those exceptions.

Butters said his attorney is meeting with the Ogden attorney's office to discuss the situation.

At the Tuesday meeting, Montgomery said the city is concerned there is nothing to screen the property and create an attractive view when coming into Ogden. He said the xeriscaping and berms Butters proposed are not a sufficient screen from Hinckley Drive and the FrontRunner.

Butters said the company is willing to work with reasonable requests but nothing will screen the property from Hinckley Drive because the road is much higher than the property.

Butters said the company has had a bad experience working with Montgomery in another city and said company officials do not want to annex, partly because they do not want to work with him.

He said Montgomery wants to guide development under his rules and vision, whether those rule are legally required or not.

"It's just one guy with too much power," he said.

Montgomery said the area has been in the city's eventual annexation plans since the 1970s and they want to now bring it into the city because it's being developed. The development would necessitate municipal services, making it a good time to annex, he said.

If the company didn't want to build on the land, Montgomery said, the annexation wouldn't happen.

Building on the land is part of recovering the investment the company made when purchasing the land, Butters said. C.E. Butters plans to get only water through the city, even after building, he said.

The county has no preference about Butters' application other than following the law regarding the Ogden annexation, said Chris Allred, Weber County deputy attorney. Allred said he is going to more extensively review the laws and see if the C.E. Butters property can be annexed without a petition. If it can't, the planning commission can approve the permit.

Commissioner Jannette Borklund excused herself from hearing the item because she works for Ogden City Planning.

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