OGDEN -- The beginnings of a solution to the 3 1/2-year-long fight over development of Powder Mountain, including the fate of a proposed town, may be in sight.
In the latest development in a saga involving resort developers, nearby residents and the county, a rezone request first brought to the Ogden Valley Planning Commission in 2006 is coming in modified form before the Weber County Commission at a June 1 public hearing.
Although Weber commissioners are hopeful a compromise can be reached between county and developers, they say public input will weigh heavily on their decision.
"I really am at a wait-and-see point," said Weber County Commissioner Jan Zogmaister.
"I've watched the whole thing progress for a couple years, so I am willing to hear it, but I also really would like to hear the input from the citizens who will be directly affected by this. ... The whole thing has been to represent the citizens in this agreement."
During the lengthy process, Weber County commissioners have continued to work toward a compromise with developers.
The results of compromise effort -- a memorandum of understanding -- will be discussed at the upcoming meeting.
The memorandum allows for 2,800 dwelling units, 1,600 more than the planning commission recommended.
The planning commission is only a recommending body, said Planning Director Rob Scott, and the final decision is up to county commissioners.
Commissioner Craig Dearden, the commissioner who has worked most on the issue, said the number is down significantly from what developers wanted two years ago.
The memorandum would stop fluctuating density numbers, he said.
The memorandum would provide for a phased development, which Zogmaister said is an important part of the density aspect that wasn't there originally.
Developing in two phases allows for some immediate development but also creates a checkpoint and a way to review, she said.
Nearly 1,500 units are in phase one of the memorandum.
To continue with phase two, developers would have to pay for a traffic safety/impact study, work to get the Utah Department of Transportation to make recommended changes and put in a second access if necessary.
Phase two allows for an additional 1,300 units.
The memorandum states density will be limited by infrastructure and no density will be allowed until developers show the necessary infrastructure is in place, Scott said.
To develop to full build-out, the owners would have to donate $1.35 million to the county for open land preservation.
If the donations aren't made at the required checkpoints, the county can deny further building permits.
However, part of the memorandum has already hit a snag with a 1.5 percent transfer fee, which is more than the designated donation amount, probably because of a conflict with Senate Bill 161, said Deputy County Attorney Dave Wilson.
He said the county wanted to apply the fee toward open land purchase and road improvements, but the bill says the benefit of the fee has to go to improving the property in the development.
Wilson said there is an argument to be made that the road benefits the property, but the county is still not sure whether that would legally hold.
However, he said Powder Mountain and Snowbasin have indicated they would work with the Legislature to reverse the law.
If the commission and developers execute the memorandum, both agree to stay pending lawsuits.
If a development agreement is completed and executed, the controversial petition to incorporate Powder Mountain town will be withdrawn.
"They have to withdraw the incorporation petition for anything constructive to happen," said Eden resident Drew Johnson, who is one of the residents involved in the litigation.
He said getting rid of the incorporation is a must for the residents battling the developers, although some are now willing to give in on the zoning.
Residents are so stressed by the yearslong battle that they will do almost anything to make it go away and avoid being in the town, he said.
Many people still feel they are getting bullied into allowing more density and construction than they or the county wanted, he said.
And the developers do have an out from the memorandum.
There is some common ownership between Powder Mountain and the nearby 1,500-acre Eden Heights.
Scott said they are working on a pre-approval process that might involve the new resort zone for the Eden Heights area.
Developers can withdraw from the memorandum within 15 days of either the approval or the denial of the Eden Heights application for the rezone.
Johnson said that provision feels like the developers are threatening the county and residents unless they get everything asked for.
Dearden said no matter what happens, he is hoping they will know on June 1 what direction the saga is headed.
He said he has been working to find a middle ground for two years, but doesn't want to do that at the expense of residents.
Telephone calls to Pronaia, the developers' representative, were not returned.