EDEN — A proposed concrete mix plant in Eden drew plenty of questions, criticism and opposition at a public hearing Tuesday.
And in the end, the Ogden Valley Planning Commission, an advisory body to Weber County commissioners and the sponsor of the meeting, heeded the concerns, voting unanimously to recommend denial of the proposal.
“This is a special part of our little valley and I ask not for it to become an industrial zone,” said Bryan Smith, among the many locals who addressed the planning commission.
John Lewis, chairman of the group, recognized that growth is looming, here and elsewhere in the state, which will necessitate concrete production. But in explaining his opposition, he noted that the open space of the Eden area is one of its key attributes.
“If we screw that up, everything else is lost,” he said. The recommendation to deny the developer’s request for a rezone of the project site, needed to allow the facility, drew light applause from those on hand.
Twenty-six people in all addressed the body at the hearing, held inside the gym at Snowcrest Junior High School, which abuts the site of the proposed facility on an undeveloped parcel at 4720 E. 2650 North. Most raised questions and expressed concern and most voiced outright opposition to the proposal, which would sit on a 14-acre plot bisected by the North Fork of the Ogden River, the source of part of the material for the concrete mix.
Though recommending denial of the rezone request, Tuesday’s action doesn’t necessarily end things. Weber County commissioners have the final say and unless the developer withdraws the plans, they now go to them for consideration, probably within four weeks. The land in question is currently zoned for agricultural and residential use.
The concerns of those speaking out ran the gamut, from worries about the impact to air and water to potential dangers to Snowcrest students. Many expressed concern about noise from the operation, which would house a rock crusher. Others said a concrete plant didn’t fit in the community, a stopping point for visitors to the Nordic Valley and Powder Mountain snow resorts and elsewhere.
A Minnesota-based entity named Levanta filed the application in late May for the project, called Sustainable Valley Development, or Eden Ready Mix. In addressing the group, Robert Edwards, one of the project representatives, cited the need for concrete mix for construction and development. The materials “do need to come from somewhere,” he said.
What’s more, developing the product locally would preclude the need to transport it in from Ogden or Box Elder County, where other concrete plants are located. That, Edwards said, would actually improve air quality and ease road congestion by reducing truck traffic.
Still, even Weber County Planning Division staffers questioned the project and recommended denial of the proposal, in large part because it could put a dent in plans to further develop the Eden area’s tourist potential. Charlie Ewert, principle planner in the planning division, expressed concerns about truck traffic, noise and more and had proposed a long list of conditions if officials decide to allow the sought-after rezone, permitting the plans to move forward.