OGDEN — A rural intersection in western Weber County is potentially on track to become a commercial hub serving the growing area, to the chagrin of some worried the rural character of the zone is at risk.

The intersection of 4700 West and 1150 South, which is the western extension of Ogden’s 12th Street, had already been identified by county planners as the site of a future “community village center” serving the unincorporated West Weber and Taylor areas. As is, the Country Corner, a gas station and convenience store, sits at the northeast corner of the crossing, while the other three corners are still undeveloped.

But Weber County commissioners on Tuesday took the designation a step further despite the concerns of some, voting 3-0 to rezone 10 acres of agricultural land at the southwest corner of the intersection to permit restaurants, gas stations, retailers and other commercial uses. They also changed the county’s general plan to allow for perhaps 45 acres of commercial development in all on the four corners at the crossing, up from an earlier incarnation of the planning document that called for just seven to 15 acres.

Dennis Costesso, owner of the 10 acres that was rezoned, argued for the change, noting that other land at the intersection already had commercial designations. Commissioners on Sept. 11 rezoned 22 acres of agricultural land on the southeast corner of the intersection to permit commercial development. Some 3.5 acres on the northeast corner of the crossing, where the Country Corner gas station and convenience store sits, had already been zoned for commercial use.

Story continues below map.

{iframe src=”https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/1/embed?mid=1GDAGyPgHkq1bJyPhKvmuzB5PjQ361bKI” width=”100%” height=”480”}{/iframe}

“In order for the commission to be consistent in their rulings, I should have the same right to have my property rezoned as has already been granted to others,” Costesso said. Though no specific plans are in the works, he said in his application for the rezone that he envisions a “community village center” at the location at some point, similar to the West Haven City Hall structure at 4150 S. 3900 West.

Still, development in largely rural western Weber County has been a sticky issue and regular focus of debate, with some now living there worried the influx of more homes and traffic will undermine the rural charm of the area. Now add more businesses to the potential mix, though no specific commercial development plans are in the works, Tuesday’s action notwithstanding.

Greg Bell, a member of the Western Weber Planning Commission, which advises county commissioners, expressed concern about suddenly expanding the area open to commercial development to 45 acres. The planning body recommended against the 10-acre rezone and the adjustment to the general plan, calling first for a more comprehensive look at development trends in the area and, possibly, creation of a brand new general plan. In addressing county commissioners, Bell proposed more deliberative outreach to the public before any action to get more input, though a public hearing was held on Costesso’s request.

“Jumping from seven to 14 to 45 (acres) is quite a big jump, and it’s the quantity that we were concerned with of commercial that is going forth without another attempt to go out and reach out into the community,” he said.

Officials had already expanded the area open to commercial development at the intersection to 22 acres. Tuesday’s proposal called for expanding that to 45 acres, and Bell hinting at the specter of yet another increase down the road. “Then where does it end?” he said.

Douglas Hansen, a resident of the West Weber area who addressed commissioners, said the issue is the pace at which growth is occurring. Many living in the area, he said, prize the rural feel and open spaces of the area, increasingly encroached on by new subdivisions.

“It’s not that we don’t want growth, don’t want commercial,” he said. Rather, those living in the area want “slow, steady growth.”

County Commissioners Scott Jenkins and James Ebert countered, saying market forces should be more of a determinant in whether commercial development goes forward.

“It’s like we want to put everybody’s property and everybody’s property rights to a general vote, and that’s not the way we rule,” Jenkins said.

“If the market is growing and allowing this to happen, who am I or who are you or who is the planning commission to tell a property owner along that area that they can’t maximize their property?” Ebert said. Moreover, focusing business in certain areas prevents scattered and haphazard commercial development.

Dan Baugh, owner of the 22-acre parcel at the 4700 West-1150 South crossing that was rezoned commercial in September, said he had been trying to broaden the allowable uses of that plot of land for years, unsuccessfully until last September. He envisions a grocery store, hardware store, convenience store or a restaurant at some point, perhaps, though he doesn’t have a specific proposal in the works.

The debate over the future of the 4700 West-1150 South crossing isn’t new, according to Bell, who lives in western Weber County.

“This has always been a hot topic, this intersection. It’s been up for debate for several years and nobody has been able to come to a consensus on what’s to be done with this,” he said.

With Tuesday’s decision, about 35.5 acres in all is zoned for commercial development at the crossing and around 9.5 acres more may potentially be rezoned for commercial use, per the revamped general plan. The action potentially opens up all four corners of the 4700 West-1150 South crossing to commercial development.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!