NORTH OGDEN — A proposal to build up the mountainside beyond the northern city limits of North Ogden is again on the table, raising questions about how far city leaders and the public are comfortable allowing development.
The proposal put forward by Westside Investments, headed by Randy Marriott, calls for construction of as many as 626 housing units on a 200.6-acre swath of open land in the shadow of Ben Lomond Peak, north of Nebo Avenue. The land is now outside the city and Westside is seeking annexation into North Ogden, presuming the sides can reach middle ground on the sort of development to allow.
“It’s by no means a done deal at this point,” said Jon Call, city attorney for North Ogden. And North Ogden officials have plenty of questions and concerns, notably with regard to the sort of housing density to permit north of the corridor containing the Rocky Mountain Power transmission towers, which bisect the land in question.
“I think the key thing in my mind is how do we preserve the beauty of that mountainside? I think it’s part of the character of the city,” Mayor Neal Berube said at a Nov. 24 North Ogden City Council meeting on the issue.
The area offers a dramatic view of the Weber County valley down below and the neighborhood just to the south of the proposed new development is largely filled in with newer, high-end homes. A sampling of homes along and below Nebo Avenue show values of anywhere from around $700,000 on up beyond $1.5 million, according to Weber County property records.
Officials made no decisions, and Westside Investments is to return to the city council with a revamped proposal factoring their concerns and direction, possibly as soon as next Tuesday. But Westside appears eager to develop the property. Westside and city officials have discussed the proposal — now called the North Hills project but previously known as the North Cove project — on and off dating to at least 2018.
“We’re going to try to do our best to come up with whatever your consensus is. But I would beg you not to be overly restrictive,” Bruce Baird, the developer’s representative, told Berube and the City Council. Westside reps didn’t immediately respond to a query from the Standard-Examiner seeking additional comment on the matter.
Up the mountain toward Ben Lomond Peak is about the only area left for expansion for North Ogden. The city is hemmed in to the west by Pleasant View, to the south by Ogden and to the east by the Wasatch Front mountains.
‘A LOT OF SNOW’The North Hills development as currently configured calls for 159 housing units spread across nearly 42 acres north of the transmission lines. Another 467 or so units would be built on 106 acres south of that, down the mountain. A portion of the 200.6-acre property wouldn’t be developed, including the land in the transmission corridor and the extreme northern expanse of the property. The housing units would be a mix of single-family homes and townhomes.
Call said some of the concern of city leaders stems from the sort of resources the city would need to dedicate to take care of snow removal that high up, where snowfall is heavier. “You’re going to get a lot of snow. It’s going to be very difficult to get up there,” said Councilperson Charlotte Ekstrom.
Mindful of that, the plans call for the area north of the transmission corridor to be part of a homeowners association, thus relieving the city of responsibility of managing road maintenance that far up, according to Baird. HOA fees, instead, would cover the cost. “Killing everything above the power corridor is an awful big hit to a project like this. That’s 20-25% of the project,” he said.
Still, officials are leery. Councilperson Philip Swanson proposed allowing 80-90 housing units north of the transmission corridor, less than the 159 now proposed but more than the 42 allowed under the Weber County planning guidelines currently in effect there.
Either way, Councilperson Ryan Barker thinks the city should annex the land. If the city doesn’t, the land could still be developed, but per Weber County guidelines, keeping North Ogden out of the loop on the nature of development in the area.