OGDEN — The Ogden City Council unanimously shot down a proposal that would have allowed a Texas company to run a food testing lab inside one of the city’s tax-incentivized redevelopment areas.
A petition filed by Doug Shepherd, on behalf of Food Safety Net Services, asked the city to amend a zoning ordinance to allow the lab on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and 20th Street — a property within the city’s 60-acre, tax-incentivized River Project Area that sits on the northern edge of downtown.
The area is zoned “Mixed Use,” which is designed to “create a pedestrian friendly environment with uses that generate and promote foot traffic,” according to council documents. City planning staff initially advised the Planning Commission recommend a denial of the FSNS plan because a food testing lab, while having little negative impact on noise or odor, doesn’t promote significant pedestrian activity.
The Planning Commission, though, ultimately recommended the council approve the plan because the River section between Lincoln and Wall avenues is likely not changing in the immediate future. Much of the land there is encumbered, with a large portion of the space taken up by the Beehive Self Storage facility.
The council voted 5-0 against the plan, with several members of the body saying it conflicted with the city’s vision for the River area.
The once vacant and blighted patch of land includes apartments, town homes, restaurants and retail shops. Since the River Project Area was established in 2002, businesses like Gear:30, America First Credit Union, Kneaders, Slackwater and several others have opened there, along with housing complexes like The Meadows at Riverbend and The View on 20th apartments.
According to the River master plan, the city sought to create an “attractive urban environment,” featuring high-density housing and shopping options clustered within walking distance of each other.
Council member Rich Hyer was on the Ogden Planning Commission when the development was being planned.
“This is not going to help the River ... development,” he said of the food testing lab plan. “While I don’t think it would be detrimental, it also is not going to add to the critical mass and to the uses that are expected there.”
Council member Angela Choberka said several constituents who own property in the development expressed concerns about the potential food lab use.
Dave Goode, President of Ogden-based GOODE Ski Technologies, owns the building FSNS planned to move into. Goode said the company would have immediately brought 15 new jobs to the area, potentially topping out at 50 employees. He said FSNS also planned to do $2 million worth of renovations on the building.
Council member Ben Nadolski said the jobs and building investment piqued is interest, but ultimately decided there was more to consider, saying, “In order to achieve (the River Bend) vision, you kind of need to stick to the plan.”