Marriott-Slaterville residents direct ire at Ogden as BDO plans advance
MARRIOTT-SLATERVILLE — The walls of new warehouse facilities taking shape at Business Depot Ogden are going up and neighbors across the street in Marriott-Slaterville are clamoring, weighing possible counteraction.
The walls measure up to 45-feet high and, sitting across from their homes along the east side of 1200 West, they now block the view of the Wasatch Front mountains to the east. Being so tall, they also leave many homes in the shade until around 9:30 each morning.
“The buildings might as well be built around us because that’s what it feels like,” said Curt Hodson, one of the impacted homeowners. Business Depot Ogden sits in Ogden on the east side of 1200 West and is owned by the City of Ogden. Accordingly, the ire of the homeowners on the west side of the street, actually in Marriott-Slaterville, is directed at the neighboring city.
“You’re never going to see another sunrise,” said Michelle Hodson, Curt Hodson’s wife.
Before the new warehouses went up — not all have been built — homeowners along the west side of 1200 West had a panoramic mountain view stretching from South Ogden to North Ogden, Michelle Hodson said. Not anymore.
The change was anticipated. Development of the vacant 42.4-acre parcel of land on the west side of the BDO industrial park started in earnest last March. It’s a narrow strip of land running along 1200 West from 400 North to the south past West 2nd Street and seven new warehouses are to be built in the space.
Now that the walls are going up, though, they’ve become reality, not just a plan for off in the future, and discontent and ire are stirring. On Friday, Kerry Wayne, who’s spoken loudly against the plans from the get go, asked the Utah Department of Commerce’s Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman to intervene.
“That is obscene, to say the least, what they’ve done,” Wayne said. “This is just an affront to the neighborhood.”
In his request, supplied to the Standard-Examiner, Wayne maintains that earlier plans outlining development along 1200 West contemplated “low-profile offices for businesses such as a call center.” The larger warehouse structures actually taking shape result “in a taking or inverse condemnation” of the property rights of homeowners across 1200 West, he wrote.
The development has caused impacted homeowners’ property values to plummet, Wayne’s application reads, “and residents must be compensated for this taking and infringement on our quiet enjoyment.” The Office of Property Rights Ombudsman must review the application. If the office gets involved, its reps would serve as neutral mediators or arbitrators in trying to resolve any dispute between the Marriott-Slaterville homeowners and Ogden and BDO reps.
Hodson, for his part, would like the new warehouse buildings to be torn down to give him his view back. Barring that, he wants financial compensation — like many of his neighbors — for what he says is the decreased value of his home brought on by the development.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, meanwhile, says the BDO plans meet Ogden zoning rules and requirements and comply with guidelines that paved the way for the city’s takeover of the BDO property in 2000. The land had served as a U.S. military defense depot before that.
“I feel bad that people feel it infringes on them,” Caldwell said.
Reps from the Boyer Company, which manages the BDO property, are mindful of the Marriott-Slaterville residents’ concerns and have done what they can to address their complaints, Caldwell said. Aside from the wall, neighbors have complained of the noise and early morning lights from work crews and wafting dust from the construction site.
Likewise, Aaron Austad, the BDO general manager, said the height of the buildings taking shape meets applicable guidelines and that the plans faced scrutiny from Ogden planners and the Ogden City Council. “It sounds like they weren’t expecting those buildings to be as high as they are,” he said.
Like Caldwell, he’s not sure what Wayne is talking about when he refers to documents that dictate that the buildings must be smaller. “I don’t know that they have any sort of a claim there,” Austad said.
At any rate, Austad points to the planned landscaping between 1200 West and the new warehouses, meant to serve as a buffer for residents to the west.
A berm is planned along with trees, creating the feel of a “nice park area,” he said. The end result, he hopes, is a better view for the homeowners than an open field.
LIKE A PRISON
Bill Morris, the Marriott-Slaterville city attorney, sympathizes with the homeowners and backs them. “I support the community and we’re looking at their rights and how they’ve been affected by this,” he said.
He was involved in talks in the late 1990s about setting guidelines for development of the BDO property, before the U.S. government handed the property over to Ogden. Like Wayne, he too maintains that the warehouse structures at issue were never meant to be as big as they area.
“What (developers) have done is totally different from what the residents were led to believe,” Morris said. The impact to the Marriott-Slaterville residents, he went on, is heartbreaking.
The impacted residents, meantime, alternately curse the new development and lament their future with the large warehouses looming over them across the street. The shade of the warehouses will make 1200 West icy and dangerous in the winter, they maintain, while others worry that hit-and-miss satellite internet service will fizzle away altogether once all the tall walls of the planned new warehouses are up.
Her home, says Karleen Warner, was “a little piece of heaven before this came in.” Now it’s something altogether different.
“It’s just like being in prison,” she said.