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Ogden City mulling changes to historic Stockyard Exchange building

By Deborah Wilber - | Sep 19, 2022

Deborah Wilber, Standard-Examiner

Ogden's historic Stockyard Exchange building is pictured Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.

OGDEN — The Ogden City Planning Commission is seeking big changes to the historic Stockyard Exchange building to incentivize developers to take on a potentially costly renovation of the building, which has been out of use since the 1980s.

In a City Council work session last Tuesday, council members expressed concerns with proposed amendments to design standards in the Business Exchange-Historic Zone, a small area on Ogden’s west side consisting of three parcels of land.

“This is the only zone in the city that is BEH and it is for this building and we’re going to deviate from the standards,” Councilman Richard Hyer said.

Among proposed amendments for restoration of the existing building plus an addition for a restaurant is increase in maximum building height and reduced parking requirements.

Parking and building height were of particular concern to city council members. Councilwoman Marcia White said shared parking in the area as proposed could be an issue, with heavy traffic at other nearby businesses such as Ogden’s Own Distillery.

“Having a lot of parking down there is sign of success,” Ogden City Planning Manager Barton Brierley said. “It’s exciting.”

According to Brierley, the highest use of parking in the area occurs in the evening, which would provide spaces for the future building during off-peak hours.

In an attempt to alleviate potential parking issues, a parking management plan is being proposed, which could include bike storage, bus passes, employee ride share or an employee shuttle.

Enable Utah, located just east of the Stockyard Exchange building, manages employee parking and travel with a direct route to the facility.

“If they implemented required parking, they would have a parking lot and no project,” Brierley said of the roughly 200 spaces mandated under current zone standards.

With BEH zone design standards including a maximum building height of 20 feet, the planning commission is asking the city council to consider a building measuring 45 feet in the front with a 15-foot set back bringing the total rear height of the building to 60 feet.

As is, the Stock Exchange building stands at 27.5 feet, a height which Brierley said would be of little benefit to any developer who would need extra rental space to make up for costly renovations of the historic building.

Brierley said the commission would like to offer additional height to a developer as an incentive due to an excess of resources needed to bring the building up to code.

Zone restrictions on height, established long after the building was erected, were reportedly put in place to keep the Stockyard Exchange building the focal point of the district as well as keeping developers from obstructing people’s views.

Councilwoman Angela Choberka said she is concerned with the lack of fairness in allowing an increase in height for the Stock Exchange building when the only other two buildings located in the BEH zone were not allowed an increase in height.

If approved, the amendment would give existing developments the opportunity to build higher.

Historic design standards not up for debate, however, include clerestory windows, building shape and building materials. According to the National Parks Service, which maintains the National Register of Historic Places, additions to historic buildings should differentiate old work from new work.

“You don’t want it to look like it’s a false historic building,” Brierley said.

Councilman Richard Hyer said he is reluctant to support any proposed changes without having renderings to look at first. Renderings for the future building are expected to be ready for viewing by the time the proposed amendments go before the Landmarks Commission on Thursday.

City Council Vice Chair Luis Lopez said he didn’t feel as though he had enough information on the project, adding that what details he does have make him nervous.

Members of the City Council will receive a copy of renderings for consideration along with the Landmarks Commission’s recommendation before they take a vote.


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