OGDEN — In an effort to develop a more urban, walkable vibe downtown, Ogden City has banned several land uses there that have long been allowed.
The city has banned drive-up windows, outdoor tire displays, outdoor storage units, warehouses, convenience stores and service stations in its Central Business District. The district includes all properties from 20th to 27th streets between Wall and Adams avenues.
Last week, the Ogden City Council voted unanimously to approve the measure.
Ogden Planning Manager Greg Montgomery said the banned uses were areas of concern because of their potential to interfere with future goals the city has for the downtown area. The city is developing a comprehensive update to its CBD master plan, expected to be completed sometime next year. Generally speaking, Montgomery said, the city wants the downtown area to have a 24-hour presence, high-density housing, retail and plenty of employment and entertainment options.
Montgomery described the CBD district as a “key economic driver” that supports the rest of the city with its strong sales tax base and high taxable value of individual properties. He said the city is trying to “create life on the streets” of downtown and that items on the banned list weren’t contributing to that effort.
Several establishments that would fall under the ban have operating in Ogden for decades, Montgomery said. Existing uses will be grandfathered in and allowed to continue downtown, even if ownership changes hands. Montgomery said some existing businesses would now get tabbed with a “legal nonconforming” use status. That tag is tied to the land a business operates on, not to business ownership. So in theory, an existing convenience store would be allowed to continue to operate downtown as long as someone wants to run the business.
The ordinance changed stemmed largely from the city’s Planning Commission reluctantly approving a plan for a downtown convenience store in May. Montgomery said because the use was allowed by ordinance, the commission had no choice but to allow it.
Subsequently, the Planning Division posted a notice of a pending ordinance to remove certain uses, like convenience stores, in the CBD zone in order to promote the urban, pedestrian-friendly character intended for the district.