Ogden officials reject plans to add townhouses to the Bingham Fort area | government
OGDEN – A controversial proposal to build more townhouses to the west of an existing townhouse cluster taking shape on the northwest corner of Second Street and Wall Boulevard goes into the trash can.
Many residents of the old Bingham Fort area had opposed the plans, fearing that the additional development would detract from the area’s historic character, and one of their leaders was delighted to respond to the Ogden City Council’s decision.
“We’re just so grateful that the neighbors, the community and the city council are coming together to see the value of Second Street beyond multi-family development,” said Tammy Creeger, who lives near the proposed building site and has campaigned against the plans had Wednesday.
Developer Shawn Strong, who has been trying to move plans forward for around two years, said he plans to abandon plans after Tuesday’s 5-2 vote against his efforts. “I’m going away so it’s pretty much dead,” he told the standard examiner.
Strong is in the process of completing a 30-city housing estate on the corner of Second Street and Wall Boulevard. This work will continue and the new houses should be ready by the end of the year.
But he had sought a perimeter of 3.8 acres immediately west of it, much of it vacant, so he could add 43 more townhouses and also include a historic home in the area in the proposal to create a total of 44 units. First, however, he needed the city council’s assistance to amend the town planning document for the area to accommodate the higher density building he proposed, and officials rejected Motion 5-2. Then they rejected the also necessary Rezone request 7-0.
Councilor Richard Hyer, who opposed Strong’s plans, expressed concern that allowing denser housing, the townhouses, would change the character of the neighborhood. The sector is largely dominated by single-family homes, many of which date back to the arrival of the first members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who settled the area from the mid to late 19th century.
“I really believe that further increases in density in the area will be detrimental to this quality of life. It doesn’t stabilize the neighborhood,” said Hyer.
Deanna Peterson, one of several speakers before the city council, shared Creeger’s concern that Strong’s development would change the nature of the area for the worse. Peterson lives in a house on land that Strong wanted to include in his zoning plans, but the woman announced at the meeting on Tuesday that she had preferred to sell the land to him longer.
Townhouses, she said, were “a dozen, but historic sites like this one weren’t.”
City councilor Angela Choberka, on the other hand, noted the need for more living space. She and Councilor Marcia White voted against the motion to deny Strong’s request to amend the city’s planning documents to reflect his proposal.
“I know that we are in this serious need of just finding additional apartments for everyone,” said Choberka.
Another local resident, Julie Van Orden, expressed her support for Strong’s plans, noting that not all corners of the neighborhood fall into the historic category. Some houses are from the 19th century, yes, but there are other more modern houses as well as businesses. “It’s a complete mess,” she said.
Likewise, Dustin Peterson, a real estate agent who worked with Strong, has taken a more critical look at the neighborhood. “Something has to happen to this area because it’s tainted,” he said.
Strong said he was under contract to purchase the land necessary for his plans. However, the completion of the deal was contingent on receiving the new zone he needed.
In the course of the actions of the city council, he foresees few changes to improve what he believes is depraved quality of part of the housing stock in the area. “I envision these houses to be in the same state they are in for the next 10 years,” he said.