Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Powder Mountain Incorporation Dispute Continues To Simmer In Utah; "Stop Powder Mtn. Town" Yard Signs Stolen From Yards In Ogden Valley

Update August 14th: The Citizens' Rights committee, which initially had secured permission to have a booth at the Ogden Valley Balloon & Artists Festival, suddenly had that permission withdrawn.

The proposed incorporation of Powder Mountain into a town, once considered a "done deal" because of a loophole in the law, apparently simmers on. And the latest shot was fired by an unknown person on Monday August 3rd, 2009.

The Ogden Standard-Examiner reports that an unknown thief stole more than 20 yard signs from properties along the east side of Powder Mountain Road sometime before 6 A.M. on Tuesday August 4th. This follows closely on the heels of an earlier incident where several residents whose homes border the Wolf Creek golf course had put signs in their backyards lining a fairway, but found only empty stakes on Sunday August 2nd. Kathy Dowell, one of the homeowners near the golf course, later found the missing signs in the bushes on the side of the course.

And these are not the first such incidents. Another local resident, Ruthann Halay, said the signs peppering the front yards of almost every house in the proposed town have been a target since they went up. And they're getting tired of it - not just because they feel their free speech rights are being impinged upon, but because the signs cost money.

Suspicion initially fell on the resort itself, but a Wolf Creek representative said none of its employees removed the signs. A list of suspects has been provided to the Weber County Sheriff's Office.

Visit the PowderMountainCitizensRights website for more information. The Weber County Forum also weighs in HERE.

Under a now-superseded 2007 Utah law, any group that owned a majority of land and property value in an area with more than 100 people could draw boundaries and form a municipality without input from residents. Powder Mountain owners filed for incorporation in January 2007. A new law was later passed which made the requirements more stringent, but Powder Mountain's incorporation application was grandfathered. Many residents have since been fighting the town's creation and appointment of town government officials without an election, since the incorporation would swallow up much of the present unincorporated community of Eden. Read this series of previous posts for more background on how this situation evolved.

In reviewing the comments posted to both the Standard-Examiner and the WC Forum, there's a person identified as Pro-Powderville who strongly favors incorporation. However, the individual doesn't make the case for incorporation; instead, the person denigrates those opposing incorporation as a bunch of "liberal stoners". But WC Forum caught this person using a proxy server and rejected the comment. Hmmm...who's really behind all of this?

Another Standard-Examiner comment provides some answers. The resort owner is Western America Holdings, LLC, made up of the Daniels Group (Lee A. Daniels-Park City, Scott E. Doughman, and John Wadsworth-Tahitian Noni founder, Utah county) and the Cox Group (Mark Arnold, Craig Cox, and Philip Cox).

The incorporation petition sponsors are Mark E. Arnold-Layton, Lee A. Daniels-Park City, and Edward F. Bates-SLC.

The incorporation petition signers residing in the "town" are six members of the Cobabe family (Alvin, June, Aleta, Jamie & Doug Lythgoe, and LaVar Lowther) and Rick & Terri Stearman.

The incorporation petition signers owning property, but not living, in the "town" are Clair and Shawna (Cobabe) VanMeeteren - Eden, Wayne and Gayla (Cobabe) Folkman-Littleton CO, Rulon & Kathy Jones - Liberty, Eric Smith - Hawaii, Robert McCulloch - San Diego, The Fortius Group LLC (David and Jessica Barlow - Alpine and Colby Sanders - Layton), and Pronia Capital Partners/GY Property Holdings (Gene Yamagata - Las Vegas, David Senior - Provo, Steve H. Nielsen II - Lehi. Gene Yamagata has the deep pockets of this group. He owns Morris Travel as well as a huge company in Japan and has extensive holdings in Las Vegas.)

This is not to suggest that any of the above-named individuals vandalized the signs. But could one of them be spamming the comment boards with derogatory information about those who oppose incorporation?


Pistol Pete said...

The latest news on the Powder Mountain issue is the Ogden Valley Balloon Festival committee yesterday suddenly withdrew the booth permit for the Citizen's Rights Group at the weekend event. This same committee not only had approved the booth, but waived the normal booth fee.

It appears that all it took was a telephone call from a Powder Mountain employee to the committee for them to flip flop.

This demonstrates again that Powder Mountain will stop at nothing to deny the citizens their voices.

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