West Central Weber County General Plan

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Blue Explanation Point.png The West Central Weber County General Plan has been re-formatted from the original for Internet accessibility, and may contain inadvertent errors and/or omissions. It is provided as a public convenience, for informational purposes only. Official Weber County Code Ordinances, in their original format, are available through the Office of the County Clerk/Auditor and at the County Library Branches.



The West Central Weber County General Plan process began Summer 2001, with the inventory and mapping of existing conditions completed by Weber County Planning staff. In August, the Consultant Team was retained to begin the General Planning process, which included involvement of the Townships of Reese, West Weber, Warren and Weber, the neighborhood of Taylor, and Weber County. Figure 1-1 General Plan Area illustrates the extent of the study area and the Townships’ boundaries.

Figure 1-1 General Plan Area

In late Winter 2001, Weber County was approached by the COALITION FOR UTAH’S FUTURE, a Utah Nonprofit Organization, and its counterpart Envision Utah, expressing a desire to support the process with funding and technical expertise. That offer was accepted and in January 2002, Envision Utah became a partner in the process of developing a West Central Weber County General Plan. Envision Utah’s primary role was to guide the community-widze planning workshops, provide educational materials, and assure that a range of development scenarios were examined, explored, and evaluated.

Weber County Community Profile


Weber County’s population grew approximately two percent each year between 1990 and 2000 when it reached 197,541. Projecting that average rate of growth out to 2002, an estimated population of 205,522 occurs in 2002. Most of the growth in population occurred in the urban areas of the County. The area of West Central Weber County illustrated in Figure 1-1 represents approximately two percent of the total Weber County population.

Population for the West Central Weber County area is based on findings of the land use inventory and housing supply. Using average household sizes determined by the 2000 Census -- 3.37 for the West Weber area and 3.26 for all other areas – an approximate 2002 population of 4307 was calculated. The projected 2020 population of approximately 6217 is also based on average household size, combined with an average growth rate calculated from trends in the issuance of building permits. For the purposes of this planning effort, a future 2020 population of 6217 is used. (Weber County Planning, 2002).

Employment and Income

According to 2000 census data, Weber County employment is focused primarily in four areas: services (26.6%), trade (22.0 percent), government (21.4 percent), and manufacturing (16.9 percent). Average county-wide per capita income (1999) is estimated at $23,160 per year, which represents a 13.5 percent increase over 1995, and nine percent over the state average. Average household adjusted gross income was estimated at over $35,000 in 1999. (U.S. Bureau of Census, Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, Demographic and Economic Analysis, 2002.)

Planning For West Central Weber County's Future

Purpose of the Plan

A general plan is a guide document adopted by a community to help decision-makers evaluate development proposals and implement the desired future of the community. It does not address specific pieces of property in detail. It looks in general at a larger area and determines the kind of land uses (residential, commercial, manufacturing, parks), transportation systems (roads, highways, trails), and the many other elements that make up a community. It generally has a life of 5 to 10 years, but it does look at least 20 years into the future to anticipate how the community will change. Every 5 to 10 years, the General Plan needs to be revisited and changed to reflect new information and changing community priorities.

Developing a General Plan is an opportunity to take a look at the community today, determine what is good about it and what needs to change to make it better, and to look into the future and “plan” for anticipated changes. When the General Plan is adopted by the community, zoning ordinances and other means of implementing the plan should be revised and updated as necessary.

In the following chapters, a “snapshot” of West Central Weber County is presented as an existing condition. Input from residents is analyzed, a desired future condition is defined, and recommendations are presented to assist in implementing the plan.

Public Involvement In The Planning Process

West Central Weber County residents were actively involved in the General Plan process in a number of ways – representatives from the four townships and the Taylor Planning Committee, a community-wide issues identification meeting, two community-wide planning workshops, a Draft General Plan public open house, and briefings before the Township Planning Commissions and the Weber County Commission.

Township Representatives

Representatives from the Townships of Reese, West Weber, Warren and Weber, and the Taylor Planning Committee met frequently and provided oversight to the plan. Additionally, they were actively involved in the public meetings and workshops.

Public Scoping Meeting – Issues Identification

On October 4, 2001, a public “scoping” meeting was held at the West Weber Elementary School. Over 120 individuals signed-in and were provided with an introduction to the process and schedule. Attendants were broken-down into three smaller groups, which were facilitated by members of the Consultant Team and Weber County Planning staff. An additional “scoping” session was conducted with members of the Township Planning Commissions, and several comments were received via mail, email and telephone.

Development Scenarios Workshops

Participants in a workshop

On March 20 and 27, 2002 public workshops were held at the West Weber Elementary School. Using an aerial photograph and “chips” representing various land uses, participants formed small groups and developed growth scenarios by placing land use chips in locations throughout the West Central Weber County area. Chips represented various types and densities of housing, parks and open spaces, commercial development, and other optional land uses for consideration. ­­­­­Eighty individuals representing the four townships participated in the two workshops. At the conclusion of the workshops, the information was synthesized and assembled into two Alternative Growth Scenarios.

Alternative Growth Scenarios Open House

Two Alternative Growth Scenarios were presented in a public open house on May 22, 2002, again in the West Weber Elementary School. Fifty-eight individuals attended the meeting, and 38 written comments were returned either that evening or through the mail. Comments received from the open house were summarized and categorized, and incorporated into the West Central Weber County Draft General Plan, which was available for public review prior to public hearings before the Township Commissions and Weber County Commission.

Draft Plan Public Hearings

Weber County Township Commissions

A public hearing was held on July 11, 2002 before the four Weber County Township Planning Commissions. Subsequent to that meeting, at separate meetings, each township voted to recommend approval of the Plan with certain conditions that varied for each township. The Plan was then forwarded to the Weber County Commission for a public hearing and decision.

Weber County Commission

Weber County Commissioners held a public hearing on December 17, 2002 and heard public comment again on March 11, 2003.

Issues Identified During Public Meetings

Following is a summary of the key issues raised during those opportunities in which the community was asked to help identify issues to be addressed in the General Plan.

Agricultural Land Uses

When people say “Don’t change a thing, we like it the way it is”, they are generally referring to the open spaces resulting from the dominance of agriculture uses in West Central Weber County. Agriculture has been the primary use since the area was settled, and most people expressed a view that agriculture should continue to be the highest priority for the area. Participants cited an informal survey of selected residents who may or may not have been property owners in the Taylor area that yielded similar feelings, where between 96 and 98 percent of responses express a desire to maintain rural character and agricultural land.

Rural atmosphere is the quality most often expressed as desirable. When speaking about rural quality or atmosphere, people expressed a desire to preserve the openness of the area, the right to have animals on the property, and the agricultural uses and businesses in the area. The lack of curb and gutter along most streets is regarded as positive.

Streets, Roads and Highways, and Public Transportation

The proposed Legacy Highway extension into Weber County is the most controversial transportation issue in the area. Most people do not favor extension of the Highway; however, there are a few who do support it. Others are not comfortable with its proposed alignment, and state that at 5100 West and 12th Street in Taylor, the proposed highway will have a negative impact on nearby homes and their property values. They recommended stopping it at 300 South or even farther south.

The quiet nature of most rural roads is very desirable, though some feel that there is too much speeding on the narrow roads. Narrow roadways are sometimes considered dangerous for children boarding and de-boarding school buses, and there are often conflicts between fast moving cars and trucks, and slow moving farm vehicles.

Several people suggested that more east/west routes are needed rather than a north/south highway. People question the closure of 4300 South at the railroad tracks, and suggest that 900 South should be widened with turn lanes to 1900 West and that 2100 South should connect to the future Legacy Highway. Others suggested better access to the existing industrial area either by improvements to 1200 South or a secondary access along a new roadway or improvements to another east west route. It was also mentioned that when roads are repaired, there are frequent conflicts between the contractors and farmers, and often repairs are poorly made.

A few mentioned the desirability of the proposed commuter rail for the area in general, and the need for Utah Transit Authority bus service in the area.

Sewer Systems

Whether or not a sewer system is extended into part of West Central Weber County is also highly controversial. Some favor an extended sewer system because it would mean better development potential for their property, and others approve of sewer because it would have a positive effect on water quality. If the sewer system is extended, the opinion was expressed that the property owner should have a choice in connecting or not, and that it should not be forced onto anyone. The current State Health Department sewer hookup/septic tank exchange program means that in order to develop, the sewer must be expanded or existing septic tanks must be abandoned and traded-off to other areas where sewer is not currently available, and request that any use within 300 feet of the sewer be connected. Others oppose the sewer system because it suggests more and denser development, and because of the potentially higher fees.

Residential Uses

The current one-acre residential zoning dominant in the area is desired, as is the general concept of large lot development. Some feel residential development itself is not compatible with agricultural uses and are concerned about staying in business. Others say that property owners who do wish to develop need to have flexibility, and wish to explore options like cluster housing or conservation subdivisions where open spaces are preserved. Overall the preference is for a continuation of single-family residential development, not high-density development described as apartments or condominiums.

Commercial Uses

Limited commercial uses currently exist, and many people are very comfortable with the status quo. Others would like to see more commercial, particularly if it is concentrated with other services such as fire stations and schools, and if it is well-located and well-planned. Major intersections and corridors might be appropriate locations. Commercial uses can have a positive effect on tax base and services provided.

Park, Trails, and Community Facilities

Many people expressed a desire for developed public parks (with playing fields, pavilions, playgrounds, tennis courts), a variety of trails including pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian trails, recreation facilities such as a recreation center and other developed facilities, and a library. Some suggested that utility easements are good locations for trails and bike paths; others felt that canals are too dangerous for use as trails. The concept of a “river walk” was mentioned, but those with property directly on the river were opposed to trails development along the river. It was suggested that the river flood plain should be purchased and held in public ownership. It was mentioned that schools in the area are old, that they are not air conditioned, and that there are upgrades needed to structures. The need for a new junior high school was identified. Others were concerned that the number of students in the area may not justify a school.

Manufacturing and Industry

The need for clean, light industry was mentioned as a means of increasing tax base and paying for things like parks and open spaces. Heavy industry and specifically gravel pits are not desired, although a large area to the west already exists that does have very heavy industry.

Growth, Development and Property Rights

Even though change and growth are unwanted by many, others believe that growth is inevitable and that it needs to be planned and directed to best suit community needs and values. Even with growth and development, there is no desire to become an urban community.

There is concern that when existing land is sold, there is little control over what it will become. Some feel that growth should be managed and a specific rate of growth defined and adopted, and that if development occurs contractors and builders should be monitored so that agreements about water and roads are upheld. Developers are thought to be making development too attractive for farmers and ranchers to sell land for development.

One consideration regarding growth is availability of water -- potable and irrigation water, development of secondary water systems, maintenance of ditches, and water quality. It was mentioned that an overall water plan is needed in the area, that ditches need to be cleaned and maintained more often, that ditches should not be piped, and that mosquitoes need to be controlled. Others are concerned that growth will mean more and higher taxes, in an area that is already perceived to have the highest property taxes in the state.

Many believe the rights of individual property owners are threatened, and stress the importance of maintaining property rights. Others believe that a more balanced approach is appropriate where the rights of individual property owners are balanced with the needs and desires of the community at large.

Local Government

Some West Central Weber County residents state their concerns are not always addressed. It was suggested that there be representation from the West Central area on the County Commission, and that the County be divided into districts for representation. There is some feeling that the Township system does not work, and that another form of representation is needed so that people remain involved in the process. Others felt that whatever the issue and decision, it should be taken to a vote of citizens in the area.

Some felt that existing ordinances and policies need to be enforced, and that new ordinances need to be developed to protect the night sky, and to restrict signage and billboards.

General Plan Process

Suggestions about how to make the general plan process better include: having written documents available for review before future meetings, using larger overheads so that people better see the materials, and finding more ways to notify people about meetings. One individual questioned spending county tax money on the plan.

West Central Weber County General Plan Vision Statement

The issues shown above are the basis for development of the Vision Statement. The Vision Statement is a broad representation of the goal of the General Plan process. It is not intended to address each individual idea or opinion, but to set forth the philosophy and intent of the General Plan. Following is the Vision Statement that was reviewed, discussed, and modified by the four West Central Weber County Townships and the Weber County Commission.

Vision Statement For The West Central Weber County General Plan

West Central Weber County is a place that:

  • Values and protects its rural character, lifestyle, and atmosphere.
  • Manages growth to strike a balance between preservation and development.
  • Provides the necessary and desired community services to assure a high standard-of-living to its residents.
  • Encourages safe, efficient, and varied transportation systems.
  • Maintains community that is safe from environmental hazard and criminal activity.

Protection of Rural Character, Lifestyle, and Atmosphere

West Central Weber County is a predominantly rural landscape that stretches to the Great Salt Lake. It includes large agricultural fields that change with the seasons, farmsteads and sparsely spaced homes, as well as dairies and ranching operations on pasture land and less productive lands. The agricultural lands are bounded on the western edge by relatively undeveloped land, much of it remaining in the grasslands and salt/alkali pans characteristic of the Great Basin Desert landscape. Industrial uses are sparse, but dominant in the area of Little Mountain. The Weber River and the communities of Plain City and Marriott-Slaterville bound the eastern edge of West Central Weber County. It is an open landscape with broad, beautiful views back to the Wasatch Mountains in the east. It has a sense of quiet, country living, and strong community organization that centers on family and education.

The residents of West Central Weber County have identified several characteristics that exemplify the rural lifestyle and atmosphere of the area. These characteristics include:

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  • Streets without curbs and gutters.
  • Lots of open spaces and broad views.
  • The dominant presence of agricultural uses and features, such as the fields and pastures, barns, and outbuildings.
  • Animals, particularly horses and cattle that are visible and welcome.
  • The slow moving Weber River and its open and undeveloped flood plain.

It is these characteristics and elements of the landscape that the community wishes to preserve and enhance through the General Plan.

Managed Growth

Residents understand that growth and development pressures are mounting and increasing in intensity. They understand that some growth and new development is inevitable, yet they have strong convictions about preserving the open spaces and rural qualities. Thus, they wish to focus growth in appropriate areas, protect the individual’s right to develop property in accordance with the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance, and encourage and assist existing agricultural uses to remain in business.

They see two infrastructure elements as being the prime impetus for future growth and development – a sewer system and the Legacy Highway project. Both projects have the potential to render the adjoining properties “highly desirable” for development. While a sewer system is desired by some people, others view the lack of its existence in the area as positive because new development can be restricted and important qualities can be preserved. The Legacy Highway has less apparent support, and is probably at least 30 to 40 years in the future.

Realizing that some of these things may happen and need to be discussed, West Central Weber County residents see this General Plan process as an opportunity to define their community, its pattern of development, and its future.

Community Services

The rural pattern of development that exists in West Central Weber County means that some community services are not readily available within the community. There is a current lack of public parks and a trail system, and virtually no commercial services such as grocery, neighborhood services, or government services. Within the overall context of preserving rural character and quality of life, residents would like to plan for areas where such services can occur with little impact to those qualities that are so cherished. Again, residents are looking to this Master Plan process to help define and resolve the compromises that are necessary to provide these kinds of services to the community.

Transportation Systems

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As the area grows, transportation infrastructure needs to keep pace with, and when possible precede development. Residents desire a varied transportation system that is safe and efficient, and which accommodates multiple forms of transportation facilities including pedestrian and equestrian trails, bicycle paths, a hierarchy of streets and roads serving a variety of motorized vehicles, and appropriate public transportation systems. The General Plan should provide transportation infrastructure recommendations that complement its land use and development policies.

Environmental Quality and Quality of Life

Residents are very much aware that growth may have environmental and social consequences. As the community grows, residents wish to maintain and enhance the quality of life in West Central Weber County by protecting water, air and land from environmental degradation, and by creating safe, crime-free neighborhoods. The General Plan should promote policy and action that supports safety and health of both environments and neighborhoods.

Organization Of The Plan Document

The General Plan addresses the important community issues in a series of Elements. Although each element is specific in its focus, there is an integral and essential relationship between them that is the essence of Community. The Elements are Land Use, Transportation, Sensitive Lands, and the associated Maps. Each Element includes: a brief introduction which identifies the pertinent issues identified during public meetings, a description of the existing conditions relevant to the Element, an analysis that describes what is important to understand about existing conditions, recommendations describing the plan Element’s purpose, policies giving direction to implementation of the recommendations.

Land Use Element

Introduction and Background

The Land Use Element of the West Central Weber County General Plan addresses existing land use and zoning, issues relevant to land use identified during public meetings, and proposed land uses.

Identified Land Use Issues

Early in the planning process, the residents of West Central Weber County identified several key issues regarding land use. These issues are reflected in the Vision Statement presented in Chapter 1, and restated here.

  • Preservation of rural character defined by open spaces, the presence of animals on the properties, and the dominance of agricultural uses and businesses in the area.
  • Residential development patterns that preserve the sense of openness and rural character.
  • Developed public parks and recreation facilities.
  • Trails for pedestrian, bicyclists, and equestrians.
  • Stabilization of the tax base through increased light industrial/manufacturing uses in the existing industrial areas, and limited commercial development.
  • Neighborhood commercial services.
  • Preservation of property rights.

West Central Weber County Land Use Today

Existing Land Use

In Spring 2001, the Weber County Planning Department conducted a land use inventory for the unincorporated area of West Central Weber County using the “windshield” survey method. Each parcel of land was visually inspected, cross-checked on aerial photographs, and the use designated on field maps. Existing Land Uses are shown on Map 2-1.

The total West Central Weber County area contains approximately ­­­­­­­­98,824 acres or approximately 155 square miles. West Central Weber County is predominantly a low density, agricultural area, with many single-family residences located on large agricultural parcels. In such cases, the actual location of residential structures are noted on the map as a “dot”, which in turn represents one (1) acre of land. The remainder of the parcel is coded as an agricultural land use. Land in residential use only is coded solid yellow.

A number of small areas of unincorporated Weber County are within existing boundaries of incorporated towns, such as Plain City, West Haven, Farr West, Roy and Ogden. These are not included in the Plan because they are influenced more by surrounding communities, into which they are likely to be annexed. The unincorporated area nearby South Ogden and Uintah known as Uintah Highlands has not been included in this plan. Only the contiguous area west of the incorporated towns of Farr West, Plain City, Marriott-Slaterville, West Haven, and north of Hooper is included in this General Plan.

Table 2-1, indicates the various land uses within West Central Weber County and the approximate number of acres allocated to each. In the case of the mixed residential/agricultural land mentioned above, only a one-acre site where the residence actually occurs is recorded as residential. The remaining parcel is counted as agricultural. Land uses are shown on Map 2-1 – Existing Land Use.

Table 2-1 Land Use Categories, Sizes, and Percent of Total

Land Use Category Acres Percent of Total Acres
Residential 2,839.00 .029%
Commercial 2.72 .000027%
Manufacturing 20,225.00 .21%
Institutional 39.50 .000394%
Parks and Recreation 5.75 .000058%
Agricultural 28,116.00 .29%
Public Lands 44,682.00 .45%
Public Utilities 14.06 .0001422%
Other 2,886.00 .029%
Total 98,824.00 (rounded) 100%

Residential Uses

Currently, there are 1318 single-family residential units. This includes 2 duplexes and 28 manufactured housing units, one of which is a single wide mobile home.

Housing Condition
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During the “wind shield” survey completed by Weber County Planning Staff for the land use inventory, housing condition information was also gathered. Three categories were used: good, average and poor. Detailed or interior inspections were not completed, however certain criteria were set for determining the housing condition from frontal, exterior observation. The criteria for each category and the percent of housing in each category are shown in Table 2-2, which follows.

Table 2-2 Housing Condition Analysis

Percent by Category Category Condition Criteria
45 Good Under construction, newly built, or well maintained with no visible signs of disrepair.
49 Average Neat appearance with minimal signs of maintenance required, such as a few missing roof shingles or needing paint.
6 Poor Signs of major disrepair and/or uninhabitable conditions.

Commercial Uses

Commercial Use

There are two commercial sites (2.72 acres) in the West Central Weber County area. Both uses are located on 4700 West and are zoned for general commercial use (C-2). Commercial uses include a gas station/convenience store and a butcher shop.

Manufacturing Uses

Manufacturing Use

Manufacturing uses are predominantly in the far western part of Weber County in the Little Mountain area. Nineteen (19) individual manufacturing uses occur, though the entire area of land designated and zoned as manufacturing includes approximately 20,225 acres. Much of that land remains partially vacant and is used for grazing cattle, or is barren or semi-barren due to hydric and/or saline soil conditions.

Much of the platted land in the far western area is actually under water (Great Salt Lake) and is not accessible, although a portion is used as evaporation beds for the reclamation of salt. This area is shown as manufacturing on the land use map.

Institutional Uses

Institutional uses include schools, churches, and cemeteries, libraries, civic structures, and other public buildings. The West Central Weber County area includes two schools (28 acres) -- Kanesville Elementary School and West Weber Elementary School; and three churches (11.47 acres) -- Warren LDS Church, Taylor LDS Church, and West Weber LDS Church. Two cemeteries of approximately nineteen (19.4) acres are included as well. These are Warren Cemetery and West Weber-Taylor Cemetery. Cemetery Boards are appointed by the County Commissioners. There are no libraries, civic structures, or other public buildings in the area.

Parks and Recreation Uses

One public park of 5.75 acres is located in the Reese Township. This park is under the jurisdiction of Warren Park Service District Numbers 5 and 6. Three other private parks are owned and managed by the LDS Church and are not open to the general public. These include Warren LDS Bowery, West Weber LDS Park, and Taylor LDS Park.

The LDS Church may allow their parks to be used by the general public, however a “hold harmless” agreement must be executed between the Board of Weber County Commissioners and the LDS Church. No such agreement is on file as of 2002.

Agricultural Uses

Agricultural Use

Agriculture is the dominant use, and many parcels in the western part of Weber County are small “ranchettes” of 5 to 10 acres. In 2002, approximately 28,116 acres of land are used for agriculture, for grazing of cattle and horses, crop production (alfalfa, hay, small grains, such as, oats, wheat, and barley), and dairy operations (16 operations and approximately 2,765 dairy cows).

An area of approximately 3,000 acres has been set aside under voluntary Agricultural Protection, which generally coincides with lands noted as Prime Agricultural Lands by the Natural Resources Conservation Service soils map. Agricultural uses are shown on Map 2-2 – Prime Agricultural Land, Agricultural Protection Areas, and Dairies.

Public Lands

A large area in the northern and western portion of the study area is under either State or Federal ownership, and is managed as wildlife and waterfowl preserve. It includes lands that are unofficially referred to as wetlands and shoreline areas of Great Salt Lake. One Federally owned parcel in the southwestern Little Mountain area is a military site (United States Air Force).

Public Utilities

There are approximately fourteen (14) acres classified as public utilities. For the most part they represent cell tower locations on Little Mountain. ­­­­­­­­­­­

Existing Zoning

There are ten zoning classifications in the West Central Weber County area -- three agricultural zones, three manufacturing zones, three commercial zones, and one shoreline zone. There are currently no residential zones in the West Central Weber County area; however, single family residential is permitted in all of the agricultural zones. Existing Zoning is shown on Map 2-3.

Agricultural Zones

All of the agricultural zones allow for single-family residential development, and all allow for the keeping of animals and other agricultural-type uses. The primary intent of these zones is to encourage rural-style development.

The A-1 zone occurs in areas that are more developed and in areas that are urbanizing, primarily in southern Weber Township and the midsection of West Weber Township. It represents much of the residential development in the area. The A-1 zone recognizes the area as primarily agricultural, although it is likely to transform to more urban uses, principally low-density residential in a rural setting. The minimum lot size for single-family residential is approximately one acre (40,000 square feet). Larger lots are required for duplex residential or for agricultural uses that would typically require more space, such as animal production, packing operations, etc.

The A-2 zone occurs throughout most of the eastern portions of West Central Weber County, except those zoned A-1. The A-2 zone designates farming areas where the rural environment is promoted and preserved. It does allow single-family residential to occur on one-acre (40,000 square foot) lots, but all other uses require a minimum of two acres or five acres. Those uses requiring five acres include more intense agricultural uses.

The A-3 zone occurs primarily in the Warren Township in the western portion of West Central Weber County. It designates farming areas where heavy agricultural operations can occur and be permanently maintained. It allows single-family dwellings and cluster subdivision developments on two-acre lots, along with several other agricultural and non-agricultural uses. Five-acre minimum lots are required for intense, permanent agricultural uses.

At the property owner’s option, agricultural land may be placed in an Agricultural Protection Area. The purpose of the designation is to protect farmers, ranchers, and dairy operations from the effects of encroachment by residential uses and others that may threaten the viability of agricultural operations. Agricultural Protection Areas are not Agricultural Preservation Areas, and do not assure that the land will remain in agricultural uses, thus they do not afford the protection of open spaces that a conservation easement or larger lot zoning would.

Commercial Zone

The only commercial properties in the area are zoned C-2 General Commercial. The C-2 zone allows for most commercial uses including those that require large structures, whereas the C-1 commercial zone is intended more for neighborhood service-type uses. There are currently two parcels located along 4700 South that are zoned general commercial (C-2).

Manufacturing Zones

Three manufacturing zones occur in the area. Residential uses are permitted in all manufacturing zones on a minimum 5-acre parcel. Some retail and wholesale operations may also be permitted. The M-1 zone is intended for light manufacturing uses such as packaging and packing, assembly, warehousing, and other light intensity manufacturing uses.

The M-2 zone provides suitable areas for heavy manufacturing and extractive industries. These industries may require the use or storage of combustible materials and/or other materials that may be considered hazardous to the general public.

The M-3 zone is the largest industrial zone in the West Central Weber County area and includes the industrial park in the vicinity of Little Mountain. It is also a heavy industrial area for uses related to testing and production of aeronautic equipment and the extraction of raw materials; however, the evaporation ponds for salt extraction are not included in the M-3 zone.

Shorelines Zone

The S-1 zone appears primarily in the Warren Township area, and defines lands used for agriculture and recreation. Its objectives are to promote land for agriculture, wildlife and recreation, conserve water and other natural resources, reduce flood and fire hazards, and preserve open spaces and natural vegetation. The minimum parcel size is five acres, which does allow for single-family residential dwellings. Significant portions of S-1 zoned lands occur on publicly owned land that is managed for wildlife habitat.

Land Use and Zoning Summary

Land use and zoning are generally consistent, so there are few non-conforming uses in the area. However, there are several zoning designations that do not meet the expectations and vision for the area.

There is little in current zoning that provides protection of the rural quality and character of the area. The dominant minimum one-acre zoning is not consistent with the primary interest of preservation of rural character and open space, and there is no community interest in down-zoning to 20-acre, 40-acre, or even larger lots.

The commercial zoning is C-2, which allows for large commercial uses. The C-1 zone may be more appropriate for the scale of development envisioned by most residents of the area.

The industrial areas allow residential development on five-acre lots. Residential uses are not compatible with industrial uses, thus they should not be allowed in industrial/manufacturing zones. Alternative Growth Scenarios Workshops

Analyzing Options for West Central Weber County's Future

Alternative Growth Scenarios Workshops

Two public workshops were conducted in March 2002. The purpose of the workshops was to allow West Central Weber County residents an opportunity to define future growth scenarios for the year 2020 using projections for population, dwelling units, and commercial development.

Projected Population and Housing Units

The current population for West Central Weber County area is based on findings of the land use inventory and actual counts of the housing supply. Using average household sizes determined by the 2000 Census -- 3.37 for the West Weber area and 3.26 for all other areas – an approximate 2002 population of 4307 was calculated. The projected 2020 population of approximately 6217 is also based on average household size, combined with an average growth rate calculated from trends in the issuance of building permits. For purposes of preparing future growth scenarios, a 2020 population of 6217 is used. This number represents an increase of 1910 persons. (Weber County Planning, 2002).

The number of single-family housing units was determined by dividing an average household size of 3.3 persons per dwelling into the total increase in population (1910 persons), which equals growth of approximately 580 new single-family housing units in the area. Because multi-family attached housing units typically contain fewer residents, an average household size of 2.5 persons was used, which equals approximately 764 dwelling units (based on 1910 new residents). Thus, in the allocation of residential units to accommodate growth between 2002 and 2020, somewhere between 580 and 764 units are needed depending on the housing type desired. Residents of West Central Weber County generally prefer single-family housing.

Projected Commercial Development Potential

On average, Utah residents spend nearly $9,500 per capita annually for retail goods and services. It is assumed that West Central Weber County residents follow suite. Capture rates indicate how much of that annual spending occurs within the community. When there is little local shopping opportunity available, capture rates are obviously very low. In the case of West Central Weber County, if and when there are services available, people will use them in some degree, but they will also do a majority of their shopping elsewhere because the local community is not providing all desired services. Capture rates generate estimated dollars spent within the local area.

Estimated retail square footage is calculated from average expenditures per person per square foot of retail space, which is somewhere between $150 and $200 dollars per square foot. Based on 2002 per capita estimated expenditures, the West Central Weber County area can support approximately 5-10 acres of commercial space, and an additional 2 to 4 acres in 2020, for a total in 2020 of somewhere between 7 and 14 acres depending on how much shopping actually occurs locally, and how much people spend. This acreage roughly represents approximately 50,000 to 94,000 square feet of retail space, with all the necessary parking and other site development concerns. A more detailed analysis of supportable retail space is provided in the Appendix. (Wikstrom Economic and Planning Consultants, 2002)

The kind of supportable and appropriate retail/commercial uses are neighborhood services, not large regional developments. Retail uses such as a barber and/or beauty shop, convenience store, small professional office, dry cleaners/laundry, child care/preschool, and other small services are appropriate.

Workshop Process

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Workshop participants were provided with a variety of “chips” representing various land uses and development patterns, and were asked to arrange them on an aerial photograph to represent a vision of future development. Chips included various housing densities and patterns of development, commercial uses, public services such as schools and parks, open spaces for agriculture and wildlife habitat, and others. Blank chips were provided so that participants could add land uses and facilities as needed. Participants were also asked to identify roadways needing improvement, trail locations, and any other ideas they wished to share. Participants worked in groups of 5 to 10 persons, and over the course of two evenings, documented fifteen different maps illustrating various growth options or scenarios. The fifteen maps were synthesized by the Consultants into two versions that represented the range of ideas presented by community members.

Alternative Growth Scenarios

Alternative Growth Scenario One
Figure 2-3. Alternative Growth Scenario 1

This alternative assumed that residential development occurs east of the Weber River, on one-quarter, one-half-acre, and one-acre lots, with a cluster subdivision development pattern. Lots here would likely to be more easily served by the sewer, and rezoning to smaller lots would be possible. Future residential development was also assumed west of the Weber River, scattered throughout, on one-acre and two-acre lots as currently zoned.A planned new high school is shown, located adjacent to a proposed public park of about 20 acres.

By the year 2020, the area can support somewhere between 7 and 14 acres (50,000 to 94,000 square feet) of retail commercial, neighborhood services. A commercial node, formed at the intersection of 1200 South and 4700 West, included mixed-use retail, small offices and community services, as well as first response emergency service. In addition to the commercial aspect, the node could also include a library, recreation facility, senior housing or condominiums, and/or other public services as the community grows, thus beginning to serve as a “community” or “village” center for the area.

Residential uses allowed in industrial areas were eliminated, and a 20-acre parcel not contiguous with the Little Mountain manufacturing area, was shown as residential/agricultural. Agricultural preservation areas remained as they currently exist, and wldlife/waterfowl management areas increased to include lands along the Weber River and to preserve a migration corridor between the existing north and south wildlife/waterfowl management areas.

Trails were shown along all major roadways with improvements, railroad tracks, canal rights-of-way, and along the Weber River within a 100 foot buffer on either side of the river. An equestrian loop trail was shown. Alternative Growth Scenario 1 is shown in Figure 2-3 below.

Alternative Growth Scenario Two
Figure 2-4. Alternative Growth Scenario 2

This alternative indicated one-acre and two-acre lots scattered throughout the area, as currently zoned. A cluster subdivision development pattern was required. Lots would develop as the market dictates, and as public health issues are resolved.

A planned new high school is shown, located adjacent to a proposed public park of about 20 acres.

The existing commercial, agricultural preservation areas, and wildlife/waterfowl management areas remain unchanged. Single-family residences in industrial areas were eliminated, and the parcel mentioned in Alternative Growth Scenario One was taken out of manufacturing.

Trails were indicated along the main roadways as they are improved, along the Oregon Short Line tracks, and includes some of the canal trails recommended by the Weber Pathways Committee. A Weber River trail is not proposed in this alternative. An equestrian loop trail was shown. Alternative Growth Scenario Two is illustrated in Figure 2-4 below.

Public Review of Alternative Land Use Scenarios

The two alternative land use scenarios were reviewed by the general public at an open house meeting. Comment was received, synthesized, and blended into a preferred land use plan, which is described in the following.

A Preferred Future for West Central Weber County

In developing the Preferred Future Land Uses for West Central Weber County, three considerations were important factors in developing the recommendations, policies, and implementation actions. Proposed Land Use designations are shown on Map 2-4.

  • Residents are almost unanimously opposed to down zoning at this time. The desire of residents to maintain rural character and a country lifestyle are not achievable in the long term with the existing one-acre zoning over most of the area. Down zoning to 20-acre or 40-acre lots, or even larger lots would be far more effective in preserving rural character and country lifestyle. Development value could be maintained by allowing land owners of down-zoned parcels to sell additional density to developers seeking increased density.
  • The existing “agricultural protection areas” are not “agricultural preservation areas”, thus agricultural lands are not protected from development, as they would be if they were in a conservation easement, for instance. Property owners may withdraw their lands from the protection area at any time.
  • Further study of sewer, water, secondary water, and storm water may generate additional demand for higher density where feasible and appropriate. During public workshops, residents of West Central Weber County were not willing to direct growth to specific locations in order to preserve open land for agriculture, grazing and ranching, wildlife management, or recreation. Since the completion of public workshops, sewer installation has added a new variable to growth options in the West Weber Township area. Sewer has been installed to service the adjacent community of West Haven to the north, with the outfall line passing north through the township of West Weber toward the treatment facility. This public investment has generated interest by some land owners to pursue higher density in the West Weber Township where development could be tied into the sewer line. Landowners representing about 275 acres near the sewer outfall have expressed interest in rezoning their property to 2, 3, or 4 units per acre.

This presents a dichotomy of interests regarding density and lot sizes in the region. On one end of the spectrum land owners are seeking higher density for greater development opportunity. On the other end, many existing residents desire a continuation of 1 unit per acre, 1 unit per 2 acre, and 1 unit per 3 acre densities to maintain animal rights, and to keep separation between housing units. Some residents favor the option to cluster this density onto smaller lots to maintain some open space within developing areas. Others are less favorable of a cluster option, arguing that lots below one acre are too small for the desired character of the area. Public hearing comments also indicated a desire to see a continuation of agricultural landscapes, although many who enjoy the views of agriculture do not own or operate farmland, and do not rely on their land for a future retirement.

Residential Land Use

The West Central Weber area is large, the number of new housing units is relatively small (580 single-family homes), and the existing zoning allows predominantly one-acre and two-acre lots, which could essentially occur anywhere (assuming water and sanitary service is available). These facts make it difficult to allocate specific locations for each new residence anticipated. The area can likely absorb the level of development predicted in 2020 without unacceptable consequences to the rural character and lifestyle of the area. Therefore, it is recommended that the area be allowed to develop up to 580 additional residential units (the projected 2020 growth), at which time a new look at the plan area is required.

Existing zoning (A-1, A-2, and A-3) will be retained, requiring one-acre, two-acre, and five-acre lots where currently zoned. A cluster subdivision development pattern is encouraged as a means of preserving agricultural land, wildlife habitat, and open spaces. Specific areas for new development are determined by market demand, which will likely respond to developing sewer infrastructure. In response to public health issues, cluster subdivisions may also explore group septic systems and group wells to protect drinking water from sewage waste. The cluster subdivision pattern may apply to single parcels, or multiple parcels and multiple owners seeking a joint development venture. The cluster ordinance could be modified to allow non-adjacent parcels to be submitted as one subdivision proposal. The intent of non-adjacent parcel clusters would be to allow farmers and other land owners to sell development value to developers interested in maximizing development efficiency near developing sewer infrastructure.

The voluntary and incentive-driven cluster subdivision development pattern would require preservation of open space, and include incentives or bonuses for preserving more land from development. Any parcel over 10 acres in size could receive incentives to develop as a cluster subdivision. Land retained as open space should be permanently protected from future development.

Policy: Development Limit Trigger For Updated Plan Document
When 580 building permits have been issued in the plan area, there is automatically “triggered” an update of the West Central Weber County General Plan. The “wait and see” approach is difficult to manage without a trigger to start the updated planning effort. The trigger allows residents and planning commissioners to re-look and re-evaluate their direction, to make a change if desired, and to take into account new information as it becomes available.
Policy: Pattern of Development
The existing one and two-acre zoning lends itself to a cluster subdivision pattern of development with preservation of open space. An increase in overall density is permitted in Weber County’s current Cluster Subdivision Special Provision Ordinance (Chapter 22B) for preservation of open space; however, additional incentives are desired. It is anticipated that the open space and public space allocated as a result of incentive-based increased density should be useable, undeveloped, consolidated open space in the form of parks, natural areas, sensitive lands, agriculturally productive land, or other managed open space.
Implementation Action
Create an overlay in all A-1, A-2, and A-3 zones in the West Central Weber County area. The intent is to encourage clustering, which is further explained in the following example on a 20 acre parcel.
  • Site is currently zoned to allow 1 unit per acre (gross), or 20 units total.
  • A minimum of 30% of the site is to be preserved as open space.
  • Clustered lots shall be no smaller than one-quarter acre or 10,890 square feet.
  • Twenty percent of the site is assumed to be devoted to roads/rights-of-way.
Parcel Size Base Density (gross) Cluster Density Bonus Resulting Units Resulting Density (Units/Acre Resulting Open Acres/%[1]
20 Acres 1 units/acre 30% 20+6=26 1.3 units/acre 9.5/47.5
20 Acres 1 unit/acre 50% 20+10=30 1.5 units/acre 8.5/45.5
20 Acres 1 unit/acre 100% 20+20=40 2.0 units/acre 6/30.0

This analysis is illustrated in the following graphic examples. In each, the amount of acreage consumed by the allowed number of one quarter-acre lots is shown with a crosshatch, the remainder is potentially preserved as open space or is developed as roadways. In the cases of the 30 percent and 50 percent density bonus examples, more than 30 percent of the site is preserved because the allowed number of one quarter-acre lots and the acreage devoted to right-of-way does not take up that amount space. Therefore, the lots could be bigger or more open space could be preserved.

Example 1: 30% Density Bonus
Example 2: 50% Density Bonus
Example 3: 100% Density Bonus

Example 1 provides for a 30% density bonus or an additional 6 lots. Twenty-six quarter acre lots take up 6.5 acres or about 32 percent of the site. With 20 percent of the site devoted to rights-of-way, almost 48 percent of the site (9.5 acres) remains as open space. This may be a good option for properties that have limitations such as wetlands, as it may concentrate development on the better portions of the parcel. If only 30 percent of the parcel is preserved as open space and 20 percent goes to roads, the remaining 50 percent could be used for the lots, which would make them approximately 16,750 square feet in size.

Example 2 provides for a 50% density bonus or an additional 10 lots. Thirty quarter-acre lots take up 7.5 acres or about 37 percent of the site. With 20 percent of the site devoted to right-of-way, almost 43 percent of the site (8.5 acres) remains as open space. This too is an option for properties that have limitations such as wetlands, as it may concentrate development on the better portions of the parcel. If only 30 percent of the parcel is preserved as open space and 20 percent goes to roads, the lots could be approximately 14,520 square feet in size.

Example 3 provides for a 100% density bonus or an additional 20 lots. Forty quarter-acre lots take up 10 acres or 50 percent of the site. The remaining 50 percent is allocated to 30 percent open space and 20 percent roadways.

Policy: Managed Open Space
Open space resulting from cluster development shall be managed. Several options for management of the open space are provided. In each the open space land is protected by a conservation easement, although ownership of the open space property is retained by the original owner, a homeowner’s association, the original developer of the property, or the County.
An optional consideration is provided, in which a retained open space parcel no smaller than 20 acres may be sold as a single family residence, thus creating an “estate”. In this case the single-family owner is responsible for management and maintenance of the 20 acre or larger parcel, may use it for agricultural or other open space uses, but may never develop it further due to the conservation easement. This provides an opportunity for the farmer/rancher/dairyman to either live on the property (20 acres or larger) or sell the estate to another individual.
Agricultural conservation
  • Ownership of open space is retained by property owner (farmer/rancher/dairyman).
  • Property owner continues to use the land for agricultural purposes.
  • Property owner may also consider others agricultural/open space uses, i.e. tree farm, horse boarding, pasture rental, etc.
  • Property owner may retain for sale one development right (one estate property) if over 20 acres in size, with a conservation easement.
  • Conservation easement is retained by a holding agency (County, conservation organization, etc.)
Homeowner’s association
  • Open space is owned by the homeowners in the subdivision through an organization (HOA).
  • Open space is managed as private open space.
  • Common horse-property with pastures, stables, tack storage, etc.
  • Common small farm lots for vegetables, flowers, etc. (hobby farmers)
  • Recreational uses, i.e. playgrounds and play areas, tennis courts, picnic areas, etc.
  • Natural open space - preserving natural vegetation, wildlife habitat, etc.
  • Open space is managed for other uses.
  • Agricultural/open space uses, i.e. tree farm, horse boarding, pasture rental, etc.
  • Lease or sell open space for agricultural purposes, wildlife management, etc. but not for development.
  • Homeowners association or developer retains for sale one development right (one Estate property) if over 20 acres in size, with a conservation easement.
  • Conservation easement is retained by a holding agency (County, conservation organization, etc.)
Dedication to County
  • Open space is dedicated to the County.
  • Ownership and management of open space shifts to County.
  • County may develop as public open space, i.e. natural park, developed park, combination natural and developed, equestrian park, etc.
  • County may lease or sell open space for agricultural purposes, wildlife management, etc. but not for other development.
  • County may retain for sale one development right (one estate property) if over 20 acres in size, with conservation easement.
  • Conservation easement is retained by a holding agency (County, conservation organization, etc.)

Commercial Land Use

By the year 2020, the area can support somewhere between 7 and 14 acres (50,000 to 94,000 square feet) of retail commercial, neighborhood services. A commercial node, formed at the intersection of 1200 South and 4700 West, includes mixed-use retail, small offices and community services such as a First Response medical unit. The commercial node may begin to serve as a “community” or “village” center for the area. Residential uses such as condominiums, apartments, or senior living units are not included in the area.

Zoning for this commercial node should be C-1, which excludes most large uses, large box retail concerns, and intense uses such as auto sales; or create a new mixed-use zone designed to support small community center uses.

Policy: Commercial Development
Direct new commercial development to contiguous parcels at the intersection of 1200 South and 4700 West. To accommodate approximately 50,000 to 94,000 square feet of retail space, a maximum of 15 acres of commercial development is permitted.
Implementation Action:
As new commercial development is proposed, properties should be rezoned to C-1.
Implementation Action: Rezone the existing C-2 properties to C-1.

Manufacturing Land Use

The existing manufacturing zones in the West Central Weber County amount to just over 20,000 acres, and have the potential to provide additional tax base as new development occurs in the future. The current amount of property zoned for manufacturing (M-1, M-2, and M-3) is adequate and should be maintained and reserved for manufacturing uses.

Policy: Industrial Development
Any new industrial uses should be directed to existing planned and zoned industrial areas. Industrial uses that are non-polluting and which do not harm the environment, the health and safety of residents, or create nuisances for nearby property owners are favored.
Implementation Action:
Eliminate permitted single-family residential uses in all manufacturing zones in this area to reduce potential conflicts between residential and agricultural uses, and manufacturing uses. If this is not consistent throughout Weber County, it may require new zones or an amendment that specifically states it applies to the West Central Weber County area.
Implementation Action:
Rezone approximately 20 acres along the Union Pacific Railroad, which is not contiguous to the existing major manufacturing zone, currently zoned M-1 to A-2 or A-3. This eliminates an isolated manufacturing parcel that is surrounded by property zoned A-2 or A-3.
Implementation Action:
Improve access to the existing industrial area by improving 1200 South Street or developing an additional access road.

Agricultural Protection and Preservation

Agricultural preservation areas shall be retained as they currently exist.

Policy: Agricultural Protection
Encourage property owners who are engaged in agricultural production and business to expand agricultural protection areas whenever possible, and encourage additional property owners to commit their property to agricultural protection.
Policy: Agricultural Preservation
Encourage farmers to sell development density to developers interested in developing at higher densities near developing sewer infrastructure. Work with property owners and Utah Open Lands, The Nature Conservancy, or other conservation organization toward obtaining conservation easements or other agreements that permanently preserve agricultural lands into active production.


Typical Paved Multi-Purpose Trail Cross Section[2]
Typical Unpaved Multi-Purpose Trail Cross Section[3]

Bicycle and pedestrian trails are indicated along the major roads, along the Oregon Short Line and Southern Pacific railroad tracks, along selected canals, and adjacent to the Weber River. With the exception of trails indicated along major roads, trails are as recommended by the Weber Pathways Committee. An equestrian trail loop system, which links to the Oregon Short Line and utilizes the South Pacific right-of-way is indicated.

Policy: Off-street Bicycle and Pedestrian Paths
Trails are highly desired amenities for communities. As primary roads are improved, separated bicycle and pedestrian trails should be included. The community is rural and does not have sidewalks, so it is important to provide safe paths for children going to and from school, and for the enjoyment of residents and the many others who bicycle and walk in the area.
Implementation Action:
Work with Weber Pathways Committee, UDOT, property owners, local transportation agencies, and others affected to identify an alignment for trails and to secure funding for trails development. Coordinate with adjacent communities and their trail development plans. Typical separated multi-purpose, paved and un-paved trail cross-sections follow.
Policy: Equestrian Trails
The rural quality of the area and the abundance of horses used for leisure activity indicates that equestrian trails are highly desired and will be used. The loop system shown on the plan should be implemented with developed trailheads.
Implementation Action:
Work with Weber Pathways Committee, local equestrian interests, property owners, and others affected to secure funding for development of equestrian trails and trailhead facilities.
Trails Development on Private Property: Trails development shall not occur on private property unless the consent of the owner is received.
Trails Development on Canal Rights-of-Way:
Canals are routinely identified as trail corridors throughout Utah and the West, and are appropriate locations for trails in West Central Weber County.
Implementation Action:
The Weber Pathways organization is the leading grass-roots organization promoting the development of trails in Weber County. Weber Pathways should take the lead in securing access rights to canal rights-of-way for use as pedestrian, bicycle, and equestrian trails.

Wildlife/Waterfowl Management Areas

The existing wildlife and waterfowl management areas are zoned S-1 and remain unchanged.


At this time, the Weber School District has a new high school planned in the area.

Schools Policy
As development occurs in the West Central Weber County area, new schools will be needed and should be planned.
Implementation Action
Work with Weber School District to identify additional future locations for schools, as growth in the area demands.


Public parks are needed in the West Central Weber County. A new park is proposed adjacent to the planned new high school. The park should include picnic facilities, informal playing fields, play structures, pavilions, and other facilities that support family-oriented, informal recreation.

Parks Policy
As development occurs in the West Central Weber County area, new public parks will be needed and should be planned, and generally located adjacent to new schools.
Implementation Policy
Work with Weber School District to locate additional public parks adjacent to schools, and negotiate joint management and maintenance agreements for shared facilities.


Transportation Element

Amd. 08/17/2010 Resolution 22-2010

Introduction and Background

The purpose of this Element is to define current transportation issues and future plans for roadways in West Central Weber County. Bicycle, pedestrian and equestrian trails are addressed in the Land Use Element, Chapter 2.

Identified Transportation Issues

In the initial process of identifying issues and concerns for the West Central Weber County General Plan, several transportation-related issues were received from residents. These issues included:

  • Improving 1200 South with respect to both capacity and safety.
  • Addressing safety-related concerns on 4700 West.
  • Providing an alternative road to the industrial area in the western part of the study area.
  • Examining the need for Legacy Highway.

In 2010, the Transportation Element is being amended based upon further analysis and recommendations to refine the corridor alignment for North Legacy Parkway


Existing Transportation Conditions

With a relatively small population in the study area, priorities relative to the transportation infrastructure are somewhat different than a typical general plan update might generate. Traffic congestion and delay were not identified as problems in the West Central Weber County area. Traffic volumes were generally acceptable, although volumes on 1200 South to and from the industrial area were perceived to be high and in fact generated recommendations for new facilities to be built to serve that area. In addition, volumes on 4700 West were perceived to be high before and after school, as high school students use the route to travel to and from school.

Population density is sparse throughout the study area, making traffic on existing facilities far less than other Wasatch Front areas. Major transportation facilities in the area include 1200 South, 3500 West, 4700 West, and 6700 West.


Projected Transportation Conditions

With the limited anticipated growth in population and relatively expansive areas where development can occur, the projected increase in population is not expected to cause traffic congestion. However, development patterns can impact traffic conditions and should be carefully considered during the development approval process.

The Wasatch Front Regional Council’s Long Range Plan identifies two projects for West Central Weber County over the next 30 years. The first is the widening of 1200 South to 4 lanes from I-15 to the proposed Legacy Parkway. The second project listed on the Long Range Plan is the purchase of right-of-way for the Legacy Parkway from 5500 South in Roy to Plain City. This right-of-way purchase is the result of a planning study conducted by the Wasatch Front Regional Council and the Utah Department of Transportation in cooperation with local governments to define a preferred route for the Legacy Parkway in northern Davis and Weber Counties. There was some ambiguity and lack of agreement on the future alignment of Legacy Highway and a Supplemental Study was instituted in 2007. The Supplemental Study was completed in October 2009 and is the basis for this amendment.

North Legacy Parkway: The Wasatch Front Regional Council proposes a Legacy Parkway for the length of the entire Wasatch Front region. The need for a facility of this type in West Central Weber County is not anticipated for 30 – 50 years in the future.

The existing West Central Weber County General Plan is not consistent with the recommendations from the Supplemental Study, i.e., the 2003 Plan called for the North Legacy Parkway to be located along 4700 West and the Supplemental Study recommends the westerly corridor between 6300 and 6500 West. In order for Weber County to begin preserving a corridor the General Plan needs to be amended to accurately reflect a location.

The benefit of this amendment is that preserving the corridor will save the public significant amounts of money if land is purchased now verses 30 to 50 years out. Second, it is a timely notification to property owners of the corridor location.

The recommended location in unincorporated Weber County for the extension of North Legacy Parkway is shown on Map 3-2. The unincorporated alignment extends north from the Hooper City / West Haven City north boundary (3000 South and 5100 West) approximately seven miles through unincorporated Weber County until it interfaces with Plain City (2500 North and 5900 West). The center portion of the corridor bends west to approximately 6300 West. In addition there is one short stretch of corridor, approximately one half mile, in an unincorporated island bordered by Plain City and Box Elder County.

Alternative Road to Industrial Area: Several planning workshop “visioning maps” illustrated an alternative access to the industrial area at Little Mountain. While traffic volumes on 1200 South do not justify the construction of an alternative access, safety concerns might raise this on the County’s priority list. Providing only one access to an area such as the industrial park can be of concern if an accident or natural disaster closed access to the area. (See Transportation Map 3-1.)



Two public workshops were conducted in March 2002. The purpose of the workshops was to allow West Central Weber County residents an opportunity to define future growth scenarios for the year 2020 using projections for population (1910 new individuals), dwelling units (580 single-family), and commercial development (7 to 14 acres). The entire Alternative Growth Scenarios process is described in detail in Chapter 2 – Land Use.

Alternative Growth Scenarios

Road improvements recommended are the same for Alternative Scenarios One and Two. This includes improvements to 1200 South consistent with the Wasatch Front Regional Council’s Long Range Plan (addition of one lane in each direction), as well as turn lanes and shoulder improvements. These improvements should help to alleviate issues related to slow-moving vehicles such as tractors.

While traffic capacity on 4700 West is not of concern, safety is. The addition of turn lanes at major intersections and shoulders would help to alleviate safety concerns in the corridor. Weber County should begin preserving right-of-way and requiring sufficient setbacks along these major transportation facilities (1200 South and 4700 West) to accommodate future expansion and improvements.

With commercial development planned at the intersection of 1200 South and 4700 West, driveway spacing and possible shared access should be examined during the development approval process.

As the Little Mountain industrial area continues to develop, there may be a need or a desire for an alternative route serving the area. Currently 1200 South serves the area. A broad swath is identified for a possible location for a new service road to the industrial area, which could be either an entirely new alignment or an improved alignment on an existing roadway.


Recommended transportation policies as components of the West Central Weber County General Plan are described in the following.

Road Improvements to Improve Safety

For safety reasons, this plan recommends that improvements be made on some existing transportation facilities in the West Weber County area. While these improvements address safety concerns more so than capacity-related concerns, future development of the area will necessitate these recommended improvements as well.

1200 South - Proposed Roadway Cross-Section and Multi-Use Trail
Policy: Road Improvements 1200 South
Turn lanes at major intersections as well as wider shoulders on 1200 South will improve overall safety on the road, and should help to alleviate issues related to slow-moving vehicles such as tractors. Included within an improved cross-section for 1200 South is a multi-purpose trail.
Implementation Action: Weber County should begin preserving right-of-way and requiring sufficient setbacks along this transportation facility to accommodate future expansion of these facilities.
4700 West South - Proposed Roadway Cross-Section and Multi-Use Trail
Policy: Road Improvements 4700 West
While traffic capacity on this road is not of concern, safety is. The addition of turn lanes at major intersections and shoulders would help to alleviate safety concerns in the corridor.
Implementation Action
Weber County should begin preserving right-of-way and requiring sufficient setbacks along this transportation facility to accommodate future expansion of these facilities.
Policy: Commercial Development Road Improvements
With commercial development planned at the intersection of 1200 South and 4700 West, driveway spacing and possible shared access should be examined during the development approval process.
Implementation Action
As commercial development is proposed, require access control actions such as shared driveways, master planned commercial development, and other means to reduce the number of access points onto 1200 South and 4700 West.
Policy: Transportation and Residential Development
As West Central Weber County begins to see increasing residential development, impacts of that development should be carefully examined. Although the population increase in the area is not expected to impact traffic congestion in the area, the impacts of development on internal circulation and access issues on major roads are potential issues. Driveway spacing, increased turn movements, and safety concerns such as turn lanes and shoulders are in important part of the future of the West Weber County area.
Implementation Action: As part of the development review and approval process, take into consideration impacts to roadways caused by access to new residential development areas.

Road Improvements to Facilitate North/South Movements

North/south transportation improvements will be needed in the future. In the short term (2010 to 2030), Weber County prefers improvements to three principal north/south streets.

Policy: Alternative North/South Roadway Corridors
North/south corridors shall be improved including 4700 West, 5100 West, and 3500 West south of 1200 South. Weber County has been preserving approximately 100 feet of right-of-way along 4700 West with plans to upgrade that facility to a four or five lane arterial. A similar approach is needed for 5100 West and 3500 West. In anticipation of the need for North Legacy Parkway Weber County in conjunction with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) will begin to acquire right of way for eventual construction. The corridor width is recommended to be 220 feet wide. Weber County along with UDOT will take advantage of various tools to acquire the right of way, i.e., the UDOT Corridor Preservation Loan fund, Weber County $10 Vehicle Registration Fee, and the Weber County Sales Tax Corridor Preservation Fund. A variety of corridor preservation tools will also be employed, e.g., acquisition of development rights and land use regulations. Land use regulations will be developed that will address special setback requirements, development exactions, access management, and density bonuses.
Map 3-2 is hereby adopted as the North Legacy Parkway corridor map. The specific alignment is meant to be general in nature. There is flexibility in the exact location which will be applied at the time of property development or engineering design prior to construction.

Alternative Road to Industrial Area

An alternative access to the industrial area in the western portion of the area may be warranted as the industrial area becomes fully developed. While traffic volumes on 1200 South do not justify the construction of an alternative access at this time, safety concerns might raise this on the County’s priority list in the future. Providing only one access to an area, which may generate more traffic in the future, could be of concern if an accident or natural disaster closed access to the area.

West Haven is in the process of identifying an east/west roadway for improvement. Thus, when when the time is right, Weber County should work with West Haven and UDOT to locate the best possible route to serve east/west traffic and accommodate the future need at the industrial area.

Policy: Alternative Road to Industrial Area
The County should identify and preserve a 66-foot right-of-way to accommodate a three-lane facility in the southern part of the study area. Options for this alignment include the 2550 South alignment, tying into the existing 2100 South interchange on I-15, 2100 South coming out of West Haven, or some other acceptable alignment. Coordinate with West Haven and UDOT.

Transportation Impact Fees

Weber County does not currently utilize impact fees for funding of transportation projects.

Policy: Transportation Impact Fees
As development pressures increase, Weber County should consider implementing an impact fee program to assist in minimizing the impacts of development, and as a growth management tool, allowing the County to better define areas where development will be encouraged and discouraged.
Implementation Action: Complete an impact fee feasibility study for new roads and other public infrastructure (water, sewer, parks), which are needed because of new development.
Implementation Action: Weber County should pursue the use of transportation impact fees to fund development related infrastructure. The County should consider preparing a capital facilities plan in preparation for the use of impact fees.


Sensitive Lands Element


West Central Weber County includes several environmental conditions that are considered sensitive lands such as wet (hydric) soils, Great Salt Lake shoreline, wildlife habitat, flood plains, and stream and river corridors. Several of these conditions have been mapped and are included in this Element, others still need to be identified and mapped.

The intent of this Element is to provide basic information about potentially sensitive lands and environmental conditions that are not conducive to intense development, or which may affect the location and pattern of development. Some of these conditions can be overcome or mitigated through planning and design solutions that avoid specific problem areas or by creative implementation measures that make it possible to develop with certain constraints.

Identified Sensitive Lands Issues

During the General Plan public process, several issues regarding environmental conditions and sensitive lands were identified.

  • Open, undeveloped lands are characteristic of the area and valued by the community.
  • Utilities easements, canals, and river corridors were identified as ideal locations for trails, though adjacent property owners may be opposed.
  • River corridors and flood plains should be preserved, possibly purchased and held in public ownership.
  • Water quality is critical and should be preserved and enhanced.
  • Water is limited and may be a factor in future development.

West Central Weber County Sensitive Lands

Environmental Conditions and Sensitive Lands


Most slopes in the West Central Weber County area are under three percent, the only exception being small areas on Little Mountain in the west. (See Map 4-1 Slope Analysis.) Therefore, steep slopes are not likely to be a problem for development in the area. On the other hand, the minimal slope across much of the West Central Weber County area results in large areas that remain wet during much of the year due to poorly drained soils.

Soil Conditions

Map 4-2 General Soils, shows the general location of various soil types throughout the West Central Weber County area. Soil conditions that are especially restricting are poorly drained and generally wet year-round – primarily the Leland-Payson-Warm Springs association and the Saltair-Wayment-Arave association. These soils are typically described as hydric, and are illustrated separately on Map 4-3 Hydric Soils.

WCWCGP Picture 4-1.jpg

Hydric soils and other difficult soil types may require foundation designs and other design considerations that mitigate the effects of unstable, poorly drained soils. They are otherwise not a deterrent to development unless they are extremely wet and determined to be jurisdictional wetlands. To date, jurisdictional wetlands have not been delineated in West Central Weber County; however, prior to development in areas that are suspect, it will be necessary for the developer to have a wetland assessment prepared that will meet the requirements of the Corps of Engineers.

National Wetlands Inventory

General wetland locations have been mapped in the National Wetlands Inventory These are general in location and suggest that when development is proposed in the areas shown on the map, a more detailed inventory should be conducted to determine accurately which lands are to be considered jurisdictional wetlands. National Wetland Inventory information is available from Weber County.

Stream and River Corridors and Flood Plains
WCWCGP Picture 4-2.jpg

Several important steams and river corridors occur in the West Central Weber County area – the large ones eventually reaching Great Salt Lake, and the smaller ones simply terminating in flat alkaline and saline pans or salt flats where the water accumulates and eventually evaporates. The corridors are important wildlife habitat, and have the potential of providing corridors for pedestrian, bicycling, and equestrian trails. Many communities require buffers to protect stream and river corridors from encroachment, and require easements for the development of trails. Priority Streams identified by the Utah State Division of Wildlife Resources are shown on Map 4-4.

The Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) produces the official flood plain maps used by most governmental agencies. They depict areas of potential flooding for major drainages in West Central Weber County. Generally the flood plains shown on the FEMA maps are a 100-year flood zone, which is typically any land below 4,218 in elevation. The flood plain standards are written to minimize the loss of life and property in areas subject to flooding. They are not intended to preclude development – only to alert property owners and developers of the possible hazard. Any land less than elevation 4,218 should be reviewed with respect to lake-flooding potential and compatibility of the proposed use.

Liquefaction Areas

The threat of earthquake is ever present along the Wasatch Front. Oftentimes, the greatest damage happens not where the actual earthquake fault occurs, but in the distant flatlands where wet, soft, clayish soils act like “jelly” and undulate from the shifting pressures underground. When soil liquefaction occurs, the movement may cause foundations to crack, buildings to topple, and buried tanks to rise.

Areas of moderate and high liquefaction generally occur in the flat valleys and have been mapped by the Utah Geologic Survey. Areas of high and moderate liquefaction need not be avoided; however, structural designs and site development techniques that reduce the hazard need to be considered and employed. The entire West Central Weber County area has been identified by the Utah Geological Survey as High Liquefaction Potential.


The beauty and character of the West Central Weber County area is derived from the landscape, its location adjacent to Great Salt Lake, and magnificent views in all directions. Much of the character and the historic use of the area are bedded in landscape conditions, many of which are highly sensitive and not entirely suitable to high densities and intense development. Protection of and sensitive use of these lands is essential to the goals expressed in the Vision Statement of Chapter 1 -- maintaining rural quality, country lifestyle, and openness. Prior to development, sensitive lands should be identified, mapped, and avoided whenever possible.

West Central Weber County Sensitive Lands Policy Recommendations

Recommended sensitive lands policies as components of the West Central Weber County General Plan are described in the following.

Sensitive Lands

In addition to the Weber River floodplain and banks, other sensitive lands occur in the West Central Weber County area. Hydric soils are prevalent in the area, suggesting that there are wetlands that will require protection or mitigation, depending on a determination of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who are charged with the protection of wetland resources.

Policy: Sensitive Area Management Planning
Weber County should begin working with the Corps of Engineers and other local governmental agencies to fund a wetland delineation study, which could be combined with a Sensitive Area Management Plan (SAMP) and a shoreline protection plan. The SAMP engages government agencies, property owners, and local planning staff in the development of a management plan that treats property owners equitably, resolves critical issues, and at the same time protects valuable natural resources. Options that resolve property owner concerns with resource agency concerns will need to be addressed in the near future.
Implementation Action
As sensitive lands are identified and determined to be inappropriate for development, the land should be zoned as Open Space O-1 as per Chapter 22E of the Weber County Zoning Ordinance.
Policy: Weber River Floodplain Setback
The Weber River floodplain, wetland areas associated with the meander corridor, and streamside vegetation should be protected from development. A setback of 100’ from the high water line on either side of the river, as determined by the County Engineer, is recommended. As development occurs, public trails for bicycles, pedestrians, and horses may be provided within the setback and with property owner approval, and if properties are purchased or donated, parks and open spaces can be developed for recreational and educational purposes.
Implementation Action
Require a 100 foot setback from the high water line on either side of the river, as determined by the County Engineer.


Possible Implementation Tools

Tools For Protecting and Developing Sensitive Lands and Preserving Open Space

Several tools are available for communities and individuals to preserve open space and to develop parcels that contain lands with development restrictions due to environmental or sensitive land issues. The possible implementation tools discussed in the following are not intended to reflect general plan policy. Rather, they are provided as information to be considered when situations arise in which developing land is not in the best interests of the community or the individual property owner. No one technique or tool is appropriate for all properties or situations. Each much be considered separately based on the unique characteristics of the situation, property ownership, economic conditions, and overall community-wide goals.

The use of growth policy tools, such as those discussed in the following, could provide a compromise solution acceptable to differing views on density and pattern of development in the region. Some of these tools offer land owners the opportunity to sell density from areas where low density or land preservation is desired, to areas where greater density is desired. Developers seeking greater density may then offer to purchase development value from willing land owners, thus expanding the opportunities to preserve agricultural land and working rural landscapes, and concentrating development where it is desired, appropriate, and where adequate services are available.

Open Space Design Standards (Cluster Subdivisions)

Open Space Design Standards (OSDS) can be used to preserve agricultural land and open space while allowing an equal or higher level of development on a smaller area of land. OSDS's may establish and dictate sites to be preserved such as sensitive lands, farmlands, stream corridors, rural road buffers, view corridors, and other open space features that have been identified by the community as important. OSDS's generally require “clustering” of development as a means of facilitating preservation and protecting property rights.

OSDS's allow, encourage or require that the allowed density or increased density be “clustered” onto a portion of the site. The remaining property is preserved as open space through a conservation easement.

Open space preservation in new development can be encouraged through incentive by allowing full density with clustering, and a reduced density without. These mechanisms are not considered a “taking” because there is still reasonable and beneficial use of the property. They do not regulate density per se, just the pattern of development.

To encourage and facilitate conservation subdivisions, it is important to: 1) treat cluster developments equally with conventional subdivisions in the development review process (which Weber County is already doing), or 2) favor clustering in special areas, or 3) encourage cluster development as a standard specifically for the preservation of open space. As a general rule, OSDS's are a part of an overlay or special district.

Open Space Design Standards have several advantages over other means. They do not require public expenditure of funds such as for the purpose of property; they do not depend on landowner charity or benevolence such as in land or easement donations; they do not need a high-end market to make them affordable; they do not involve complicated regulations for transfer of development rights, and they do not depend on cooperation between two or more adjoining property owners.

In Figure 3-1, three comparative illustrations are provided showing the difference in development pattern for a Typical Subdivision Design (Left) versus a Cluster Subdivision Design (Right) for the same property.

Figure 3-1 Comparison of Typical Subdivision and Cluster Subdivision Patterns[4]

Open Space design standards or clustering can simulate a transfer of development right process (see TDR discussion later in this chapter) by allowing the transfer of development density between two or more non-adjacent parcels. Most cluster subdivision ordinances specify that multiple parcels may participate in a cluster development provided the parcels are adjacent to each other. This allows the transfer of density from one or more parcels onto a single parcel, or portion of a single parcel. Similarly, non-adjacent parcels could be allowed to combine density and transfer it onto a concentrated site where services such as sewer and culinary water may be available. This technique allows land owners to seek development partnerships that may not otherwise be available between adjacent owners, and may encourage the free market to preserve more continuous greenbelts of open space, and concentrate development of new homes and businesses into a more compact growth pattern. The advantages of this development pattern include reduced costs to service growth, greater opportunities for farming or wildlife habitat activities, and larger, more continuous open space areas.

As illustrated in the following recent examples, cluster subdivision design has become an increasingly important pattern of development:

Summit County, Utah[5]: Summit County’s Cluster Development Ordinance functions in a similar fashion to a Transfer of Development Right (TDR) Process, and could be defined as a cluster ordinance allowing non-adjacent transfers, or as a simplified TDR process (See also TDR). Summit County has down-zoned the entire county to allow only one unit per 20 or 40 acres, depending on land sensitivity. The change also requires the dedication of at least 25 percent of a given site for open space in commercial and industrial areas, and a minimum of 50 percent open space dedication in all residential areas (single, double, or multi-family.) In order to promote higher density development, officials utilize a Development Potential Matrix that identifies “community benefits”. Developers are provided density increases in exchange for providing community benefits, such as the preservation of open space and agricultural land. The open space must be functional, and in some cases, in areas designated by the County. The clustering of density may apply to both adjacent and non-adjacent parcels. Density may be purchased from other land owners through the sale of development rights or it may be acquired through shared ownership of the new development. A third option allows developers to pay a fee to the county rather than purchasing development rights from another landowner. The county then uses these funds to protect other critical lands in the region.

Concord and Amherst, Massachusetts[6]: The properties in an open space subdivision in Concord appreciated 168 percent between 1980 and 1988 compared to 147 percent for the town as a whole. In Amherst the difference between 1968 and 1989 was 462 percent for open space subdivisions, as compared to 410 percent for conventional subdivisions.

Larimer County, Colorado[7]: The Larimer County Planning Commission sanctioned the state's first attempt at cluster development in order to encourage developers to save at least 80 percent of the county's farmland and open space. The concept is simple: Under Larimer's Partnership Land Use System, developers are allowed to build an additional number of bonus homes if they agree to limit construction to a small portion of the land.

Sensitive Land Overlays

This tool requires additional regulation on underlying zoning districts, with special restrictions on unique resources, hazards or sensitive lands. The Sensitive Land Overlay does not provide for complete control of the land. Such overlays might be applied over agricultural land or stream and river corridors.

As a successful example, in 1992 Park City adopted a sensitive lands ordinance. As part of the process sensitive lands were identified and defined as a sensitive lands overlay zone. Measures were developed to protect these areas, and within each category specific regulations were devised to apply density, open space, site design and building design

Fee Simple Title (Out-right Purchase)

Desirable open space properties (recreational or agricultural) may be purchased and held by a responsible agency or organization for that purpose. Because of the potential for a very high cost of acquisition, fee simple acquisition should be reserved for important, critical parcels for which no other strategy can feasibly be used. Although fee simple title or out-right purchase can be the most expensive option, there are other opportunities to recover some of the initial investment.

Boulder County, Colorado[8]: Beginning in 1967, voters have approved multiple sales tax increases to buy 50,000 acres of land at a cost of $125 million. Boulder City, Colorado has purchased another 27,000 acres of open space using this same method.

Purchase and Sellback or Leaseback

In this technique, a government agency may purchase a piece of land along with all the rights inherent in full ownership. They then sell the same piece of land without certain development rights, depending on the preservation objective related to that parcel of land. The restrictions placed on development can range from no development to requiring clustered development. Purchase and leaseback is similar to purchase and sellback, although instead of selling the land, the agency leases it with some restrictions in place. In this manner the agency is able to get back some of its investment in the form of rent.

Conservation Easements

(Through Donated Development Rights, Purchased Development Rights or Transfer of Development Rights)

Conservation Easements are rapidly gaining favor and popularity with property owners and preservation groups alike. The easements remove the right to develop from the usual bundle of property rights. Separation of development rights is accomplished in three ways:

  • Donations: The property owner willingly donates the development value of the property to a land trust or other organization, and agrees that the property will never be developed.
  • Purchases: The property owner sells the right to develop the property to a land trust or other organization, and agrees that the property will never be developed.
  • Transfers: The property owner transfers or trades the value of the right to develop the property to another entity, which may use that right on another property agreed upon by the jurisdiction administering the trade.

These are actions taken to prevent alterations to a designated piece of land. Most land uses are prohibited with the conservation easement, but certain uses such as farming, nature conservation, passive recreation and other undeveloped uses may be allowed. Of the three, transfers are the most complicated and are addressed in more detail later in this section.

Under Utah State Law, conservation easements are a legal means of limiting development of real property for the purpose of “preserving and maintaining land or water areas predominantly in a natural, scenic, or open condition, or for recreation, agriculture, cultural, wildlife habitat or other use or conditions consistent with the protection of open land.” (CU 57-18-2.)

Utah law only recognizes conservation easement acquired by a charitable or non-profit organization or a government entity. Several states have land trusts, including Utah. Nationally, there are over 1100 private land trusts that remove land from the speculative market and hold it for the benefit of a community and its residents. If easements are held by a government entity, future elected leadership may be prevented from relinquishing the conservation easement by adding additional parties to the easement contract. Additional contract parties may include land trusts, neighboring landowners, home owner associations, private organizations, or other government entities. Utah Open Lands holds enforcement rights to a conservation easement protecting 155 acres in Willow Heights / Big Cottonwood Canyon. The easement is held by Salt Lake City to protect a critical water recharge area for a clean water supply, wildlife habitat, and recreation.

In Utah, Utah Open Lands[9] had over 24,000 acres of open space protected with conservation easements by 1999. These encompassed seven projects (two in Oakley area, and one each in Park City, Summit County, Wasatch County, Provo Canyon and Draper.) Utah Open Lands recently entered negotiations for acquiring an additional 100,000 acres. One of the negotiated properties is a fee title acquisition that is a private/public partnership, one is a purchase of development rights with a conservation easement, and others are donations.

The conservation easement “runs” with the land and is recorded with the deed. Typically, the easement is granted to a land trust, land conservancy, or a government entity. The easement is typically agreed upon with the property owner who retains ownership of the property, but gives up the right (by selling, donating, or trading) to develop it or to use it in ways that are incompatible with the open space goal. The entity receiving the development rights agrees to hold the development rights in order to maintain the area as open space. Often there are IRS tax advantages to the benefactor for the value of the donated development rights. The Quality Growth Act of 1999 and the LeRay McAllister Fund provides funds for the purchase of sensitive lands and conservation easement. While the funding has been threatened in the past, it is still in place, and is available to communities and organizations who are seeking funds for purchasing easements and/or property.

Nationally[10]: “Fifteen states and dozens of counties and municipalities have launched Purchase-of-Development-Rights (PDR) programs to keep land in agriculture. State PDR programs alone have protected more than 470,000 acres.”

Marin County, California[11]: In 1980 the Marin County Land Trust (MALT) was established, utilizing public and donated funds to purchase development rights to agricultural land, thereby reducing the taxable value of the land. With this method over 38 farms in excess of 25,000 acres have been protected. In addition to the open space benefit, the economic asset has is protected as well.

Colorado[12]: In 1992, Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) was established as a grants program funded by the state lottery. GOCO supports wildlife preservation, open space preservation, and recreation programs. Since 1994 $145 million dollars has been awarded to state agencies, municipalities, counties, park and recreation districts, and non-profit land conservation organizations, of which $35 million helped to protect 60,000 acres of open space, most of it ranches. Preservation of ranchland also benefits the tourist economy by preserving the open landscapes that tourists seek.

In Gunnison County, Colorado, GOCO and the Gunnison Ranching Legacy Project have raised more than $1.5 million for open space conservation, and GOCO itself has spent over $2.5 million for the purchase of agricultural easements in Gunnison County. Local funds are being raised by a voluntary, one-percent sales tax that customers are asked to pay to go toward open space and ranch land preservation.

Routt County, Colorado[13]: To preserve farmland, a conservation easement was donated to Yampa Valley Land Trust in exchange for a tax benefit worth approximately $400,000 for 600 acres, and approximately $375,000 in cash. The landowner can continue to graze the land. Over 10,000 acres have been preserved through conservation easements (primarily land donated by landowners). The county passed a one-mil property tax increase as part of a Purchase-of- Agricultural-Development-Rights (PDR) program, to be carried out over a ten-year period. The program will net about $360,000 per year, to be leveraged with other state and federal money.

Town of Dunn, McFarland, Wisconsin[14]: This community is purchasing development rights to permanently protect farm and open space lands from development with help from citizen contributions. The nature of the transaction prevents the Town of Dunn from selling development rights to future developers. The town has created a land trust to permanently protect farmland and environmentally sensitive areas.

Maryland’s Rural Historic Village Protection Program[15]: In 1988, Maryland initiated this program to help citizens conserve the unique rural and natural character of the state's historic villages and small towns. A statewide effort, the program originated in response to an alarming increase in suburban sprawl. The sprawl eventually caused much of the state's rural land to be no longer affordable by farmers for crop production, due mainly to the demand for non-agricultural uses permitted by local zoning.

The program focused on demonstrating the economic benefits of preservation, the results of which were a variety of options to encourage local landowners to voluntarily preserve their farmland and natural open space by enrolling in one of several state or local easement programs. The program avoids contentious, time-consuming battles that often accompany efforts to change planning and zoning rules by striking deals directly with property owners in much the same way that developers do.

Transfer of Development Rights (TDR)

Transferable Development Rights programs (TDR’s) can be adopted by a local government to encourage land owners to shift development from one area (a sending zone) to another area where development is more desirable (a receiving zone). This practice occurs without altering the amount of development potential allowed in the community. TDR programs allows development rights to be separated from the usual bundle of property rights so that they can be traded in the free market. The seller of the development rights is paid and all future rights to develop that particular piece of land are restricted by a conservation easement. A conservation easement completes a TDR transaction to ensure that current and future owners of preserved land do not attempt to develop the property beyond the remaining amount of development rights.

To launch a successful TDR program, a local government should consider the following:

  • Support for TDR requires a strong educational effort to community stake holders and officials. Preliminary economic studies must take place to understand land values, development trends and development markets. Finding a price that developers will pay for an increased unit of density is key to the entire economic structure of a TDR program.
  • The value or price of a TDR is set in a private transaction between landowners. A community can encourage TDR transactions by providing a bonus. For example, a 5:1 bonus would provide one additional TDR for every 5 TDR’s transferred. A bonus may apply to both the purchaser and seller of TDRs.
  • TDR's are market driven – there has to be someone willing to buy them. A city, county or private non-profit organization may create a TDR “bank” and purchase some rights so that they can be used elsewhere at a later date.
  • TDR zoning can require more administrative effort than most other zoning ordinances. The advantages gained however may be worth additional training or staffing. In addition to preserving agricultural or sensitive lands, TDR guides growth into a more desirable or efficient development pattern. A more efficient development pattern means less cost to a community to maintain and replace less road miles and infrastructure to service homes and businesses.
  • Increased TDR use nation-wide and statewide suggests that local governments are becoming more aware and capable of implementing the tool. TDR is increasing in the intermountain west, with new programs emerging in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah.
  • TDR programs may be voluntary or mandatory. A voluntary program is more likely to be viewed as an additional development option rather than as a development restriction. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in Summit County, Nevada has a mandatory TDR program that was challenged and taken to the US Supreme Court. The Court found that TDR's could be challenged in court, not because they are a taking, but because there may be an issue of adequate compensation.
  • Three communities in Utah have adopted and applied TDR zoning, including Mapleton City, West Valley City, and Summit County. Each program has preserved sensitive lands identified within their jurisdiction.
  • Communities in Davis County are considering TDR as a tool to preserve shorelands and / or mountain benchlands, including West Point, Layton, Farmington, and unincorporated Davis County. Other communities in the state are beginning to study the feasibility of TDR including North Logan City, Brigham City, and Toole County. This growing interest in TDR suggests that as a few TDR programs emerge, the successes of one program are likely to attract interest by other local communities.
  • A newly adopted TDR ordinance may require time before it is used regularly by developers and land owners. Mapleton and West Valley City are experiencing more transactions after a period of market familiarization with TDR opportunities.
  • TDR can be structured to fit specific needs of a community or region. Programs will vary in complexity and focus, depending on the goals of a community or region. TDR programs that transfer density from one local government jurisdiction to another tend to be more complex, requiring more staff time to administer. TDR as a non-adjacent cluster ordinance can be relatively simple in structure.
  • East Summit County has introduced a TDR extension to their existing Agricultural Cluster Ordinance. Developers may cluster their own development rights onto a smaller portion of their property, and then purchase additional development units by paying cash or purchasing development rights from other land owners
  • In the Snyderville Basin Area of Summit County, developers negotiate with Summit County over density increases in their proposed development areas. Developers may build more units in exchange for regional amenities provided to the county, such as open space or affordable housing units. Developers may also pay cash in lieu of providing an amenity, which the county may use to preserve additional land.
  • If agricultural preservation is a goal for some farmers in Weber County, TDR can provide cash for retirement or acquisition of additional farmland. Development rights could be sold to keep land costs low in a competitive agricultural economy.
  • Cash generated from density transfer may be used to match agricultural preservation funds from the United States Farm Bill - Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program. If a grant applicant is awarded funding, the cash generated from density transfer should be held in escrow until the Farm Bill Funds are paid. This way, the farmland development value would not decrease and reduce the 50% match offered by the Farm Bill (50% of the land’s development value). If density is sold prior to a grant award, the development value will have been reduced by 50% and the Farm Bill could only be applied to half of the reduced development value.

Land Banking

Local governments have used this option only rarely as a means for preserving land, primarily due to its often-prohibitive costs. This tool involves the purchase of land and holding it for possible future development. Often the land is purchased and leased back to the original owners so as to continue its immediate use, such as agricultural production. Agencies interested in this option should have the ability to purchase and condemn land, to hold and lease land, and to obtain debt financing for its purchase.

United States Department of Agriculture Programs

These funds are available to farmers for land preservation and conservation improvements on their land. Programs in Utah are available through USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, which manages them. Available programs may include the Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program, Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). Interested landowners should contact the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Salt Lake City. Programs typically have a time-frame attached ranging from 5 to 15 years, or into perpetuity.

Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program matches 50% of the development value of farmland or ranchland to awarded applicants. The 50% value match may include 25% land owner donation of development value. Where TDR programs have been adopted, cash earned through TDR sales may be used to match USDA funds provided that the sale occurs simultaneous with the award of the grant. If some TDR’s were sold prior to the award of a USDA grant, then the development value of the property would be reduced. Timing can be synchronized by holding TDR funds in escrow, or by coordinating a TDR sale with a TDR bank. Farm and Ranchland Protection grants are awarded by ranking the value of farmland compared to other applicants in a state. Farmland in communities or regions that plan to encourage a pattern of farmland preservation earn additional ranking in USDA’s scoring criteria.

EQIP is available for improvements to irrigation systems, animal waste processing systems, and range improvements. It funds vegetation enhancements, where the amount of funding depends on the length of time the land is committed to the program.

WRP is available for riparian (creek and stream bank) restoration and agricultural land restoration. The length of time the land is committed to such programs varies by restoration program, which affects the amount of funding available.

WHIP is available exclusively for fish and wildlife habitat enhancement. Funding is available for development and enhancement of shelterbelts, and is administered by the Utah State Conservationist.


Weber County Board of County Commissioners

  • Glen Burton, Commission Chair
  • Ken Bischoff, Commissioner
  • Camille T. Cain, Commissioner

Weber Township Commissioners

  • Tena Campbell
  • Verl Craeger
  • Bruce Ferre
  • Sharon Holmstrom
  • Sue Huckleberry
  • Patrick Osmond
  • Don Mueller

Warren Township Commissioners

  • Wayne Andreotti
  • Gordon England
  • David Hansen
  • Kisha Eden
  • Shirley Nelson
  • Tamra Smith
  • Scott Wayment

Reese Township Commissioners

  • Edward Armstrong
  • Neil E. Davis
  • William Davis
  • Greg Day
  • Gene Meibos
  • Lynn Stevens
  • Roy White

Weber County Planning Staff

  • Craig Barker, Planning Director
  • Kelly Grier, Senior Planner

Consultant Team

  • Jan Striefel, Principal and President
  • Jim Zaugg, Senior Associate
  • Andrea Olson
  • Susan Becker

References / Notes

  1. These acres/percentages are reduced by 20 percent (4 acres) which is typically allocated to roadways.
  2. Salt Lake City Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Draft, 2002
  3. Ogden Valley Pathways Master Plan Draft, 2002
  4. Randall Arendt, Rural By Design, 1994
  5. Jennifer Duane, Summit County Planner.
  6. Lacy, 1990 in Fausold and Lilieholm, 1996.
  7. Steve Lipsher, The Denver Post, November 19, 1997. http://www.sustainable.doe.gov
  8. “Home, Home on the Ranchette”, Planning, February 1998.
  9. Adair Bonsal, Director of Conservation Planning, Utah Open Lands - personal conversation.
  10. The Trust For Public Land, Land and People, “Open Space Investments Pay Big Returns”, Vol. II, No. 1, Spring 1999.
  11. Trust for Public Lands, The Economic Benefits of Parks and Open Spaces, “Protecting Farms and Ranches”, 1999.
  12. Trust for Public Lands, The Economic Benefits of Parks and Open Spaces, “Protecting Farms and Ranches”, 1999.
  13. “Do Fence Me In”, Planning, May 1997.
  14. “Town of Dunn Land Use Plan and Open Space Preservation”, Center of Excellence For Sustainable Development, Land Use Success Stories website.
  15. Rural Historic Village Protection Program. Renew America Success Stories http://www.sustainable.doe.gov/success/rural_historic_villages.html.
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