Here’s how Ogden’s mayor Nadolski wants to shape the city for decades to come

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OGDEN — The last time Ogden City overhauled its general plan, Salt Lake City (and nearby Snowbasin) had just finished hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics. 

Now, city officials are starting to piece together a new general plan and overhaul of the zoning code for the Junction City in the hopes of shaping the city’s growth through 2050. 

The city projects Ogden could have between 16,000 to 28,000 new residents and 11,000 to 21,000 new jobs by 2050, and just like everywhere in Utah, a lack of housing is a constant issue.

Ogden Mayor Ben Nadolski

Ogden Mayor Ben Nadolski — who was elected last fall — and his staff have plenty of thoughts on what the city should look like in the coming decades. But they know one of the biggest challenges is how to build up housing units the most efficient way.

“Anytime you look at housing, you have to look at everything,” Nadolski said in an interview. “There isn’t going to be any single thing that we do that’s going to fix our housing issues.” 

One goal that Nadolski and city officials want to include in the zoning overhaul is to have smaller minimum lot sizes citywide for single-family homes, in the hopes of adding more units into available lots.

Barton Brierley, Ogden’s planning manager, told Building Salt Lake the city has already started doing this for certain plots of land. In June, the Ogden City Council approved the rezone of a 6.55-acre lot at 605 N. Jackson Avenue from R-1-6 to R-1-5 — meaning the minimum dwelling size shrank from 6,000 square feet to 5,000.

Brierley said the plan would be for someone to develop the land into single-family homes. 

That’s in line with other moves made by the city.

Last month, Nadolski’s administration proposed an ordinance that would block future apartments in certain areas of the city — like along sections of Washington Boulevard, Wall Avenue and 12th Street — unless they met specific criteria. The ordinance will likely be discussed by the Ogden City Planning Commission this week. 

Nadolski explained the proposed ordinance isn’t meant to limit new apartment buildings, but instead pushes future housing developments away from commercialized areas in the hopes of preserving the space for industrial or commercial use. He said the city doesn’t want apartments to creep into industrial or commercial corridors, adding he wants to concentrate new apartment housing toward downtown. 

“Anytime we build an apartment in one of our commercial areas — 12th Street for one, or Washington (Boulevard) — we’re losing out on the potential commercial experience that it’s really intended for,” said Jeremy Smith, Ogden’s community development manager. 

Like other legacy cities along the Wasatch Front, one of the biggest gaps Ogden faces is a lack of empty land that can be developed. Nadolski estimated that 7% of Ogden’s land is developable, and the city must make smart zoning decisions with the small amount of land available. 

In publicly available materials, the city included a map of vacant land or areas ripe for redevelopment. Though much of the land is scattered throughout the city, a large amount of land for redevelopment can be found just west of Union Station. 

Ogden City is still in the early stages of its general plan and zoning code overhaul. City officials held workshops in late June to gather public input and see what local residents want the future Ogden to look like. City officials will hold follow-up workshops in October. 

The citywide general plan overhaul comes in the years following the city adopting its master plan for downtown — which offers a dramatically different vision of Ogden’s core, complete with new office buildings, a number of apartment buildings and a redesigned Ogden Amphitheater and municipal gardens. 

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