Watchdog Report

Hello Watchdogs…

Below please see excerpted minutes from River Heights City Council, April 24th, 2018 concerning the Chugg property. Please see the part about Mayor John Drew.

Now this developer, whom many on Providence City Council think is just marvelous to know, is no longer willing to pay the cost of one of the two bridges which would be needed in order for his proposed town home subdivision to go up near the bench between the two towns. 

The supreme irony of this is that it was his willingness to pay for the bridge and build it which first delighted various Providence City Council members (all but the late Jeff Baldwin, who remained rational throughout). An additional irony is the fact that they have approved the repugnant Life Cycle Residential zone and now have 


Having been romanced into passing a new zone, specially designed to rezone and invade established neighborhoods with transient residents and loud, heavy traffic, the Council members and the Mayor must now face up to being left dangling by a developer who was just kidding about what he intended to offer. 

At the same time, days after the addition of this new repugnant zone to our Ordinances, the City has an application to build town homes on a 2-acre SFT (single family traditional zone) residential parcel from an applicant whop apparently thinks the parcel is already zoned LCR and wants to change it to MFM (multi-family medium density zone). I doubt anyone thought of this as a potential bad outcome when they approved the new zone, but here is an applicant trying to use the fictional application of the new zone as a way-station to justify asking for high-density zoning (none of that planned community stuff) in a single family neighborhood. 

Recently I was thinking it might be feasible to refer to the voters the application of the new zone to the Chugg property. but now they are sidelined on that anyway.

Now I am thinking instead that not only did we not NEED the new zone, not only did many people sincerely oppose it for good reasons, but also it is really a liability looking for a place to happen (since it is described as a “rezone” by definition). Maybe the best think overall would be to refer to the voters the notion of getting rid of this zone as it is not needed here and seems likely to cause a lot of harm. 


James Brackner will be finished working for the City by April 30. Mayor Rasmussen expressed his appreciation for all the help he has given him.

He has talked to Providence Mayor Drew and was informed the Army Corp of Engineers has gotten involved with the bridge on the Chugg property, which is causing the project to cost more than initially thought. The developer is now saying he didn’t say he would pay for the installation and asked for their annexation petition to be tabled while he looks into some things. Mayor Rasmussen told Mayor Drew that River Heights didn’t protest the annexation because it was understood that Providence would make sure the bridge was installed so they could take the traffic through Providence. And, if the developers come back to River Heights, Providence (or the developer) would still be required to put in the bridge. Some of the Providence residents are very against development on the Chugg property.

He is working with the city attorney to figure out the process for bringing non-compliant residents into compliance. Attorney Jenkins said non-compliance is a Class B misdemeanor and suggested a friendly letter at first. A second letter would be from the attorney, which would act as a citation. If the infraction is immediately remedied, the City will drop the charges. If it continues there will be fines, jail time, etc. Infractions, which will be looked at, will include all things that are non-compliant with the City’s code. Mr. Rasmussen suggested having a flyer delivered to each home, giving a heads up on the City’s plan before sending the first round of letters.

A Concerned Providence Citizen Speaks Out

Providence resident Brian Craig shared his views in letters to the editor of the Herald Journal published October 18, 2017 and March 24, 2018.

Subdivision raises River Heights concerns

Oct 18, 2017

To the editor:

The proposed Ridgeview Park Subdivision in River Heights creates a host of questions and concerns. The proposed subdivision, with 56 single-family lots, 52 active adult single family lots and 68 town homes, is located right next to River Heights Elementary School. After reviewing the proposed subdivision, I have a number of concerns. Specifically, I have traffic and safety, educational, environmental, green space, and flooding concerns.

Traffic and safety concerns: The proposed subdivision will increase traffic and safety concerns, especially around River Heights Elementary School. Traffic is already a concern, especially around the elementary school. Adding more homes, including more densely populated town homes, will impact traffic and safety in the area. Multi-dwelling units often bring in a more transient population than single family homes.

Educational concerns: The proposed subdivision will have a negative impact on learning at River Heights Elementary School. My son attends River Heights Elementary and I am concerned that the noise will affect learning at the school. I also wonder about class size since the school is already near capacity using more portable units.

Environmental concerns: The planning commission should require an environmental impact study before approving the proposed subdivision. The planned subdivision is located right next to Spring Creek which is home to major native plants, birds, and animals.

Green space concerns: The planning commission should require more green space and the addition of a city park with the proposed subdivision. Currently, River Heights has very few multi-family units. The city or planning commission should require more green space and consider building a city park within the proposed subdivision.

Flooding concerns: The proposed subdivision is located in an area that has been subject to flooding, including this past winter. Building news homes in an area which has been prone to flooding in the past, including a high0water table, raises some questions.

The River Heights City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, October 26, at 7 p.m. at River Heights Elementary to discuss and hear comments regarding the proposed subdivision. Those interested should attend this meeting and voice their opinion. This issue affects the people of River Heights and Providence since the proposed new subdivision includes access roads through Providence.

Brian Craig

Providence shouldn’t annex Chugg Property

Mar 24, 2018

To the editor:

I am expressing my opposition to the proposed annexation by the city of Providence of the so-called Chugg Property located south of River Heights Elementary School for a housing development. After the residents of River Heights banded together to oppose multi-family homes, the developer is now looking to the city of Providence for annexation. The property is currently unincorporated Cache County land and serves as hay field. The developer wants to build townhomes on the property which will add more traffic and crime to the area. This will also reduce property values in Providence and River Heights and take away even more green space. The elementary schools in Providence and River Heights are already exceeding capacity. I am not against all new home construction, but let’s leave the Chugg Property located south of River Heights Elementary School as agricultural property. At this rate, we won’t have any more hay fields left in Cache Valley.

Brian Craig

The “Life Cycle Zone”

On April 24, 2018 the Providence City Council approved a new zone to be added to the Providence Code: the “Life Cycle Residential” zone. This zone is defined as a planned district which may include single family detached houses, single-family attached houses (i.e., town homes), “active adult” twin homes and apartments. This new zone is defined as a “rezone” which may be superimposed upon any already existing zone in Providence, such as the single-family residential zone. This means that an already existing neighborhood which is clearly specified on the zoning map as being in a single-family residential zone can be rezoned to the new Life Cycle Residential zone for the purpose of introducing high-density zoning into an already developed single-family neighborhood.

The Annexation Issue

Concurrently, a real estate development company has requested annexation into Providence City of a 19-acre parcel which is presently zoned “Agricultural”. This parcel lies between the north boundary of Providence City and the south boundary of River Heights, with an east boundary of 300 East in Providence ( =1000 East in River Heights). The parcel lies between two established single-family neighborhoods: one in Providence and the other in River Heights.

Th applicant for annexation of the parcel has also submitted a “concept plan” to Providence CIty which would somewhat inform or predict the ultimate use of the parcel after annexation. This concept plan, complete with a colorful plat map, shows that the applicant plans to build detached single-family houses, town homes and “active adult ” twin homes on the his acreage after it is annexed into Providence.

Ignoring Citizens’ Rights

It is clear that the Constitutionally protected right to the use and enjoyment of a citizen’s private property will be challenged very directly if this new Life Cycle Residential zone is chosen for the annexation parcel’s development. These Constitutional rights will be ignored by any decision which imposes high-density zoning on single-family neighborhoods. Additionally, as is true of any addition of residential expansion to a town,  it will cost the taxpayers considerable money by definition, due to the taxpayers’ obligation to provide services such as water, sewer, snow removal, street maintenance, police protection and fire protection. The added traffic which will result from the application of this new zone to that property will bring markedly increased traffic, traffic gridlock and  street parking problems to the surrounding residential areas in both towns and to Providence generally. School crowding also will be an unavoidable result to both River Heights and Providence schools– which are both already in need of more classrooms for the existing school enrollment. No increased road infrastructure will likely precede such a decision to apply the new zone because there seems to be a great deal os haste involved. Two bridges are needed at either end of Spring Creek Parkway for any such development, and the taxpayers will be expected to pay for these bridges.


City Council Member Conflict of Interest

When this developer was approaching the city of River Heights with Phase 1 of his proposed development, Elegant Acres, the following Geotechnical Investigation from July 12, 2017 was completed and addressed to Mr. Randy Eck of Ironwood Development.  Mr. Eck is the spouse of Providence City council member Kristina Eck.



The full report can been seen by clicking or tapping here.

It should also be noted that council member Eck’s only campaign contributions came from realtors.





Residents’ Letter to Providence City Council Concerning Life Cycle Residential Zone

Dear John, Jeff, Kirk and Roy,

Our existing Planned District (Providence Ordinances 10-4-3) includes the Planned District which would satisfy all of the applicant’s wishes except for the inclusion of town homes, which is the only thing citizens have strongly opposed, It follows, therefore, that this is a zone proposal aimed specifically at the placement of town homes in a single family district.

The text of the Planned District emphasizes protection of adjacent or nearby zones as follows:

The Planned District’s minimum is 10 acres, not the 2 acres of the Life Cycle Residential zone. The Planned District requires “That each individual unit of development… can exist as an independent unit capable of creating an environment of sustained desirability and stability or that adequate assurance will be provided that such objective will be attained; and that the uses proposed will not be detrimental to present and potential surrounding uses, but will have a beneficial effect which could not be achieved under other zoning districts; that the streets and thoroughfares proposed are suitable and adequate to carry anticipated traffic, and increased densities will not generate traffic in such amounts as to overload the street network outside the Planned District; … that the area surrounding said development can be planned and zoned in coordination and substantial compatibility with the proposed development; that any exception form standard ordinance requirements is warranted by the design and amenities incorporated into the general development plan …. , that the Planned District is in conformance with the Master Plan, and that existing or proposed utility services are adequate for the population and use densities proposed.”

Here is a partial list of negative aspects of Life Cycle Residential zone:

  • increased density in single-family established vibrant neighborhoods
  • potential for significant flooding of houses built in the very wet, unirrigated area identified–as per actual flooding in (Saddlerock) River Heights and In (Creekside) Providence developments on either side of Spring Creek right at the area in question (four crops of hay per years grown there with only rare irrigation in drought years)
  • lack of a 404 Clean Water Act permit (is it really legal to pump stormwater into Spring Creek?)
  • “No parks and trails” is specifically stated in the application
  • shorter setbacks without convincing detail about increased open space on proposed plat on concept plan
  • parking is estimated as 1 car per Town Home, which seems unrealistic
  • increased traffic in all parts of town, gridlock at rush hours, decreased available street parking due to so many added vehicles
  • decrease in property values associated with town homes as they tend to decreased in value over time
  • increased noise and other nuisances (such as littering) in single family neighborhoods
  • approval of very significant city-wide change right before the revised General Plan is approved (why the rush?)
  • smaller minimum lot size than permitted in our existing zoning ordinance (5000 ft2 versus 6000 ft2 a big difference) with smaller setbacks
  • smaller minimum house square footage, such that in LCR sone the house square footage is what mobile home minimum is in existing ordinance: tiny houses
  • rumors that applicant’s willingness to pay for one of two bridges is now withdrawn (will taxpayers pay for his 300,000 bridge?)
  • school crowding for sure as Providence Elementary students are already sent to River Heights Elementary, and River Heights Elementary Is already using temporary building on a permanent basis
  • transient and even “Airbandb” residency in town homes
  • blight
  • use of the City newsletter to promote approval of this proposal rather than to present a fair and reasoned critique
  • Mr. Randy Eck’s name appears on the geotechnical survey of the property, strongly suggesting that Mrs. Randy Eck should recuse

Laura Fisher and Bob Bissland