OGDEN – A motion to recommend approval of an honorary designation for part of 675 North to be named Satnam Singh Drive – so nicknamed in memory of Singh, who died after being shot in his corner store on February 28 – has resulted in a 4-4 tie by the Ogden Town Planning Commission last week. Any motion resulting in a tie automatically fails.
Greg Montgomery, director of planning for the town of Ogden, said the organization forwarded the petition to Ogden City Council without a recommendation after a side motion to deny its passage by 5-3.
Jesse Redden, Ogden Town Resident and Satnam Singh Drive petitioner, spoke at Wednesday’s meeting to try to understand the latest move with his petition for an honorary designation for Super Grocery owner.
A petition launched by Redden has received several thousand signatures across the country and some from outside the country.
The current Honorary Ordinance and the proposed Honorary Street Name Ordinance state that “the applicant (shall) provide a statement regarding the public purpose to be achieved by the change”.
Redden argues that there has never been a description or definition of a public purpose in the past regarding honorary designations, and asserts that City Attorney Mark Stratford and Senior Engineer Ian Frankland “just proposed one. a “.
“The types of public purposes served by other honorary street names include national civic contributions (such as Martin Luther King) and important long-term community institutions (such as names associated with high schools),” according to city documents.
Beyond the ordinance, the city has no established guide as to when honorary street names should or should not be given and what constitutes a “public purpose.”
In previous deliberations, the commissioners cited a report from the staff of the Town of Ogden Planning Commission of December 7, 1994, stating that name changes should not be made just to honor someone, but that ‘they should serve a public purpose that outweighs any inconvenience caused by the change.
The city attorney’s office recommended that 675 North not be given an honorary name after Singh, believing that his passing and the desire to recognize Singh by those who knew him did not reach a level that would warrant such an honor.
Vague or confusing language is one of the reasons the current ordinance is under review. Some of the biggest issues with the current ordinance under review include ambiguous statements such as “any other good cause” and “public utility”. “It can mean different things to different people,” says the new proposed ordinance.
City engineer Justin Anderson did not recommend the street name because he does not believe it serves a public purpose. After developing what constitutes a public goal in the absence of a clear definition in the past, Redden wonders why the city doesn’t want to expand into it once again.
According to Redden, the city only recently mentioned what constitutes a public goal: “events or leadership on a larger scale than an individual’s contribution to a single neighborhood.”
Montgomery said he believes that while Singh’s death was tragic, there are other ways to honor him.
“Put a plaque on the property,” he said. “You don’t need city approval for this.”
The council office has not received a transmission or recommendation on the petition as it has yet to be reviewed by the mayor’s office and the legal department.
The Planning Commission recommends that city council first adopt a policy guiding honorary street names before acting on Redden’s request. If Council adopts the honorary street name, the town planning commissioners have suggested that the name be applied to 670 North, from Gramercy Avenue to 950 East.
Neither the police nor the firefighters in Ogden are concerned that the emergency services will be affected by the honorary name change. According to the planning committee’s agenda, the proposed name is unique enough not to be confused with other streets, such as Signs Lane located south of Weber State University.