City Council Preview 23 June 2020

This meeting will be conducted using a video conferencing tool named Zoom. Staff, Mayor and Councilmembers talk to and see an image each other sitting at a computer at remote sites. You can see and hear (but not talk to) them using the City’s YouTube channel:

To have your comments considered for the Citizens to Be Heard portion of the electronic meeting, please fill out the form found here:

You must submit your comments by 7:00 pm on 23 June 2020. Please limit your comments to 400 words. 

Regular City Council Meeting at 7 PM

COVID-19 Budget Update

Finance Director Klint York will present an update for the city of Moab’s sales tax revenue for June.  We projected to receive about 10% of a normal June (April numbers) and the projected figures came in at just under 40%. This is very good news.

MRAC Update

The loss of sales tax revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that almost all City departments were affected by furloughs and/or the elimination of positions. These cost reduction efforts also impacted the MRAC — lifeguard wages were cut, and the three full-time MRAC staff positions were eliminated. Those three staff members, including the MRAC Director, were offered permanent part-time positions at the MRAC, with the hope that as sales tax revenues increase those positions would be restored to full-time with benefits. Two full-time MRAC staff members – the Aquatic Manager and Assistant Aquatic Manager – accepted the new positions and are working with other recreation staff to prepare for the reopening of the pool on June 26. The pandemic has put the City in an unprecedented financial situation; the MRAC is very expensive to operate and relies on a large subsidy from the City’s General Fund. 

Moab Police Department – Maintaining Standards Beyond Community Expectations

This presentation by Chief Edge (I’m guessing), largely about policy and training, should answer many questions and invite others, I expect. 

Lions Back Annexation

This item was apparently tabled from the 6/9 meeting. This is not the famous (or infamous) “Lions Back” subdivision located on SITLA land north of town accessed from the road to Sand Flats. Rather, it is a 3 acre parcel, a “flag” lot,  on the west side of Highway 191 at about 940 S Main, presently just outside city limits in the Grand County Highway Commercial zone. Earlier this year, a pre-annexation agreement with the property owner was signed giving them rights to C4 commercial zoning subject to Overnight Accommodation standards similar to those still under consideration by Council for OA’s elsewhere in town. The property owner’s annexation request has passed City Planning Commission muster. This parcel is tagged Future Commercial in the city’s General Plan even though there are a few R2 residences nearby. My guess is that we’ll approve this annexation. I’ve asked staff to clarify the intent of the somewhat convoluted process by which we got here. 

Discussion of Walnut Lane Priorities

Kaitlyn Myers, who directs the Walnut Lane affordable housing project, wants Council members to weigh in individually on their priorities for this project: Housing, Parking, Open Space, Affordability, Sustainability and Amenities. Surveys like this can be tricky – our first impulse is to say of course, we want it all. But we can’t. These trades are not independent – for example increasing housing density means more affordable units but more parking space. 

Special Event Permit and Special Use of City Park for a Fourth of July Celebration

The city is holding a series of celebrations in the area of city hall and the Ball Fields directly across Center St beginning Thursday, July 4 and the following every-other Thursday through Thursday Sept. 17. The 4th of July event features a volleyball tournament at 2 PM and a beer garden from 4 to 8:30 PM. The remaining events all run 5 – 8PM, including the 7/23 event which also features a beer garden. The City will honor CDC guidelines and collaborate with the Southeast Utah Health Department for these events. I hope you all come join the fun!

City Comments on the September 2020 BLM Oil and Gas Lease Sale

You may have heard that one individual has nominated a number of parcels in the Moab / Canyonlands NP / Arches NP area for oil and gas leases. Some of these parcels are said to be near existing wells. For the same reasons as the city (successfully) opposed similar leases a few months ago, I expect the city will formally oppose these as well. This agenda item is listed as Discussion and Possible Action. 

Interesting topics not on agenda:

Bike Skills Park

We’ve received 80-odd letters, split roughly 50-50 for and against locating the Bike Skills park at its proposed location on the Mill Creek Parkway where it crosses Mill Creek roughly due east of the Moab Diner. Since the city cannot say “no” to this location without breaking agreements made in 2019 with the county’s Trail Mix organization and their grant from the state, Council seems to have little appetite for doing so. Kara Dohrenwend, the town’s de facto riparian expert, has inventoried the trees on-site and thinks that removal of small trees should make the remaining ones healthier. We all agree the timing is unfortunate – a year ago when a public hearing might have been more timely, a detailed definition of exactly where and what the park would look like apparently was not yet known.  Apparently too we’ve learned that the bike skills park project qualifies as one that needs to go through “compliance” with the State in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act; funding of such a study is not been ascertained. I’ve expressed a desire to avoid advertising the area to visitors even as I admit word will get around anyway. While the area will certainly be more heavily used after the park goes in, I certainly hope it won’t prove to be nearly as objectionable as many fear. That is often the gist of what happens when any new wrinkle in life is encountered. 

Hotspot off-Main Street Downtown Parking

The Arches Hotspot Recreation Coordinating Committee has been homing in on adding parking to downtown streets, in particular the 4-block area from 100N to 100S and 100W to 100E. This often involves substituting or adding angled parking in places for parallel parking where curb-to-curb space permits. It could also mean removing a pair of bike lanes inside the curbs of 100W, noting that there is still a third multi-use path W of 100W. We could push curbs out in quite a few places, but it often means removing trees which most of us love, as well as fraught with complications with stuff buried in the ground. The Downtown Business Alliance is supportive and actively in the loop. A lot that can accommodate oversize vehicles at the N end of Emma Blvd (the world’s smallest boulevard) could end up getting funded via Hotspot as well. . 

Hope this helps, 

(Councilmember) Mike Duncan