2020-07-07 Grand County Council meeting Summary

Here are highlights from yesterday’s Grand County Council meeting.

County Administrator Chris Baird reported that GC received $275,000 less than expected in PILT revenue (payment in lieu of taxes from federal government). The shortfall is due to a reporting error by the state; Chris will follow up with the state and hopes that the error will be corrected soon.

Homelessness discussion. Sara Melnicoff and Rhiana Medina reported that GC’s homeless population, both chronic and situational, is increasing. A safe camping area, with portapotties and trash collection that can be monitored by law enforcement and easily accessed by agencies that provide services, is needed. This would be safer and healthier for both the homeless and the greater community.

Letter opposing BLM’s Oil & Gas Lease Sale for lands within Grand County. The BLM proposal to lease over 80,000 acres of public lands in the Moab area threatens the core of our tourism economy by locking in long term oil and gas leases and eventual development on and around popular recreation areas that are vital to our local economy, and due to the price of oil and gas will provide little revenue and few if any jobs. The letter also noted that if BLM would have approved GC for cooperating agency status the county would’ve been in a better position to provide input earlier in the BLM’s process. The letter is focused mainly on the impacts to recreation and tourism because BLM’s environmental assessment paid insufficient attention to these issues. Vote 5-2 (Wells, Paxman opposing).

Face covering order jointly issued by GC and the SEUHD. The intent of this Public Health Order is to ensure a coordinated implementation of practices which slow the transmission of COVID-19 by providing Grand County residents, businesses, community organizations, visitors, and government with access to the information needed to implement those practices. SEUHD will provide signage and assistance to local businesses. Businesses are not expected to be the enforcers. The purpose to to educate and protect health of GC residents. In short, all individuals within Grand County shall be required to wear a face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth in public areas, including any indoor space open to the public, where consistent social distancing of at least six feet is not possible, reasonable, or prudent. Effective through Aug. 20, 2020. Brady Bradford from SEUHD reported that there have not been conflicts in other communities that have enacted similar orders. Grand County’s order is based on similar orders from Salt Lake and Summit counties. Vote approving Order: 5-1 (Wells opposing; Paxman had temporarily left meeting). You should be able to view entire order at this link later today: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/utahs-health-guidance-system/#map

Phase I Peak View HDHO at 3640 S. Spanish Valley Drive (adjacent to Rim Village condos). The original HDHO was granted in November 2019 for 127 units. The developer is choosing to develop in phases, and the first phase for approval will have 16 units. The developer and planning staff could not reach agreement on several details of the project, so each made their case to the County Council.

There was discussion as to how the HDHO 80/20 split is applicable to each phase, rather than only to the final product, and the requirement of developer to bond a portion of the Spanish Valley multi-use pathway (the portion that is adjacent to the Phase I area), with GCC and developers ultimately agreeing on those issues. The other issue of contention concerned the floodwater plan to divert floodwaters to the opposite side of Spanish Valley Dr. onto another property owner’s land, and developers and the owner wanted the County to indemnify the property owner for any damages. County attorney provided reasons why this would be bad precedent and bad financially for the County, and noted that developers should pay their way – and that floodwater drainage is similar to roads in development and that developers must assume costs and liability of the infrastructure. Vote to approve Phase I with the 80/20 requirement for deed-restricted properties, bonding for the SV multi-use pathway for Phase I portion, and no indemnity for floodwater ended in a tie: 3 yes (Evan, Gabriel, and Jaylyn) – 3 no (Mary, Greg, Curtis). Since the Phase I Final Plat was not approved, and since there was possibly some confusion about the motion and the meaning of a “no” vote, this issue could be back for further consideration by the Council. Stay tuned.