MD’s 2020-07-14 Moab City Council Preview

[Editor’s note: Both Mike Duncan and Rani Derasary have graciously agreed to let MADAR reuse their regular email updates to constituents. Despite the overlap, we are running both versions of the MCC previews. Readers can choose to read both, either or neither of the previews.]

This meeting will be conducted using a video conferencing tool named Zoom. Staff, Mayor and Councilmembers talk to and see an image of 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 14 July 2020. Please limit your comments to 400 words. 

Regular City Council Meeting at 7 PM

Community Garden at Anonymous Park. Moab Community Gardens, an offshoot of the Resiliency Hub, is requesting use of about ¼ acre of city land at Anonymous Park, a bike park west of 500W. They intend to develop 10 10×20’ plots and an herb and flower plot. MoCom Gardens also wants the city to put in a (culinary) water line and waive the connection, water base rate and water use fees. MoCom promises that this presentation is just the start of a public engagement effort.

Pre-Annexation Agreement Request For 10 Acres in the vicinity of 500 West. This parcel, a narrow strip whose long axis runs W to E, N of Westwood Ave near Denny’s on 191, has come up before. It is currently not in city limits, is zoned by county as Rural Residential but has some old commercial buildings. The applicant is requesting a pre-annexation agreement that would permit them to come into the city zoned C-2, a mix of residential and commercial uses. Until we removed Overnight Accommodations from commercial zones, C-2 notably permitted short term rentals. It’s not clear what commercial uses and their required standards will be when we reinstate OA’s in the Cx zones – it’s still in progress. The W end of this parcel, in the flood plain, is expected to become a storm water drainage area, but nonetheless the applicant wants this part to be C-2 as well rather than R4. An R-2 residential area is immediately to the south.

Bicycle and scooter share program, discussion only.Presented by city manager Joel Linares, this is a discussion about what a bike and scooter share program in Moab might look like. Most of us are familiar of course with similar programs in other cities, including SLC. No one has applied. The intent here is to proactively define what is expected of such a business before the first scooter hits the street. Joel’s draft ordinance is 10 pages long and among other requirements lists a number of substantial fees.

Update on Topic not on agenda

Bike Skills Park.We continue to receive letters objecting to placement of the Bike Skills park at its proposed location on the Mill Creek Parkway. I share some of that sentiment. City Council had a very fuzzy look back in 2019 at what the county’s Trail Mix group was proposing; the non-contentious discussion mostly centered on an appropriate amount for the city to commit to annual operation. The bike skills park was poorly defined at that point. Further review took place not in the city’s court but rather in the county’s. So when it returned to the city much later on June 9, 2020, none of us, certainly not myself, foresaw a hornet’s nest of opposition from residents resulting from this threat to the tranquility of a peaceful place. I am bummed. Here’s the minutes of that June meeting:

Councilmember Duncan requested a public hearing. Councilmember Derasary expressed concern about holding a public hearing without knowing whether or not the City is responsible for the project and stated her desire for better communication and clearer processes going forward on future decisions about city property. City Manager Linares explained that the bike skills park is a Trail Mix project and the City’s involvement comes from financial backing from the use of our property and the previous City Manager’s commitment to allocate funds for the bathrooms. He explained that state law does not require a public hearing because the property ownership is not being transferred and that the previous city manager acted within his purchasing authority to allocate funds for the bathroom. He said the options for the Council are to violate the interlocal agreement that the City Council approved to act on this project or pull the use of the land for the project. Mayor Niehaus asked if the Council would like action on a future agenda to reconsider allowing use of the property or proceed without any further action. Councilmember Jones said he felt adequately informed about the project and is in favor of proceeding without any further action. Councilmember Knuteson-Boyd echoed the statements of Councilmember Jones and is in favor of moving forward without any further action. Councilmember Guzman-Newton said she was also in favor of moving forward without further action. Councilmember Duncan requested a stipulation that the project not be promoted to tourists. Councilmember Derasary reiterated her request for better processes on future projects.