RD’s 2020-09-08 Moab City Council Meeting Preview

[Editor’s note: Both Rani Derasary and Mike Duncan 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.]

What follows is a summary of what looks to be a short September 8 City Council agenda, plus some other miscellaneous items that may be of interest –  from a town hall with our federal representative, John Curtis; to health items COVID-19-related and beyond; the latest from UDOT on Highway 191 widening; more Proposition 8 info; and eviction moratorium info.

Tuesday, September 8 City Council meeting – 7:00pm, online only 

The packet for the September 8 meeting is short at 33 pages, and can be found here. If you prefer the 3-page agenda only, with links to packet parts, that is here.

In case of interest, in the past months, the City Council was holding electronic meetings under an Executive Order from Governor Herbert, but that ended, so FYI now we’re meeting electronically under a slightly different provision. Here’s the legal lingo you’ll thus find on our agendas starting August 25: “Consistent with provisions of the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act, Utah Code Ann. § 54-2-207(4), the Moab City Council Chair [ie the Mayor] has issued written determinations supporting the decision to convene electronic meetings of the Council without a physical anchor location. Due to the health and safety risks related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and considering public health orders limiting in-person gatherings, the Moab City Council will continue to hold meetings by electronic means.

You can watch Council meetings online live (or after the fact) on the City’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl00z0Zgdmz4y1FoI0l7CJA.)

Citizens to be Heard (CTBH) comments – new call-in format.  When we started holding Council meetings electronically under COVID-19, residents could submit CTBH comments via an online form before 7pm on the night of our meeting. Due to requests from residents to have the ability to call in during the meetings, we’ve switched to that format.

  • CTBH will be earlier on our agendas. CTBH is scheduled right after minutes approval and before reports from the Mayor, Council and Administrator, meaning you should be able to make your comments just minutes after 7:00pm (assuming you’re not in line with 20 other callers, in which case I assume you’ll be patched in in the order you called). So, beginning with our 9-8-20 meeting, to participate in CTBH: Citizens to be Heard, comments may be made by phone through ZoomDial: (669) 900-9128; Meeting ID: 897 1342 8009; Password (if needed): 394235. Please note that when joining the meeting, you will be placed in a waiting room and will be added to the meeting by the moderator. Once you are added to the meeting, please state your name for the record. Your comments will be limited to three (3) minutes and recorded and on YouTube. 
  • Submitted comments for past electronic meetings can be read here: https://moabcity.org/151/City-Council (see date links in right column).

Here is a breakdown of what’s on the September 8 agenda:

COVID-19 Updates – There are no pages in our packet for this item, but usually City staff, the Mayor and/or Southeast Utah Health Department or Moab Regional Hospital staff offer an update with the latest information on the pandemic as well as an opportunity for Council to ask related questions.

Presentation: Early Head Start program opportunity for expansion in Moab. Pages 8-9 of our packet are the 2018-2019 Annual Report from Rural Utah Child Development (RUCD). Presumably September 8’s presentation will be from RUCT staff. (FYI presentations usually last about 10 minutes.)

Old business

Proposed Ordinance 2020-14: an ordinance amending the zoning for property located at 778 W Kane Creek Boulevard in the RA-1, Residential-Agricultural Zone, to C-1, Commercial-Residential Zone and amending the City of Moab Official Zoning Map (previously Ordinance 2019-10)

  • On our agenda as a briefing and action. Pages 10-12 are the agenda summary offering background on this request, which came to Council originally as Ordinance 2019-10 back in March and April 2019. You can find the proposed new ordinance (2020-14) on pages 13-14, plus the applicant’s statement on p15. The property is a previously licensed B&B business operated out of a residence.

New Business

Proposed Resolution 35-2020: a resolution approving the Brinnon/Bentley Estates Minor Subdivision of property located at 1040 Pear Tree Lane

  • On our agenda as a briefing and possible action, this item is covered on packet pages 16-21. The agenda summary explains the applicants’ desire to subdivide one lot into two, allowing for residential development on the first, and potential sale of the second. The lots are in the RA-1 Residential-Agricultural Zone. Page 17 shows the City code explaining the circumstances under which a public hearing is not required for subdivisions of less than 5 lots (the case for this agenda item, and the next two).

Proposed Resolution 36-2020: a resolution approving the 241 East 100 North Minor Subdivision of property located at 241 East 100 North

  • This item is covered on packet pages 22-27. Like the item above, it’s a request to subdivide one lot into two for residential use or sale, though this property is located in the R-3 Multi-Household Residential Zone. Council will be briefed on this September 8 and are being asked to vote on it.

Proposed Resolution 37-2020: a resolution approving the Every Minor Subdivision of property located at 165 East 200 North

  • Like the prior two agenda items, this item is before us as a briefing and possible action, and is a proposal to split one property into two lots – this time on 200N in the R-3 Multi-Household Residential Zone. You can find the agenda summary, resolution, and associated map and plat on pages 28-33.

In addition from what’s listed above, the meeting will contain standard items such as: reports from the Council, Mayor, City Manager and selected staff; approval of minutes – this time for August 25 (covered on pages 4-7 of our packet);

Miscellaneous other items

Congressman John Curtis Town Hall live in Moab, September 8. Moab’s representative in the US House of Representatives, John Curtis, will be holding an outdoor, in-person Town Hall meeting at the Sun Court in Moab (171 E Center Street) from 4-5pm on September 8 (social distancing & masks required).

Evictions moratorium through 12-31-20. This has been in the news, and the Utah League of Cities and Towns had this explanation for elected officials such as myself:

  • used their best efforts to obtain government aid;
  • expects to earn less than $99,000 (or $198,000 filing jointly);
  • is unable to pay the full rent or housing payment because of a substantial loss of income or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • is using best efforts to make timely partial payments; and
  • would likely be rendered homeless or forced to live in close quarters in a new congregate/shared living environment if evicted from their current housing.”

This National Law Review article adds to that: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/cdc-enacts-new-residential-eviction-moratorium

Proposition 8 (Recreation, Arts & Park RAP Tax) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) info sheet.I’ve mentioned before that the City has an info page to tell you more about why you might want to support this Recreation, Arts and Park sales tax coming up our our local ballot this fall. Here is a letter to the editor fellow councilmember Mike Duncan wrote on the proposition. Since the tax is specific to recreation, parks, art & culture, this Moab Sun News article may also be of interest, “Federal funding rescues MARC”. The Moab Arts & Recreation Center (MARC) could be one of the beneficiaries of Prop 8.

COVID-19: local case count up to 57. As of Monday afternoon, the Southeast Utah Health Department (SEUHD) (https://www.seuhealth.com/covid-19) is reporting we’ve had a total of 57 positive COVID-19 tests in Grand County, 2 of which are active. Our percentage of positive tests over the last 7 days is 0.3%. You’ll note the chart for school case counts has been updated to include the Grand County School District and Moab Charter School.  

Electronic signage up regarding face covering requirement. In case you hadn’t heard, at our special August 19 City Council meeting, we discussed requests we’ve been getting from residents to please put electronic signs up on the north and south ends of town to help inform drivers that our area has a mask requirement in place. The possibility of banners or flags on City light poles or other key locations was also discussed. I’ve been out of town helping my mom, but it’s my understanding that electronic signs are now posted: a) where Aggie Drive and Millcreek cross Highway 191, and b) by the intersection of Highways 313 and 191. 

National preparedness month – make a plan. Thanks to the City and SEUHD Facebook pages for this reminder: “It’s National Preparedness Month!! Week 1 of Nation Preparedness month is centered around making a plan. Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during and after a disaster. Make sure to update your plan based on Centers for Disease Control recommendations due COVID-19. Go to https://www.ready.gov/plan to access everything you will need to build your preparedness plan.”

Suicide Prevention and Awareness month. At our last Council meeting, SEUHD Suicide Prevention Specialist, and Vice Chair of the HOPE Squad of Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties, Amanda McIntosh, informed us about related events in our region.

  • For World Suicide Prevention Day, Thursday, September 10, 2020, they’ve organized candlelight vigils in all three counties. They invite everyone to “Please join us to honor our loved ones lost to suicide and for the survivors. It will start at 7:30 PM and the SEUHD will provide battery-operated candles that will be lit at 8:00PM for an hour. A counselor will be onsite at each event for additional support.”
  • Other upcoming HOPE Squad events, including films showings and a run at Goblin Valley State Park, are described on their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/hopesquadcarbonandemery.
  • Per their own description, “The Hope Squad of Carbon, Emery and Grand Counties brings awareness and provides suicide prevention activities to benefit those in the community who need it most. It believes that suicide is preventable using evidenced-based programs and partners.”

Overdose awareness. Thanks to the SEUHD Facebook page for alerting me that August 31 was International Overdose Awareness Day, during which we are all encouraged “to spread awareness of the dangers of overdose and what to do if one occurs.

Personal Note. I’ve been fortunate enough to be visiting my mom out of town recently. The stress of driving many hours to see her in a careful manner that minimized any chance of exposing her to COVID-19 was taxing, but it’s been well worth it to have the time together and be able to help her with things I can’t do through a computer screen. I hope all of you are finding ways to interact with friends and family in a safe way under CDC guidelines – whether that’s online or at a physical distance. I hear the Canyonlands Care Center (CCC) is working on a way to offer limited visitation and thank CCC staff and Health Care Special Service District board for making that possible for CCC residents and their loved ones. Thanks to all of you helping others find connection at a time where that requires great care and creativity. Moab is impressive in this and so many other ways.

Rani Derasary, Moab City Councilmember