Grand County Commission Meeting Report 2020-09-15

The GCC’s agenda and packet for the meeting can be found here.

Willow Springs RV Park

Immediately at the beginning of the meeting Comm’r Wells moved to modify the agenda and move the Willow Springs RV Park agenda item to the top of the agenda. Motion approved unanimously. Then after some discussion, Wells moved to “postpone indefinitely” the Willow Spring RV Park item. Approved unanimously.

Citizens to be heard

  • Kevin Walker commented that the Land Use Code states that the GCC “shall consider” various factors (including ratio of nightly rentals to residences) when reviewing an application for overnight accommodations and make specific findings based on these criteria. And that the decision to apply the OA Overlay is a legislative, not administrative, decision. The GCC must use it’s judgement as to whether there are benefits to the county before approving OA applications. The proposed resolution to approve the Willow Springs RV Park that was included in the GCC packet did not include any findings wrt these criteria. He urged GCC to follow the LUC requirements in future considerations of overnight accommodation applications.
  • Sarah Stock commented that the CIB money that will be used for the Bookcliffs Hwy is supposed to be used to mitigate impacts of mineral extraction/development on affected communities, NOT to subsidize and support industries.
  • Sharon Brussel commented that approving more private RV parks will NOT address the growing issue of free-camping on state and public lands. Free-campers do not want to pay to be in RV parks, don’t need hookups, and they want to camp for free on public lands. She noted that her comments are based on over 20 years of experience with NPS and BLM and discussions w/ the people that are free-camping.
  • Rally on the Rock sponsor commented that the conditions on the ROTRs permit were unfair and he was adamantly opposed to the county imposing such conditions on his event. [Editor’s note: Special Event Permits issued by the GC are a privilege not a right].
  • Namaste Rock proponent (large housing/commercial development proposal for the 313/191 area) complained that having to wait for the 313/191 Small Area Plan to be finalized was not fair.
  • Tory Hill expressed support for the GCC’s letter to BLM regarding the Bookcliffs Hwy.
  • Liz Thomas stated that hoped the GCC would review the letter she’d submitted with 624 signatures from residents that urged the GCC to not approve any new overnight accommodations, including RV parks, until the already-approved projects in the pipeline are built. We can’t know the impacts of this 38% increase until after the pipeline is fully built. The letter signers span the political, age, economic spectrum of Grand County residents.

Commissioners and Other Elected Officials Reports

Of note:

  • Rory Paxman reported that Old Spanish Trail Arena was having water issues (shortages) and will be contacting the cemetery district for help. He also noted that at the airport board meeting he learned that enplanements are about 50% of last year’s numbers.
  • Curtis Wells reported that the Arches Hotspot committee is reviewing the downtown on-street parking plan and associated costs. It appears that approx. 150 parking spaces can be added at about 1/2 the cost of the previoulsy-proposed parking garage’s 180 spaces.
  • Christina Sloan, county attorney, noted that she’s looking into the county’s liability associated with the Sky Dive Utah event. She is still working on legal briefs for the form of government lawsuit; briefs that have been filed w/ the court are available to local media. She also noted that the motion to “postpone indefinitely” the Willow Springs RV Park item lacks clarity and leaves the issue hanging out in limbo (as opposed to a motion to deny the application). Every time this issue is put back on the GCC’s agenda, it requires time from the county attorney’s office and planning staff.
  • Quinn Hall, Clerk, reported that ballots will be mailed to county residents beginning Oct. 13, and that the (misleading) USPS mailer that residents received are generating a lot of unnecessary queries to his office about absentee ballots. Utah is a vote-by-mail state and every GC resident will receive a ballot in the mail.

Letter to USFS regarding the Manti-LaSal Nat’l Forest Management Plan

GCC voted unanimously to not approve the Motorized Trails Committee’s proposed letter. But rather to schedule a workshop sometime BEFORE the next GCC meeting, Oct. 6, to discuss GCC’s cooperating agency letter to the USFS with the various county committees, boards and agencies to get their input on this issue. Then GCC will submit ONE letter to USFS from the county, rather multiple letters with concerns from the various groups under the county umbrella. The County will reach out to all of the committees, agencies, boards, etc. (Trail Mix, Motorized Trail Committee, MAWP, EMS, road department, fire, etc.) to encourage input at the workshop.

Bookcliffs Highway

Several GCC members voiced concern that the SCIC (Seven County Infrastructure Coalition – which GC is not a member) was continuing to pursue this unneeded, very expensive road through the Bookcliffs in Grand County over the stated opposition of Grand County. Jaylyn noted that GC has opposed this road for about 30 years, in its various iterations and names, Greg noted that rather than spend millions on the Bookcliffs Hwy, that Hwy 6 and Hwy 191 need safety improvements and these improvements could save lives of Grand County citizens. Mary commented that the SCIC has received over $3 million from the State of UT for this project – at the expense of schools, teachers, students, and taxpayers statewide. And importantly, the SCIC’s statement that UDOT, not Grand County, will be responsible for all future road maintenance and repair once it’s built seems suspicious, since UDOT’s webpage doesn’t mention maintenance or expected costs for this road. Motion to approve GCC’s letter to BLM opposing the right-of-way for the Bookcliffs Hwy passed 5-2 (Wells and Paxman opposing). You can view GCC excellent letter here (at page 54).