RD’s Moab City Council Preview 2020-10-27

[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.]

The 130-page packet can be found here: https://moabcity.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_10272020-975?packet=true.  If you prefer the 3-page agenda only, with links to packet parts, that is here: https://moabcity.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_10272020-975

To watch the meeting via YouTube :


Workshop starts at 5:30 PM; Regular session starts at 7 PM

Citizens to Be Heard – The public can call in to our October 27 meeting, participate via Zoom, or submit written comments on any topic. 

Phone: (669) 900-9128  Meeting ID: 824 1556 3747  Password (if needed): 839246

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82415563747?pwd=sdjhefrwwuvhb29xnk05de5kq0vrqt09

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. Comments will be limited to three (3) minutes and will be recorded and on YouTube. 

Comments may be submitted prior to the meeting through the following link: http://bit.ly/publiccommentform

And/Or write City Council (anytime, on any subject):CityCouncil@moabcity.org

Here is a summary of what’s on our upcoming October 27 City Council agenda, plus some other items of potential interest.

  • The City attorney’s research on paratouring (under Admin Reports – I know several of you have raised noise concerns about this);
  • New draft procedure to address a proposed change in use of city property (I know some of you have been awaiting this);
  • Info on the cost of potential manufactured or modular housing units at Walnut Lane;
  • Presentation on local fire fuels mitigation
  • Presentation on the conservation alternative to Manti La-Sal National Forest alternatives,
  • Potential agreement related to the retaining wall under Woody’s Tavern and a few other suggested changes in mitigate flooding damage and erosion in the stretch of Mill Creek between Highway 191/Main Street and the pedestrian bridge by 100 East

Workshop Presentations:

  • Conservation alternative for comparison with Manti La-Sal National Forest alternatives – Mary O’Brien, Utah Forests Program Director, Grand Canyon Trust There are no pages in our packet about this presentation, but it’s scheduled for 5:30-5:45pm.
    • Presentation: Fire fuels mitigation efforts – Kara Dohrenwend, Rim to Rim Restoration, and Councilmember Duncan There are no pages in our packet about this presentation either, but FYI it’s scheduled for 5:45-6:00pm.
    6:00pm Joint City Council-Planning Commission workshop• Joint Council-Planning Commission discussion on planning priorities Packet page 4 explains the desire to clarify priorities, and page 5 lists the City Planning Department’s priorities for 2020, which were presented to Council back in March 2020, during our strategic planning retreat.   

6 PM Joint City Council-City Planning Commission workshop on planning priorities. Packet page 4 explains the desire to clarify priorities, and page 5 lists the City Planning Department’s priorities for 2020, which were presented to Council back in March 2020, during our strategic planning retreat.   

7:00pm Main meeting

• COVID-19 Updates (under Administrative Reports portion of agenda). There are no pages in our packet for this item, but usually the 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.

• Walnut Lane Financing options. This is on our agenda as a briefing and possible action. At our October 13 Council meeting, City Senior Projects Manager Kaitlin Myers delivered to the Council a recommendation from the IFB (Invitation for Bids) Selection Committee, which had reviewed received bids for the construction, delivery and installation of manufactured housing units to replace several trailers at Walnut Lane. At that meeting, the Council requested that Myers return with information about equity needs, and how this would fit in the City budget. Page 8 explains options Myers, Alex Buxton of Zions Public Finance, and City Finance Director Klint York will be explaining to Council on Tuesday.

• Request for City Council approval of, or direction regarding changes to, the proposed City administrative procedures regarding a change in use of City real property in non-emergency situations. This is on our agenda as a briefing and possible action. As you may recall, in response to the process the bike skills park went through, and the recent request to use City land adjacent to Anonymous Park for a community garden, the Council asked staff to draft procedures that would require public participation as part of any future consideration of a change in use in City property. Please note that this request did not include emergency situations, when it behooves a City Manager to be able to act quickly to permit alternative use of City property. Pages 9-10 of our packet offer additional background information noting the hope that such procedures will increase transparency as well as public participation; the draft procedures are on pages 11-12; and there is a list of all City-owned parcels on pages 13-14. You’ll note that the bulk of the draft procedures address decisions the City Council will need to make about participation format, but also considers details like what time period will constitute a “change in use.” Please let me know if you have suggested changes or additions; this is our first crack at these procedures, and there may be worthy details not included yet. 

• Source Control for Solid Waste District.  There are no pages in our packet about this, but we will apparently be discussing the possibility of a future related resolution.

• Proposed Resolution 42-2020: a resolution continuing the local emergency proclamation due to the economic impact of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus on restaurants in the City of Moab. Packet page 15 explains the need to renew our September 30 local state of emergency proclamation in order to allow local restaurants who’ve started using “parklet” areas for outdoor, physically-distanced seating to continue to do so. The proclamation needs to be renewed every 30 days to continue allowing such seating. The draft resolution is on pages 16-17, and this item is a briefing, with possible action.

• Proposed Resolution 43-2020: a resolution authorizing the agreement between the City of Moab and Alex Moab Properties, LLC.  Another briefing and possible action, this item and its associated paperwork take up the bulk of our packet. The agenda summary on pages 18-20 is a good place to start, explaining that Alex Moab Properties, LLC owns and operates World Famous Woody’s Tavern on Main Street, adjacent to Mill Creek. Mill Creek is designated as a flood hazard area, and back in 1992 the study on packet pages 34-49 recommended several improvements to reduce potential flood damage, increase the amount of water the stream can convey, reduce erosion, etc on the creek stretch between 100W and 300S. Mentioned in that study was the poor condition of the metal posts and wire fencing structure on the south side of the creek just below Woody’s – apparently installed there to secure the steep bank. In 2018, the City commissioned a “Mill Creek Parkway Stream Stability Evaluation,” in part due to concerns about the stability of the retaining wall under Woody’s, as well as questions about the pedestrian bridge upstream by 100E, the walkway and wall on the north side of Mill Creek in the stretch from Main Street to 100E, and the two check dams in this stretch. You can read that 2018 evaluation and related documents on pages 50-128. The draft resolution related to the proposed agreement between the City and Alex Moab Properties is on pages 129-130, the draft agreement on pages 21-33. There’s a lot of detail and history in here, so I’ll leave it to you to dig as deep as interests you. As the agenda summary notes, the agreement basically sets out responsibilities and expectations for each party, with the City committing to enhance the stability of Mill Creek adjacent to Woody’s by undertaking one or more of the “alternative Tavern Retaining Wall Solutions” described in the 2018 evaluation.  

That’s it for our October 27 City Council meeting, except: aside from what’s listed above, the meeting will contain standard items such as: reports from the Council, Mayor, City Manager and selected staff – this time the Finance, Planning, Police and Legal departments; approval of minutes – this time for October 8 (covered on page 6 of our packet) and October 9 (p7);  and payment of the bills. 

Miscellaneous other items

• City Hall & some other City facilities closed to the public until November 6 due to COVID-19. Due to the Governor’s moving Grand County to the “High” COVID-19 transmission level on Oct 22, and an elevated number of cases and exposures among City staff, the following are closed to the public until at least Nov 6: City Hall; the MARC (Moab Arts & Recreation Center); Center Street Gym; Public Works office; and City Wastewater Treatment Plant. Please see the press release to understand what’s happening at the MRAC (Moab Recreation & Aquatic Center), and for City staff contact numbers. The Times-Independent and Moab Sun News have articles about this as well: https://www.moabtimes.com/articles/moab-city-facilities-closed-to-the-public-until-nov-6/ and https://www.moabsunnews.com/covid-19/article_8928a6be-14c9-11eb-b2f6-3b7a9ad53dca.html.

• COVID-19 latest numbers locally. Per the Southeast Utah Health Department (SEUHD) web site, Grand County has now had a total of 130 positive COVID-19 cases, 32 of which are active. Grand, Carbon and Emery counties are all at the Governor’s new “High” transmission level, the most serious of the three levels. The State’s website https://coronavirus.utah.gov has also posted: “Health guidance for all levels” and “Transmission Index by County.” Luckily we have no one in the hospital at the moment in Grand County, whereas our neighbors in Emery and Carbon each have four people hospitalized. Grand County’s percent of positive cases over the past week is just over 14%, and the number of positive cases per 100,000 people is 327.7. Please visit https://www.seuhealth.com/covid-19 for more detail. Here are related articles from our local papers:- Times-Independent “MRH testing just got faster: Having a swab in the morning can yield results by evening” https://www.moabtimes.com/articles/mrh-testing-just-got-faster/– Moab Sun News “Moab reports ‘high’ transmission levels, state says” https://www.moabsunnews.com/covid-19/article_a099fdcc-14b3-11eb-ba77-efc5706b256e.html– Times-Independent “COVID-19 spikes volleyball postseason: 5 players, coach, 5 relatives test positive” https://www.moabtimes.com/articles/covid-19-spikes-volleyball-postseason/

• COVID-19 situation statewide.  As ever, there is no shortage of good articles on COVID-19, and I’d recommend these:- Salt Lake Tribune: This one is not pretty, but as knowledge is power, I think it’s important to understanding the status of ICU beds in Utah at this point, staffing constraints, provider exhaustion, and the horrible decisions providers are preparing for in order to prioritize patients. There are many numbers in here to make you think – from why one can’t exceed 85% of ICU bed capacity, to that hospitalizations tend to follow increases in positive tests by 10 days, etc. “Utah’s hospitals prepare to ration care as a record number of coronavirus patients flood their ICUs” https://www.sltrib.com/news/2020/10/25/with-coronavirus-cases/– Salt Lake Tribune: “Health workers say they’re near the brink as Utah reports another single-day COVID-19 record” https://www.sltrib.com/news/2020/10/23/utah-sets-new-single-day/

• Flagging on 100E, between Mill Creek Parkway and 100S. I got a recent question from one of you about why there had been some flagging in this block, cutting off parking on the west side of the street. In case others among you have wondered, I confirmed with staff that the property owner of the Greenwell Inn also owns part of 100E – yes, into the street – and is preparing to fence it off. The flagging marks the approximate property line.

• Halloween – I know several of you are struggling with whether or how to observe Halloween. Here are two articles with suggestions from health professionals that may be of interest:– Deseret News: “How do you celebrate Halloween during a pandemic?”https://www.deseret.com/entertainment/2020/10/25/21453126/utah-department-of-health-halloween-recommendations-covid-19-coronavirus-pandemic-zurchers
– Deseret News: “In our opinion: Halloween is scary enough without COVID-19 spiking in Utah” https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2020/10/24/21530582/halloween-covid-19-cdc-guidelines-trick-or-treat-utah-poll

• Other articles pertinent to our region:

  • Deseret News: with special thanks to those of you on Grand County SAR! “Search and rescue teams in the West try to keep up with an influx of people heading outdoors”https://www.deseret.com/indepth/2020/10/22/21510112/search-and-rescue-teams-in-the-west-try-to-keep-up-with-an-influx-of-people-heading-outdoors
  • Salt Lake Tribune: you may have heard of the power cuts that have been occurring in California to reduce wildfire risk on particularly windy days. If you have family or friends in Utah and Summit counties, I thought you might be interested that that was recently contemplated by Rocky Mountain Power, but then – at least this time – the weather shifted. “Rocky Mountain Power ends ‘Public Safety Power Shutoff’ watch; won’t cut power for Utah customers” https://www.sltrib.com/news/2020/10/23/rocky-mountain-power/
  • That’s it for tonight. Please let me know if you have any questions I might be able to help with, and please be careful stepping outside tomorrow morning – looks like it will be slippery out there!Rani

That’s it for now. Please let me know if you have any questions I might be able to help with.

Rani Derasary, Moab City Councilmember