Grand County Commission Meeting Report 2020-11-04

You can view the full agenda and packet here.

SEUHD Covid19 udate by Brady Bradford

  • GC is in better position than last week.  # of positive tests has dropped in GC over last week, with steady rate of testing, from 16% to 8%.  GC was in high risk category last week and will continue in this category for another week.  County’s trending in right direction. Tests are continuing at MRH and additional locations.
  • State level numbers are very alarming – including Carbon and Emery counties.  There might be state-level policy changes in near future if trends don’t improve.
  • SUEHD is trying to keep webpage updated for public and intends to add more info soon.
  • GC cases have generally fared better than in Carbon and Emery county wrt hospitalizations.
  • When asked about the dramatic differences in GC vs Carbon and Emery, Brady noted that use of masks in other counties is not as high as in GC; in addition, Covid was so widespread in Carbon that it was permeating all walks of life – schools, families, businesses, etc.

Citizens to be Heard

  • Member of Chamber of Commerce noted Chamber’s concerns about the proposed resolution to establish GC’s policy for advertising that must include education and/or responsible recreation message, and expressed frustration that this was not vetted through the Travel Council Advisory Board.
  • Kevin Walker commented that residents’ biggest concern he heard while campaigning was the impact of tourism. Since these promo expenditures are ultimately the responsibility of the GCC, he supports the resolution, noting importance of communicating proper message to visitors through our advertisements.

Housing Authority of Southeastern Utah (HASU) 2019 Annual Report (Ben Riley, HASU Director)

  • The rent-to-own Virginian Apartments are 100% full with 1 yr. waiting list for 1BR and shorter for 2BR apartments.
  • Cinema Court continues to maintain a low vacancy rate. Waiting list for all units are as follows: 48 on the one-bedroom, 45 on the two-bedroom and 26 on the three-bedroom.
  • Mutual self-help: Received 10th MSH Grant for 20 homes and currently have 11 homes under construction at Wingate Village (south of Shell station in Spanish Valley). Currently processing applications for first build of nine homes at Arroyo Crossing to begin in the spring of 2021. As of now HASU has reserved 19 single family lots for MSH construction at AC for 2021-2022.
  • MAPS Senior Living, a 36 unit one and two bedroom rental project finished construction; there are 31/36 units leased with anticipated 100% occupancy by the end of November. This project has 30 one-bedrooms and six two-bedrooms at rents from $285-$750/month.
  • Wingate Village (south of Shell station/east of KOA): Infrastructure is complete and now constructing 33 homes in the subdivision. 22 units of affordable rentals that will be three and four bedroom townhomes including one ADA duplex and 11 Mutual Self Help homes.

Moab Area Travel Council presentation (Elaine Gizler).

  • TC has shifted emphasis in ads over past 5 years, from pushing visitation to National Parks to educating visitors before and while they’re in Moab.
  • TC supports the GCC’s resolution requiring ads to emphasize education or responsible recreation message, noting TC has already been doing that.
  • TC wants quality over quantity.
  • TC is now emphasizing shoulder seasons (i.e. winter) as good time to visit Grand County – to help economy and also improve visitor experience.

Adopting a resolution establishing a Grand County policy for activities relating to the establishment and promotion of recreation, tourism, film production, and conventions (Chris Baird, Commission Administrator)

  • Resolution will help inform community how Transient Room Tax (TRT) is being spent. Important to let community know its concerns about impacts from tourism are being heard. And it’s important to comply with state statutes regarding TRT expenditures and role of Advisory Bd. [Editor’s note: TRT funds the Travel council]
  • Evan noted that it’s helpful having policy out in the open and having standards in place will help in decision-making. Also noted that even though TC’s ads might have pivoted in 2015, that visitation has continued to increase, and Commission needs to be responsive to constituents concerns about impacts of tourism; continuing to subsidize one industry to detriment of residents’ quality of life is a problem.
  • Curtis noted a lack of clarity in structure of TC Adv. Board and wants to make sure everyone understands its advisory to the GCC, not to the TC director. Agrees that GCC, as legislative body, should set things out in resolution for clarity. Also noted that results of the “leave no trace” type messaging is hard to quantify.

Resolution approved 6-0 (Paxman absent)

Granting relief from 2019 property tax late penalty and interest for Gravel Pit Lanes, as this business was closed due to COVID-19 (Erik Hansen, manager of Gravel Pit Lanes 260-2108, and Chris Kauffman, County Treasurer)

  • Manager requested waiver of interest and penalties (from non-payment of 2019 property taxes that were due in Nov. 2019) as bowling alley closed down for a couple months in early 2020.
  • Discussion included Q’s about county policy, precedent, and impact to county’s budget if request granted. Chris Baird noted that the budget does include a line item for interest and penalties, but it’s small. And granting this request to waive ~$1000 would not impact the budget.
  • Jaylyn noted that the interest and penalties were for the 2019 taxes that were due in Nov. 2019 before the pandemic shut down and owner had missed two appeal deadlines.

Approved 4-2 (Hawks and Woytek opposed, Paxman absent)

Presentation on Public Infrastructure District (PID) and approving initiation of PID Policy drafting process (Aaron Wade, Gilmore & Bell and Commissioner Wells).

  • PIDs are a new economic development tool established by Utah Senate Bill 228 (2019). These districts aide in the financing of new or redeveloped public infrastructure associated with private development applications.
  • PID debt may be repayable from property taxes or assessments placed specifically on the property owners within the PID boundary.

For more info on PIDs, see p.82 in packet here.

Motion to initiate the process to draft a policy for the evaluation of requests for the establishment of Public Infrastructure Districts approved 5-1 (Halliday opposed, Paxman absent)

Approving a letter to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Moab Field Office requesting denial of the special recreation permit for the Rally on the Rocks event (Chair McGann)

  • In October 2020, Grand County and the City of Moab passed a joint resolution which, in part, “impose[s] a moratorium on the issuance of new special events permits for the assemblage of vendors, enthusiasts, or users of All-Terrain Vehicles, including associations, groups, and individuals.”
  • Rally on the Rocks event had received a probationary permit for the spring of 2020. Due to the pandemic the 2020 spring event was cancelled. The event organizers are protesting the stipulations the probationary permit required.
  • During the late summer and fall of 2020 the volume of UTV/ATV’s on the streets in Moab and Spanish Valley increased significantly resulting in many neighborhood and business to be negatively impacted by the noise. A petition, Make Moab Quiet Again, with over 3000 signatures was submitted to MCC and GCC at recent Jt. Meeting to discuss the noise issue.
  • ROTR organizers are attempting to circumvent the moratorium by “moving” the 2021 event (staging) to a location in San Juan County, possibly even within Spanish Valley.
  • GCC’s letter to BLM notes that ROTR relies on the use of BLM lands and motorized routes throughout Grand County, and access to these BLM routes requires ROTR participants to use Grand County roads and Moab City streets, and granting a permit for the ROTR event on BLM lands within Grand County will effectively negate the purpose of Grand County’s special events moratorium, undermine the important steps that we have taken to proactively address this serious issue, and further harm our community.

Letter to BLM approved 5-1 (Wells opposed, Paxman absent).

Discussion on Special Event permitting stipulations and conditional approvals based on Grand County’s COVID-19 risk level (Christina Sloan, County Attorney and Chris Baird, Commission Administrator)

  • If we want to keep Special Event Permits (SEP) open for 2021 during Covid, we need to have rules/guidelines in place addressing size of event, locations/indoors/outdoors, alcohol, overlapping events, enforcement staff, LE, etc.
  • County administrator and attorney are concerned about sending county staff to these events – due to health and safety concerns; and there are concerns over a super-spreader event.
  • GC won’t know what our risk level is until the date of the event, so permittees should be forewarned that they’ll be required to comply with risk-level rules that are in place at time of event.
  • Elaine is working to update the SEP application and looking at other communities applications, etc. She also noted that the SEP application deadline should be moved out much farther in advance and will send revisions to CA office for review.
  • Agreed to have small working group (including Elaine, Gabriel, Chris Baird, Chrissy Sloan, SEUHD representative, Sheriff, others?) draft SEP criteria by end of the year; AND that 1st Qtr 2021 permittees should be put on notice that their event might be cancelled, rescheduled etc if can’t meet risk level criteria.