Grand County Commission meeting report 2021-03-16

Packet is here:

Videos are here: (workshop); (main meeting)

The more interesting agenda items are…

Workshop on noise pollution reduction efforts and planning. The state legislature is disinclined to help Moab deal with the horrific noise problems that the state legislature caused a few years ago by imposing an ill-advised, one-size-fits-all UTV policy on us. But there is still hope, since we can use our local noise ordinance, business license ordinance, and land use code to regulate noisy vehicles on our residential streets.

  • Local noise ordinance. This would apply to all vehicles. The basic idea is simple: If your vehicle makes too much noise, then you get a ticket. The implementation is more difficult than one would hope. We could use (a) tailpipe tests (pull vehicle over and place noise meter close to vehicle while the engine is revved); (b) drive-by tests (place noise meter at side of road and measure real-world noise from the vehicle); (c) audibility tests (cite vehicles which are clearly audible from a certain distance, no noise meter needed); or (d) some combination of all of these. Each enforcement option comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. I expect that the county will adopt all of these, but the initial enforcement efforts will be more narrowly focused.
  • Regulating UTV rentals. Via the land use code and business licenses, we have a lot of leeway to regulate rental UTVS. Options discussed include requiring that rental UTVs either (a) be not much louder than passenger cars, or (b) use trailers to get to trailheads. There was also discussion of capping the number of UTV businesses, and requiring identifying stickers on rental UTVs to assist in enforcement.

I’m optimistic that if we do a moderate amount of enforcement of our noise ordinance, and if we publicize these enforcement efforts, then our residential streets will be significantly quieter this year than they were last year.

I. Approving letter of support for Recreational Trails Program Full Funding Act. The GCC postponed action on this item in order to gather more information on how these funds are spent. (7-0)

K. Approving budget appropriation for Thompson Springs clean-up efforts. The GCC kicked in $7500 to help with reducing fire danger in Thompson. (7-0)

L. Approving letter to Bureau of Land Management requesting mitigation of crowding on local trails. The GCC approved a letter to the BLM formally requesting that the BLM begin studying ways to prevent overcrowding on BLM trails near Moab. The popularity of these trails contributes to UTV noise on residential streets. (6-1, Hedin opposed)

M. Approving letter to Governor Cox requesting amendment to HB 297. The letter supports a request from the Northern Ute Tribe that HB 297 be clarified to state that it does not diminish the Ute Tribe’s water rights claims. Proponents welcomed the opportunity to improve relations with the Ute Tribe. Opponents worried that the letter could cause us political problems with with other Utah water rights players. (4-3, Hadler, Hedin, Clapper opposed)

N. Approving Grand County’s formal position regarding the 191 bypass feasibility. The GCC adopted a position of non-support for a bypass. There was discussion of studying redevelopment of downtown to create pedestrian-friendly spaces off of Main Street (e.g. on the back sides of Main Street shops). (6-1, Clapper opposed)