MD’s Moab City Council Meeting Preview 2021-03-23

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

Agenda and Packet:

You can write City Council (anytime, on any subject):

Pre-Council Workshop – 6 pmMoab and SV Regional Transportation Plan

This discussion prefaces and is related to two later items on this agenda, as well as the Regional Transportation Plan / Bypass issue County Commission recently debated:

  • An Inter-Local Agreement between the City of Moab and Grand County, Reconsideration
  •  Stating the City of Moab’s Position on Highway 191 Bypass

Regular session starts at 7 PM:

Citizens to Be Heard.We are receiving public comments by phone and online through Zoom. Citizens are limited to two (2) minutes for comments.  Dial: 669-900-9128     Meeting ID:  833 6435 7424    Passcode (if needed):  184220 Link:

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. Your comments will be recorded and on YouTube. If you’re youtube’ing, be aware this stream can be seconds or minutes behind real time. This is a big source of confusion if you’re also doing CTBH via Zoom, which is real time!

To have your written comments considered for the Citizens to Be Heard portion of the electronic meeting, please fill out the form found here: You must submit your comments by 7:00 PM on the date of the meeting. Please limit your comments to 400 words.

Public Hearing for two Revenue Bonds:

  • Sale of Not More Than $7M Wastewater and Water Revenue Bonds
  • Sale Of Not More Than $8.5M of Sales Tax Revenue And Refunding Bonds

The Wastewater and Water Bond is paid off by revenues raised by fees paid by wastewater and water users. These services are an “enterprise” fund, meaning that the city is allowed to operate these services as though they were a non-profit business. The Sales Tax Bond is paid off by sales tax revenue, the main revenue in the City’s budget. Part of this bond is a “re-finance” of an existing bond which lowers the interest rate paid by the city and saves us money; this is much like home-owners do when mortgage rates drop.

We are receiving public comments by phone and online through Zoom. See above for instructions.

Staff reports: (Expect 10-20 minutes…)

  • City Manager Updates
  • COVID-19 Updates

Mayor and Council reports: (These (6) reports typically take at least 20 minutes…)

Approval of Minutes (brief).

I have not listed all the agenda items here, just the interesting ones. Please see complete Agenda packet for more details.

An Interlocal Agreement between the City of Moab and Grand County, Reconsideration

  • This Transportation Plan planning effort (confusingly, not the Regional Transportation Plan study nearly complete, a subject elsewhere on this agenda) narrowly failed at the last Council meeting over worries that participating in it would further engender bypass discussion; I was the swing vote. Another Council member has since convinced me there’s more to be gained than lost by participating in the study. For the record, the only route I support is a miles-long tunnel underneath Main St; yes, horrendously expensive, likely partially in the water table and cost $B. Therefore, highly unlikely any time soon if ever. Other routes have their own geotechnical issues and are far too short to be useful in a future grown-up Moab, not to mention opposition from various neighborhoods.

Moving 17.74 “Noise” to 8.24 “Health And Safety” 

  • The city has an existing noise ordinance that covers a wide variety of noise pollution sources, from dogs to loudspeakers to vehicles, from 10 PM to 7 AM, specifying 65 dBA at 25 feet distance. As a preliminary step to anticipated future additional noise ordinances such as stationary or pass-by noise limits from certain vehicles, we wish to move the existing ordinance from Chapter 17 (Zoning) to a new Chapter 8, Health and Safety. Stationary and pass-by vehicle noise ordinances are currently being written by City Legal and Public Safety staff, will go in Chapter 8 and will appear on the agenda soon for public discussion.

Defining the Point in Time at Which the City Formally Initiates Proceedings to Amend Its Land Use Regulations

  • Recently the City used a 180 day “moratorium” to suspend Overnight Accommodation development while Council figured out what it really wanted to do. We might do the same thing again to suspend new or expanded ATV businesses while we figure out what we really want to do about ATV noise. This ordinance doesn’t suspend anything; it just clearly defines the moment when a moratorium starts so that there’s no confusion as to who was in line (vested, to use a technical term) at the time the moratorium started and who wasn’t.

Support for Construction of Future Phases of the Colorado River Pathway

  • Many of you have ridden or walked the nifty bike path that runs from Lions Park a few miles up the Colorado River. Unfortunately, it ends about 5/8 mi short of Grandstaff Canyon. This resolution, a no-brainer, expresses the City’s support for federal and state funding of the 5/8 mi gap. Eventually, we’d like the bike path to go all the way to Castle Valley.

Stating the City of Moab’s Position on Highway 191 Bypass

  • This resolution is sponsored by Kalen Jones, a City Council member who lives near the intersection of Kane Creek Blvd and 500W. The top two bypass routes, 1A and 1D as identified in Fehr & Peers’ 2018 UDOT Hotspot Study, would heavily impact his neighborhood as well as the Mountain View subdivision and the west side of town in general.
  • Kalen proposes three things, one of which I agree with: disallow routes 1A and 1D in further regional transportation planning. I do so not just because the neighbors object; rather, their routes are far too short to be useful especially in light of massive SITLA developments both N and S of town already appearing at the City planning office. Kalen also opposes the inclusion of any bypass at all; as I’ve explained, I favor the “tunnel under Main St” idea which admittedly is unaffordable in any near time frame and see no problem with keeping it alive, since a suitably long bypass could be an effective tool. Third, Kalen advocates mitigating downtown traffic concerns by redeveloping downtown; I agree it would be nice, but unrealistic to think it’ll do anything significant for traffic, and that at best.
  • Kalen did make a good observation that suggests a compromise: the draft Regional Transportation Plan reads “… but leaves the decision to take a more comprehensive analysis open as an option that UDOT leadership and/or local elected bodies can initiate.” Since that phrase can be read as license for UDOT to do what they want, I suggest to delete the UDOT part so that the phrase would read : “… but leaves the decision to take a more comprehensive analysis open as an option that local elected bodies can initiate.” This places control in local hands.

Hope this helps, 

Mike Duncan, City Councilmember