Moab City Council Meeting Report 2021-04-27

Workshop and action on Noise Ordinance. The city attorney highlighted a few items of substantive difference with the county noise code: 

  • County’s nighttime quieter hours are 9pm-7am, summer 10pm-6am
  • exempted motorcycles from stationary (tailpipe) test

And some of the similarities

  • Decible (dB) limits, both pass-by and tailpipe, are the same
  • Both require the EPA sticker on motorcycle mufflers

The EPA sticker decision was made after testing a sampling of bikes w/ Clif Koontz, and field checking EPA sticker visibility on a number of additional bikes. The county attorney has clarified to the city that while the sample size was small, 2021 will be focussed on gathering more field data, law enforcement officer training, education, and county (and presumably city) may reevaluate appropriateness of specific decibel limits in early 2022.

The noise ordinance was the first item of business in the regular meeting. The focus of debate was over the quiet hours in which different activities (vehicles, construction, general/other) would be subject to quieter standards than during the middle of the day. The original draft proposed quieter (lower dB limit) motor vehicle standard from 8pm–8am. The current draft proposed 10pm–7am (with a Sunday variant). Council approved an amended version with quieter motor vehicle hours from 8pm–7am.  The professional noise consultant engaged by the city and county and city and county attorneys and law enforcement will continue to develop the specific procedures and local expertise to defensibly enforce the noise ordinances. 

Fire/works. Lisa Church reminded everyone that waste burning is prohibited in city, and you can use portable outside fireplaces, gas and charcoal grills. Recreational fires in pits/pans need to be further than 25’ from a structure or combustible material. The fireworks ordinance from 2020 hasn’t been rescinded, since we’ve been in drought. No personal fireworks except under specific conditions.

Budget process. The finance director created an easy-to-understand guide: Citizen’s Guide to the Budget available at

Ranked Choice Voting. Following up from a presentation at a previous workshop, the Council voted to request inclusion from the state in the Municipal Alternative Voting Methods Pilot Project; and directed staff work with Utah County (who will likely provide election services, as Grand County currently doesn’t have RCV capability, and Utah County is likely cheaper) to provide for prompt entry of ballots into the state system which allows voters to verify that their ballot has been received. More info on RCV in Utah at Utah RCV.

Three items on transportation which have the potential to expand non-car transportation options, and incrementally reduce congestion and parking demand, albeit with other potential less positive impacts.

  • Moab Transit Service. An initial discussion between UDOT, transportation planning consultant Fehr & Peers, and the Council occurred. It is anticipated that UDOT will allocate $1.5M from Hotspot funds for a five year transit pilot project; $500,000/yr for three years, and the city responsible for years 4 and 5 with federal grant anticipated to cover much of that. The plan is for a contractor to provide the service (vehicles and drivers), but vehicle storage, bus stops, and customer outreach and education will be additional expenses for the City and possibly the County. F&P presented three options using small buses and/or vans to provide service in the City (and in one Spanish Valley), meet federal ADA route as well as vehicle requirements, and meet budget. To be continued.
  • E-bikes on City paths. Postponed while Trail Mix finalizes their multi-jurisdictional recommendation on a limited e-bike pilot project.
  • Discussion Regarding Bird Scooter’s Proposal to Enter into a Temporary Operating Agreement with the City for a Pilot Program. Bird made a presentation, and council and staff will begin work on program goals and parameters. There is a clause in the Utah motor vehicle traffic code which states “a local authority may not impose any unduly restrictive requirement on a scooter-share operator.” Staff are working to understand the somewhat nebulous nature of this edict. Staff and council are reviewing experiences and pilots in other cities.