Moab City Council Meeting Preview 2021-07-27

[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.]?

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

This meeting is live in City Council chambers. Masks (unless you’re vaccinated) and Social Distancing will be required.

Pre-Council Workshop – 5:30 pm – Employee Housing Opportunities

Unless you’ve been on another planet as of late, you know Moab has a huge employee housing problem. At the Mayor’s direction, city staff has put together a review of past city housing programs with an eye towards updating them and incorporating some new ideas. A successful one was WAHOO (don’t ask what the acronym means), usually a fee assessed on new hotels to build housing for employees who would staff the hotel. This produced some real money which is helping to fund the Walnut Lane re-development. Unfortunately since the city has taken overnight accommodations out of commercial zones, that source of funds has dried up. Walnut Lane itself, the first phase of four two-story duplexes,  is suffering from potential builder default due to spiraling building material prices. PAD, a dense zoning mostly deed restricted to income and residence requirements, was applied to city-owned Walnut Lane, but no one else has used it. Controversially, PAD was not permitted in the city’s lower density R2 zone, but that issue is being revisited. The rules pertaining to Accessory Dwelling Units have been relaxed to encourage their use; more relaxation is possible. Some mountain resort towns are resorting to backyard tents, camping trailers and RV’s, at least for a “temporary” duration. And Tiny Homes have surfaced again. 

I personally like Planned Unit Developments because the city knows what they’re going to get before dirt is turned; otherwise developers can promise affordable this and affordable that, but  no requirement to deliver. I also like the County’s successful HDHO idea where both occupants and owners must be residents. Qualifying/tracking who’s a resident and/or who’s an employee – well, you don’t have to be a lawyer to see that the real world can get messy. 

Nonetheless, one or both is the key for me. Otherwise there’s an insatiable demand for housing for retirees and second homes that attracts quick-buck investors and drives prices up. Much of this isn’t a market rate process, so you can imagine the legal and economic complications especially in private-property-rights-heavy Utah. But, like other resort communities, Moab needs something that better serves the town.

Regular session starts at 7 PM

It’s a fairly quiet evening as controversial topics, or rather the absence of them, go. 

I have not included non-controversial agenda items here. Please see the full agenda at for full details.

Citizens to Be Heard: To have your written comments considered (on any subject) 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.

Unified Moab/Grand County Transportation Plan. Chuck Williams, City Engineer will introduce Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. (KHA), who is recently contracted to produce a Unified Moab/Grand County Transportation Plan. KHA will present an overview of their public and stakeholder engagement process to Council.

Hope this helps,

Mike Duncan, Moab City Councilmember