Dear Editor,

The rezone of the Wang property adjacent to the Super 8 Motel on Highway 191 was up for discussion at the Moab City Planning Commission on May 14. The new proposal presents this rezone as a commercial “buffer,” but in reality offers only a quarter of the land preserved as R-2. I urge the community to pay attention to this issue, and voice your opinions.

At a time when officials have declared a “housing crisis” and convene panels to discuss the problem, we should be outraged at this proposal. J.J. Wang proposes to develop this property into meeting and exercise rooms for the existing motel. The community will benefit from the reduction of traffic through the city to the northern recreation corridor and from the use of the meeting rooms.

A great majority of Moab residents are more concerned about their ability to make a living and find an affordable, safe place to live. This demonstrates a disconnect between the needs of the average Moab citizen and this businessman’s proposal.

Although the city has no authority to force development of this property into homes for residents, the Moab City Council can make a statement about its commitment to addressing the “housing crisis” by rejecting the rezoning of residential property within city limits. Future residents may eventually benefit from a residential development on that lot, even if it doesn’t happen in Wang’s lifetime.

Moreover, the proposed zone change does not conform to the Moab General Plan to “develop a community where walking and biking are the cornerstone of the transportation system,” as Wang claims. As residential property disappears within city limits, residents are forced out of the city center to find housing in Spanish Valley. The property in question is within biking/ walking distance to schools, parks and the city center.

If the council were to grant this zone change, the value of the property would increase, as commercial property is more valuable than residentially zoned property. Once rezoned, the owner could conceivably sell at a profit or build something entirely different from what he originally proposed. This should outrage the public even more, as our elected officials have a duty to protect the interests of the citizens. As the average Moab resident struggles to make ends meet in an environment of skyrocketing cost of living and stagnant wages, such a move would be completely contrary to this directive.