Tim Keogh conducts a percolation test on the site of the proposed Valley View subdivision near the intersection of Mill Creek Drive and Powerhouse Lane. [Photo by Murice D. Miller / Moab Sun News]

It’s not uncommon in Moab to strike up a conversation with a local who chose to relocate here after visiting and falling in love with the land and the community, but home ownership has lagged behind the upward trend in population. A proposed new development near the entrance to Mill Creek Canyon may help make home ownership more within reach to those who have chosen to make a home here.

Since 2008, the six-acre lot across Mill Creek Drive from the turnoff to Powerhouse Lane has been empty, save for a single new building. One of many developments that fell victim to the most recent recession, the rest of the property was foreclosed on, and has been on the market in anticipation of a new vision for its development for several years.

Tim Keogh and Bill Winfield, two Moab natives with more than 80 years of construction experience between them, are hoping to bring their vision to the site this year.

“The homes we’re going to provide will be for the working people of Moab,” Keogh said.

They purchased the land last summer and have been working on plans for its development with Colorado-based architect Darcy Hughes. The proposed subdivision would include four duplexes and 24 single-home lots, and trails connecting the neighborhood to Mill Creek Drive and Rotary Park for easy cycling or walking access to popular recreation sites and the center of town.

The subdivision, named “Valley View,” would be a family-friendly neighborhood providing access to the best Moab has to offer as well as views that rival those in any neighborhood in town, Winfield said. In addition to being accessible to cycling, jogging, swimming and hiking in Mill Creek Canyon, the property is less than a mile from the entrance to the Slick Rock cycling and four-wheel recreation area, less than three miles from HMK Elementary school, and within walking distance of both the high school and the middle school.

“The homes are designed to be functional and friendly, with open floor plans,” Hughes said. “We also want to make sure to incorporate private space, so people can enjoy their outdoor space without feeling like they’re in their neighbor’s backyard.”

Hughes’ design follows a “modern mining town” aesthetic, with corrugated metal roofing and incorporation of large timbers in the exterior finish. This will be her fifth project in the area, and she’s enjoyed being part of the group filling a missing link in affordable housing offerings for the working population here, she said.

“Affordable housing can be beautiful,” she said. “These will be homes people can take pride in.”

Hughes met Keogh while working on design for the West Side Flats rental development near the hospital. Following that project, his former firm, Keogh Land Surveying, provided services for her firm, Riverbend Architectural, on other Moab-based projects. When he and Winfield decided to work together on the new Valley View subdivision, Hughes was a natural choice for design, Keogh said.

Lots will be relatively small, and the development will be the first in Moab to incorporate the reduced lot-size requirement of 5,000 square feet passed by city council in 2013.

City staff have been helpful moving approvals forward, Winfield said. The city’s reduced square footage requirement opened the door to making a development on the property financially viable. As design and planning have progressed, city staff have been responsive to the group, offering timely feedback and clarification of city ordinances as needed.

“I can’t say enough good about Rebecca Davidson and her staff in this process,” Winfield said.

Home ownership statistics in Moab lag behind the overall state, with 58.4 percent of Moab residents owning their own homes, in contrast to 70.1 percent of Utah’s overall population. City leaders have discussed ways to address this problem, including continuing to reduce square footage requirements and to incentivize development of affordable housing.

Site will offer single-family homes and duplexes, say developers Tim Keogh and Bill Winfield

Affordable housing can be beautiful. These will be homes people can take pride in.