On Oct. 24, the Moab City Council met with the Moab City Planning Commission to discuss and review progress on setting standards for development of overnight accommodations within the city.
In July, the council placed a moratorium on accepting new proposals for overnight rental units so that ordinances and standards could be put in place to evaluate new developments. The conversation centered on water metering, mixed-use zoning, traffic control and just how effective these standards will be down the line.
“The goal is we want to come up with development standards so that when we can accept new development applications, we’re happier with the product that we get,” said Nora Shepard, city planning director.
Councilmember Kalen Jones expressed some frustration that the council had not had a formal meeting on the issue in some time.
“We may not be able to get through this in an hour,” said Jones with concern. Shepard agreed, saying that she and her department was looking for overall guidance from the council.
“What I’m hoping to accomplish tonight is for the commission have a path,” said Shepard.
“We can require energy efficient and … water efficient hotels and so forth, and all that kind of good stuff, but it doesn’t really address what most people see as a root problem,” said council member Mike Duncan. “There’s just too many visitors in town on any one day, particularly during the high season.”
Like the city council, the Grand County Council also passed a moratorium at the county level earlier this year. The county council also held a special workshop with its planning commission to review guidelines for future growth on Oct. 29.
The city and county are using different tactics to work on these development issues, however, with the county using an overlay zone-based approach and the city considering drafting changes directly into municipal codes.
“We also have to consider whether or not we’re comfortable with being very different from the county in terms of our development standards,” said Shepard, “but we’ll get to that at the next meeting.”
A public hearing on the proposed code amendments will be held at the November Planning Commission Meeting, with members voicing hopes that the standards could be approved by the council in December.