The Moab City Council held a workshop prior to their regular meeting on May 26 to hear a presentation from Jim Kumon, executive director of a Minnesota-based nonprofit called the Incremental Development Alliance. The organization works across the country to provide small-scale developer training and provide technical assistance to cities, counties, governments and nonprofits who are interested in encouraging small-scale development.

Kumon outlined three primary considerations of small-scale developers: does a project produce reasonable profit for the effort? How can risk be minimized? And what is the path of least resistance? He applied these considerations to a hypothetical property, scaled to be similar to many properties found in Moab. He demonstrated how tweaking things like the number of units, the number of stories, and the configuration of units might produce different profit and risk margins, and also pointed out how certain parameters might trigger code requirements like extra parking or sprinkler systems.

City Project Manager Kaitlin Myers invited Kumon to present to the council to help inform discussions on how the city might consider adjusting their Planned Affordable Development (PAD) ordinance to make it more attractive to small developers. So far, the only entity to take advantage of the PAD’s incentives has been the city itself, which will use the ordinance in the development of their Walnut Lane affordable housing development.

Councilmember Mike Duncan asked Kumon if he had any specific thoughts on why the PAD has failed to attract developers. Kumon said that parking requirements associated with the ordinance are one item that he noticed might be prohibitive to small developers. If the parking requirements add up to more square footage than the housing units themselves, he said, “that probably will be a problem in getting to the goals you’re looking for.”

The council was open to discussing tweaks to the PAD in future meetings.

Suggests parking requirements are an issue