The San Juan portion of the Spanish Valley is approximately 6-miles long and 2.5-miles wide, encompassing 15-square miles of land. In comparison, the entire Spanish Valley is approximately 15-miles long and 3- miles wide. Only the southern third of the Spanish Valley lies within San Juan County, and it is the least populated segment. [San Juan County Spanish Valley Area Plan]

The San Juan County Commission met virtually for their regular biweekly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 18. Chairman Kenneth Maryboy was absent, tending to his family in the Navajo Nation; Vice-Chairman Willie Greyeyes and Commissioner Bruce Adams voted on all meeting items.

Spanish Valley zoning map controversy continues with public hearing

Returning to ongoing discussions about SITLA development in Spanish Valley, San Juan County Planning and Zoning Director Walter Bird recommended an updated zoning map reflecting changes requested by the Board. The meeting then opened for a public hearing.

This new map includes several changes and redesignations. 1000 feet on either side of the highway will be considered commercial zones, critical infrastructure and sanding gravel areas were redesignated A1 and other parcels of personal property were changed to residential zones.

At the center of these discussions has been Marlene Huckabay, whose residential property is in the commercial zone. In a previous meeting on June 11, Huckabay mentioned that the commissioners present agreed that she would be able to keep my property residential.

“I hope that everyone will respect that,” Huckabay said on Tuesday. “It seems silly to switch [the property] to commercial, and then I have to apply to have it residential. Can’t we just have it residential now? We just keep chewing on the same fat over and over again.”

Bird voiced in the meeting that the Planning and Zoning Commission would work with Huckabay to ensure her quality of life after the updated zoning map is approved.

“I feel like everyone is trying really hard to make this map work,” said Huckabay.

Several residents of Spanish Valley spoke during the meeting, including Carolyn Daley, Monette Clark, Liz Thomas, Ann Austin and Huckabay. Many echoed Huckabay’s criticisms of numerous split zones.

SITLA representative Elise Erler urged the commissioners to approve this zoning map and make smaller changes later.

Commissioner Adams expressed his desire to accept the map “with a recommendation that the map be adjusted to allow Marlene Huckabay’s property to remain residential.” He then made the motion for the map to be approved, but Commissioner Greyeyes did not second this motion.

“We as commissioners cannot force [a change in] land status,” said Greyeyes. “Those have grown roots over the years, and here comes a company that wants to change the profile. I don’t agree with that.”

“I don’t want to make decisions that would negatively impact the people that live [in Spanish Valley],” Greyeyes continued.

With only two out of three commissioners present, the motion to approve the latest Spanish Valley zoning map failed due to lack of a second and majority vote.

Potential vacation of claim to Muley Point Road

William Shott, the Superintendent of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, introduced a proposal for a visitor-use project, asking the Board to consider abandoning San Juan County’s claim to the end portion of Muley Point Road.

The National Parks Service was approached by a donor wanting to fund a visitor-use project at Muley Point, the easternmost point of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Muley Point has gained popularity in recent years, which has led to resource damage in the area.

Shott hopes to work with this donor to build an accessible trail and begin restoration efforts on this land. The visitor-use project may also include an RV campground.

Shott asked that San Juan County abandon its claim to the last portion of Muley Point Road, which would enable the donor and National Parks Service to move forward with the visitor-use project.

“This could be a world class destination and add considerably to the economic development of the county,” said Shott. “We want to increase access [to Muley Point] and open it up to the options we’ve got for the site.”

If the county does not abandon claim to the end of Muley Point Road, Shott voiced that the donation would likely not proceed, and the Muley Point area would continue to suffer from resource damage.

Commissioner Adams raised concerns about diverting campers from other Utah State Parks and recommended that Shott seek more feedback from the community before next steps.

Public health contracts extended

Kirk Benge, the San Juan County Public Health Director, introduced several contracts for consideration between the San Juan County Public Health Department and the Utah Department of Health. All were approved 2-0 by Adams and Greyeyes.

The first was a contract for fiscal years 2021-2025 for the continuation of tobacco prevention services. This contract will set aside $54,000 per year to ensure that stores selling electronic cigarettes and other tobacco-related items have correct labeling and issue grants to community organizations devoted to reducing substance abuse. The commissioners voted 2-0 to approve this contract.

Next was a contract to continue funding home visits for pregnant women and mothers with children younger than six, particularly those living near and below the poverty line to prevent issues associated with intergenerational poverty.

Benge also introduced an amendment to the Local Health Department WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program to finalize funding amounts and a contract continuation for nurse home visits.

Rural Co-Working and Innovation Center Grant

San Juan County Chief Administrative Officer Mack McDonald proposed the Rural Co-Working and Innovation Center Grant. If awarded this grant designed to assist rural areas through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, San Juan County would convert currently unused space in the Monticello Library basement into accessible office space.

Since those traveling and working from home often need access to the internet, office space, and other technology, McDonald said that this project would help with San Juan County’s library services and community as a whole. The terms of the grant require that San Juan County would match 25% on the cost of construction. The commissioners voted 2-0 in favor of submitting a letter to apply for this grant.

Updating 911 Dispatch Software

Marcia Shumway of the San Juan County’s Sheriff’s Office presented a proposal to purchase intellecom software from the APCO Institute for Training and Certification. This software will enhance 911 call-taking and interface with current computer-aided dispatch and help train 911 dispatchers in medical, fire, and police disciplines. This will be funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The commissioners approved this proposal 2-0 along with another purchase agreement with Motorola Solutions.

Construction at Halls Crossing Airport approved

The Commission also voted to approve the Cooperative Agency Agreement with San Juan County and the Aeronautical Operations Division of the State of Utah, which will implement runway reconstruction and other construction projects at Halls Crossing Airport.

Mid-year budget changes approved

Clerk John David Nielson read mid-year adjustments to the San Juan County General Fund and other budgets. All adjustments were approved 2-0.

Deer Haven Park Subdivision

The commissioners voted 2-0 to vacate a portion of Cottontail Lane for the Deer Haven Park Subdivision in La Sal.


On Tuesday, August 25, County Administrator McDonald will host an online discussion open to any citizen regarding the Spanish Valley Land Use Ordinances. The meeting will take place online from 7 to 9 p.m.; the commissioners will not be in attendance.