Moab lacks safe, affordable housing for much of its workforce. This much is clear.

I have lived and worked in Moab since 2004 and consider myself one of the lucky ones that “got in early.” I’m also a recipient of affordable housing and know that it takes a few years of establishing residency to even get on the waiting list for one of these types of programs. We need an intermediate solution now. This idea is NOT intended to be a housing solution – it would be a safety net for some of Moab’s workforce while they wait for housing to open up or apply for/build affordable housing.

I am also well aware that many seasonal employees live in their vehicles. While this is common, it is not ideal. And some choose this as a lifestyle but many do not. Many drive around looking for free spots to park and are needing to camp further away from their jobs because of crowded campsites – using more fuel and therefore some of their income.

Here’s what I propose: the county or city provides an RV Park for seasonal workers who provide a local paystub. Ideally, this would be funded completely by Transient Room Tax funds. I came up with this idea while walking in my neighborhood – the site of the old Red Rock Elementary school is a huge empty weedy lot. This site could potentially provide room for hundreds of RV spots. It’s in town and once the person parks their camper/vehicle they could hypothetically walk or ride a bike to work.

Here are some amenities I envision for this project: Inexpensive month-to-month rent with utilities included, gated entry, security cameras and/or a security guard, a bathroom and shower house, laundry facility, shaded sites (maybe the shade comes from a solar panel over each site?), full RV hookups with electrical, a shaded pavilion with grills and picnic tables, a community garden space, quiet hours, partitioned sites so residents can have privacy and hence some dignity, and maybe even a few tiny houses to rent.

Not everyone has an RV/camper, so a safe spot to park a vehicle and camp should be allowed. To get a spot the worker must show a recent pay stub from a local business each month and comply with the rules of the RV park. If they break the rules of the park they lose their spot, but if they prove to be a good tenant, they can stay for up to 12(?) months.

I would love to see any aspect of this idea come to fruition, if not in the Red Rock Elementary site then in another location. I would love to hear any feedback on why or why not this could be a solution for our workers.

The Moab Sun News article “ RV camping to support workforce housing? Council considers solutions to Moab’s critical employee housing shortage” shows that the Moab City Council bounced ideas around like this last July. So maybe this letter helps expand on those ideas and keep them floating near the top.

Nancy Morlock