At their Mar. 1 meeting, Grand County commissioners discussed updates to the county’s land use code. Planning and zoning staff presented a list of ideas that have been suggested and asked for direction in prioritizing those ideas, as well as clarification on the goals of the updates.

The county must address state code changes regarding additional dwelling units, and might address other aspects of ADUs not regulated in state code. Updates have been suggested for the county’s standards for temporary uses like special events. Planners have recommended that the county streamline the application process for the Overnight Accommodations Overlay and add a category that captures small glamping developments, as well as add a conservation easement requirement in large parcels with sensitive lands. Also on the list are assured housing and affordable housing requirements for developers and the admission of long-term RV or tiny home rental as a housing solution for seasonal workers.

During discussion, commissioners pointed out that the list doesn’t include all the ideas that have been raised to amend the land use code. For example, Commissioner Kevin Walker noted that one approach county leaders have discussed is that ADUs only be permitted if they are used as workforce housing. County Attorney Christina Sloan noted that in a recent discussion with Marc Stilson of the Utah Division of Water Rights, it was confirmed that there is no water in the north corridor west of the Moab Fault, and so that area may need special treatment in the land use code.

There’s pressure on ironing out these details: the housing crisis continues to disrupt lives, harm quality of life, and exacerbate the labor shortage. At the same time, developers and special event planners are submitting applications and requests to the county, sharpening the need for clear code that promotes the county’s vision.

Planning Commission Chair Emily Campbell said the planning commission has felt ill-equipped to address some of the applications that have been presented to them without further planning.

“We just want to make sure that anything we’re spending our time on and asking planning staff to spend their time on… aligns objectives and the priorities that the commission has,” Campbell said.

Planning staff and commissioners agreed they would continue discussing ideas and priorities by sharing and editing a Google document.