Now is the time to voice your hopes for the future of Moab.
Both Grand County and the City of Moab are working on plans that will impact future policies—Grand County is revising its General Plan, and the city is embarking on creating a “Community Vision and Strategic Action Plan.” Both plans are currently open for public comment.
The county’s General Plan has six sections: land use/housing; infrastructure, sustainability, and Moab’s built environment; public lands, open spaces, and the environment; economy; public safety; and finance. The plan was last drafted in 2012—this year’s plan will build on the last by including how Moab has changed and including updated statistics.
The process started last summer and is intended to tie together the voices of citizens, property owners, county officials, and community stakeholders to create a unified direction for the county.
“Because of Moab changing so drastically the past few years, I would say some of the sections getting an overhaul are the land use and water conservation sections,” said Laura Harris, the county’s community engagement coordinator. Only 4% of the county is privately owned, so the county has impactful decisions to make on how it plans to develop the little bit of land it has left, she said.
“And you can’t have a community without water,” she said.
The plan can be viewed at www.grandcountyconnects.com and is open to public comment for the next month. After comments have been received, officials at the county will review and revise the draft. A final version of the plan is expected to be adopted late this year. Sub-plans and projects are also individually open to public comment on the same website: revision of the land-use code, a Spanish Valley community survey, and the unified master transportation plan.
City of Moab
The city is embarking on a “Community Vision and Strategic Action Plan,” called Moab Tomorrow Together, which will ultimately create a plan for Moab’s future based on comments from its community members. The first phase of the plan, a community survey, closed on March 31 with over 750 responses.
“Based on discussions we’ve been having for a few years in Moab, what I’m hearing from the community is that what is very important to them is community investments,” said Carly Castle, acting city manager. “There’s a feeling that locals have been left behind with the explosion of visitor growth … I see this project as being a really important part of that investment process.”
David Beurle, CEO of Future iQ, the company running the project, said that so far, people have a lot to say about the future of Moab. He said most of the survey responses show that people really love living in Moab, but for the most part, they’re largely disappointed with where they think the city is heading.
“That’s really unusual, that people love living there, but they’re really concerned about the trajectory and the speed of change that’s occurring,” he said. Right now is a “pivotal” time in Moab, he said, as older generations move out of leadership roles and younger generations are moving in, bringing a new set of values. Plus, he said, Moab’s visitation exploded during the pandemic.
Almost every issue in Moab could be a hot-button issue, Castle said, that people are either very for or very against. She and Beurle both expect the community vision to be a compromise of those, but also to be a unifier in the issues almost every Moabite can agree on: that there needs to be more affordable housing, and that Moab needs to prioritize water conservation.
“We all want a nice, peaceful community,” she said. “We have the same goals. It’s just that we need to collaborate on what that would look like … This effort will definitely find those big things, help us find common ground on the goals we all share, and help us sort through the particulars of what that actually means.”
This process is an opportunity for people to significantly shape the future of Moab, Beurle said.
The community survey concluded, but the next part of the process is two Think-Tank workshops, taking place from 5 to 8 p.m. on April 6 and 7 at the Grand Center (182 N. 500 W.). The workshops will present findings from the survey, and give Moabites a chance to further discuss ideas for the future of Moab. Participants can register for the workshops at bit.ly/MoabTomorrowTogether.