On March 9, 2023, the San Juan County Commission held a public hearing over a proposed tourist resort development for our neighborhood in south Spanish Valley called “Balanced Rock Resort.” A group of Spanish Valley residents, myself included, attended the meeting to voice our opposition to the proposed resort. The developers claimed that this project will be a “community” for “residents” and that it is in line with what the area wants/needs (and that they have built beautiful similar resorts in St George). That is laughable! The resort’s dwellings will be well out of the price range for local workforce and residents to purchase. Worst of all, the proposal includes an overnight rental overlay for every one of the proposed 217 units (!!!) PLUS a 130-room “lodge.”
Spanish Valley residents’ comments emphasized that actually, a nightly rental resort is not in line with what we want/need. Spanish Valley spans the border between San Juan County/Grand County and most residents shop and work in Moab and feel part of the Moab community. We have seen the negative impact on neighborhoods and residents in Moab and Grand County with the explosion of unchecked tourist lodging over the past few years. We don’t want that to happen to our rural SJCO Spanish Valley neighborhoods. Is it appropriate to dramatically transform a residential neighborhood into a tourist lodging commercial district with 347 hotel rooms/nightly rentals?
Furthermore, is it ok to allocate water to rooms that will be used by tourists who, according to estimates, use up to 8 times more water than residents? Do we want tourists leapfrogging neighborhoods from Highway 191 to reach their resort? The “resort” has planned a very large overflow parking area to accommodate expected trailers and toys. Do we want these tourists leaving Balanced Rock Resort to race through our neighborhoods on UTVs to access nearby trails?
The answer to all of these questions is a hard NO. These types of high-density developments are sacrificing our available lands and water for second homeowners or tourism, which will be unsustainable without a workforce.
We understand that San Juan County is eager to tap into the tax base of Moab and are proponents of smart growth but we do not believe that it should be at the behest of developers and at the expense of residents.