In-depth with Moab councilman-elect Mike Duncan
by Greg Knight
The Times-Independent
Dec 14, 2017 | 635 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mike Duncan
Mike Duncan
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When Mike Duncan was running for Moab City Council, he made it a point to canvass nearly the entire city, door-to-door, asking voters what they saw as pressing issues related to the future of Moab.

What Duncan ended up with after those visits is what he calls a “laundry list of things to do,” and now that he has been voted in as a new city council member, he said he wants to get to work making those desires a reality.

Some of the issues Duncan said voters have brought to him include trash pickup crews, a narrowing of Walnut Lane, and street work on 400 North near the Moab Aquatic Center.

“[The] street floods in storms and onto yards, near houses ... we also [need to] fix streetlights so they illuminate streets, not houses,” Duncan said.

The area near Mountain View Drive also needs to see some restoration work, Duncan said, with sewer back-ups and overflow into basements due to elevation differences and when houses were built. A condemned home in the area, one that he fears may result in a sinkhole, also needs to be addressed to “resolve [a] messy, possibly dangerous situation.”

Traffic congestion in downtown is another item on Duncan’s agenda. He is advocating a plan to see several new overhead lights installed on Main Street because the area is, “too dim to see pedestrians in crosswalks when making a left turn, particularly at Zax [restaurant],” Duncan said, while also advocating a possible future closure of Center Street between Main and 100 West to create a pedestrian mall.

Workshops on overnight rentals and B&B’s — meetings Duncan believes should include residents’ sentiments on enforcement issues — as well as workshops with Moab Police Chief Jim Winder regarding vehicular noise, are high on his list of priorities.

“As to my wish lists, I also want to see what is on the top of everyone else’s list, at the city and county level, and integrate them in together, “ Duncan said. “When it comes to addressing issues like the noise in town, voluntary compliance really hasn’t seemed to work. I’m sure many of the businesses that make their money in this line of work want to see this issue resolved and we need to work with them.”

On the issue of affordable housing, Duncan said he would like to see development on parcels that are currently vacant and large enough to support new apartment buildings.

“I’m told there are a few relatively large parcels left in town, two acres or more in size, that are still able to be developed with a cluster of small apartments on them,” Duncan said. “In order to get affordable housing ... in some of these areas, it will require rezoning, which doesn’t sit well with some of the neighbors. Some are afraid, from what I hear, that it would be a beachhead that would spread into the neighborhood ... we need to address that problem, while also committing to affordable housing.”

When asked what he feels Moab should be like in 2021, when he would be up for re-election, Duncan said, “A think a lot of people feel like the council has a magic wand that they can wave and change the course of the world and, in a lot of ways, we can. We will have already seen a lot of progress on housing issues and we will be working on issues regarding the development in San Juan County, which is a big deal. The [Utah State University-Moab] expansion will be moving closer to being complete. We’re going to see more congestion on Main Street ... those are some of the things we’ll see and some of the things we’ll be working on.”

Both Duncan and Karen Guzman-Newton will be sworn in as new members of the Moab City Council at noon, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 in the Moab City Council Chambers. Mayor-elect Emily Niehaus will also be sworn in at that time.


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