Development of business district master plan is underway
by John Hales
The Times-Independent
Jan 25, 2018 | 1208 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Moab City Council has given the go-ahead to draft a master plan for the city’s downtown area. On Monday, Jan. 22, council members awarded a $58,000 contract to Downtown Redevelopment Services/Avenue Consultants to research and write the plan.

With the contract awarded, the project will get underway quickly, said Moab City Planning Director Jeff Reinhart.

“They want to start in a couple weeks with the first kickoff meeting,” Reinhart said. The plan, according to the agreement between the city and the planning firm, is to cover a host of issues facing downtown: Transportation options for cars, pedestrians, cyclists and others; analysis of current and future anticipated traffic counts under different proposed traffic solutions, including a bypass route; a map of future land-use designations in the downtown district; a description of “essential public and private projects or opportunities” to support those land uses; recommended building design standards and criteria for evaluating development and redevelopment plans; recommended facilities and plans for parking and recommended policies, regulations, public works projects and financing mechanisms needed to implement the plan.

“I got the idea there is going to be a lot of public input,” Council Member Mike Duncan said, seeking confirmation from Reinhart, who replied there would be a focus committee made of interested persons and stakeholders.

Because of everything ahead for downtown, Main Street or U.S. Highway 191, planners will have their hands full “trying to mesh different Main Street and downtown projects together,” Reinhart said, responding to Council Member Karen Guzman-Newton’s question about all the concurrent projects.

The Utah Department of Transportation is currently looking at options to relieve congestion on Main Street in downtown Moab, and a project could be selected and underway by this time next year or shortly after.

The department is also looking at a significant highway-widening project on Main Street at the north end of town, all the way to the junction of State Route 128 toward Castle Valley. That project would create two lanes of traffic each direction, with center left-turn lanes.

That particular project may be sometime out, according to an update the council received earlier in the meeting from UDOT’s Troy Torgerson. Drainage issues must be studied and solved, rights of way remain to be secured, among other work still in the planning stage, Torgerson said.

The city is also looking at creating a parking plan for downtown.

With so many projects in queue, “They know they need to link up,” Moab City Manager David Everitt said. “They’ll all have to be working together.”

In other city council business:

• The council approved a purchase, not to exceed $45,000, for a new truck for the water department, which up until now has been sharing a truck with the sewer department.

• The council authorized Everitt to negotiate a contract for financial forecasting services in order to develop “a more robust understanding of long-term … expenses and revenues,” according to supporting documentation presented at the meeting.

• The council heard a report from Grand County Community and Economic Development Director Zacharia Levine about the effort to develop an economic development general plan, a presentation on that plan to Gov. Gary Herbert last week, and continuing efforts to establish a community reinvestment agency.

• The council decided which members or city staff should represent the city to various entities, committees, working groups, etc. The mayor and council will formally make those appointments at its next meeting, Moab City Mayor Emily Niehaus indicated.

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