Moab moves a step closer toward annexing south properties
by Jeff Richards
contributing writer
Dec 15, 2011 | 2470 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Moab is another step closer to annexing some 456 acres of property to the southeast of the current city limits. Last Thursday, the Moab City Planning Commission discussed and recommended that the South Annexation Plan be adopted.

If no protests are filed within the designated 30-day protest period, the Moab City Council will then set a date for a public hearing, after which the council may vote on formally annexing the property and adding it within the boundaries of the city. That action could take place as early as late January or early February, but an exact date has not yet been determined, city officials said earlier this week.

City planning commission members Kelly Thornton, Jeanette Kopell, and Wayne Hoskisson discussed the annexation plans at length with Moab City Planning Director Jeff Reinhart at last week’s regular meeting. Commission members expressed optimism that the annexation and future developments planned therein would bring both short-term and long-term benefits to the community.

Much of the discussion centered around the fact that the site includes a future planned campus for Utah State University.

Although no dormitories or on-campus housing are planned for the first phase of the USU Moab project, USU officials have said the campus is expected to attract between 600 and 800 students when the first phase is completed.

Handling that anticipated growth presents a challenge, Thornton said.

“It’s going to transform Moab,” she said. “This community is going to be a different place.”

Thornton added that she hopes USU will work closely with the community to resolve issues related to student and faculty housing and other concerns.

The annexation property actually comprises seven separate parcels, the largest of which is a 326-acre tract owned and administered by the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). The proposed USU Moab campus is projected to be built on a 40-acre square parcel within the SITLA section.

  The area to be annexed also includes a 60-unit affordable housing development currently being built west of Mill Creek Drive by the Housing Authority of Southeast Utah. Several already developed privately owned properties are also part of the proposed annexation, including a couple of single family residences and existing commercial businesses such Heaton’s Custom Cabinets and the Gravel Pit Lanes bowling alley.

  According to city officials, various zoning designations are being proposed to allow for the broad range of development types, both current and future, located within the annexation area.

  This week, USU Moab officials and architects unveiled a draft of the proposed campus master plan at a town meeting held Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Grand Center. Some 60 people attended that two-hour event, which included a detailed review of architectural plans and time for questions and answers.

  Steve Hawks, associate dean and executive director of USU Moab, pointed out that the entire project spans 30 years, and that the first phase is at least a few years away from completion.

“My own best guess is five years, realistically,” he said.

  A $15 million private donation from the Walker family will fund the bulk of the first phase, but Hawks said several other sources of funding are also being secured.

  The USU Moab campus is being designed to eventually accommodate as many as 3,500 students, with approximately half of them living on campus or adjacent to the campus, said architect Terrall Budge of Design Workshop.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.