The city council voted Jan. 23 to approve a requested rezone of property located at 46 and 76 Nob Hill Lane. The rezone will change the parcel from split zoning — C-3 central commercial and R-3 multi-family residential, to a C-5 neighborhood commercial zone.
Council member Heila Ersahdi recused herself from the vote due to her status as an employee of the applicant, Four Corners Community Behavioral Health (FCCBH).
FCCBH intends to purchase the property to build a new clinic, a clubhouse for clients and up to nine units of FCCBH employee housing.
The city planning commission tabled the item on Dec. 8, asking for more information about whether the decision would be considered a “spot zone,” which is generally not allowed under state law.
In a letter to the planning commission on Jan. 8, Moab City Attorney Chris McAnany said rezoning of a small geographic area of land or a plot that is owned by a sole owner does not necessarily make the rezone an unlawful spot zone. It is more important that the zone change is compatible with the overall composition of the area and with the City’s General Plan and other guidance documents, he said.
The Moab City Planning Commission referred the item to the city council on Jan. 12, with a recommendation for approval.
C-5 zoning allows community establishments, schools and public buildings, cafes, apartments, gymnasiums, one- and two-family dwellings, offices and other uses, but does not allow short-term rentals.
“Probably the biggest thing is if the C-3 [area] was used for nightly rentals, that’s something that we were trying to stay completely away from,” said Moab City Planning Director Jeff Reinhart.
In the past, some developers had looked at the property and considered applying to rezone the entire parcel to C-3 central commercial, he said.
“C-5 is a transition or buffer zone to the other residential uses,” Reinhart said. “Currently we don’t have a lot of that buffering.”
The C-5 zoning will require buffering such as trees, landscaping or fencing to shield the residential units, said Reinhart
Council member Rani Derasary expressed concern that the rezone could allow another developer to use the property for commercial uses.
“I find it appealing in the aspect that it offers them the room they need to grow and to combine, and we have such a problem with employee housing,” said Derasary. “But one thing for us to keep in mind is that we’re just looking at the rezone, so ostensibly anybody could come and make a C-5 use.”
Reinhart said the R-3 portion of land could accommodate 40 to 44 residential units, creating a significant impact on the neighbors and on street traffic, even if the rezone was not approved.