Thoughts about the ‘land abuse code’
Jan 24, 2019 | 320 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Land Use Code is adopted for the purpose of promoting the health, safety and general welfare of the Citizens of Grand County, specifically intended to do one or more of the following:

A. Encourage orderly development of property, with respect for the property rights of Grand County citizens.

B. Facilitate the provision of adequate transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks and other public facilities and services.

C. Promote development predictability.

D. Prevent overcrowding of buildings and sites to the detriment of rural community character.

E. Promote safety from fires, floods, traffic hazards and other dangers.

F. Protect the tax base of the county and promote the development of a more attractive and wholesome environment.

G. Discourage development that poses unreasonable public costs in providing adequate public facilities and services.

H. Establish a process that effectively and fairly applies the regulations and standards of this LUC, respecting the individual and collective rights of property owners and other citizens.

It also provides for “overlay zones” to achieve specific goals; the most recent is the High Density Overlay zone designed to “incentivize developers to create affordable housing”.

But which – if any – of these eight reasons does the HDH satisfy? More to the point does it completely contradict the whole planning process? I think so. “Orderly, Attractive and Wholesome, Effective and Fair?” I think not.

While with their left hand, the county (and the city) allow houses to be built then snapped up by investors and managed as overnight rentals, and rampant hotel development, the right hand seeks to solve the problems just created by doubling, tripling, or in some cases by a multiple of 35. The dog is just chasing its tail.

If you carefully selected property in more rural areas – counting on the Land Use Code to protect your rural community character well, you better just pray your neighborhood is overlooked by developers. One local realtor commented to the council – after the fact – that they had just handed a blank check “if you own property in the overlay, and priced real estate out of reach if you don’t.”

No one disregards the need for more housing to keep up with Moab's over-growth. No one wants small lot homes to be priced at a quarter million-plus. Solve the runaway employment problem first. Pass a living wage requirement (like you did for yourselves). No more homes for overnight rentals, no more hotels, no more promoting Moab to the world (TRT tax should go toward local housing and services; ALL of it), and consider your neighbor as you would yourself.

–Marc Horwitz


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