Planning commission presents priorities

The Grand County Planning Commission retreat this year was productive, resulting in a list of priorities for the coming year. The priorities included small area plans for the north and south corridors of U.S. Route 191 and continued work on the assured housing and high-density development overlay plans, according to Grand County Community and Economic Development Director Zacharia Levine during an April 3 presentation to the Grand County Council.

The commission also hopes to work through a revision of the land use code table, much like the City of Moab has been working on.

“One of our priority areas [is] removing conditional uses from that table and moving more in the direction of having permitted uses or non-permitted uses … and for those that are currently conditional uses, trying to tighten up use standards. This is something that mirrors what is happening throughout the state and is recommended by the … [Utah Association of Counties], the Utah Land Use Institute and others,” Levine said.

Secondary priorities include increasing coordination between Grand County, the City of Moab and San Juan County, a goal the Grand County Council could play a lead role in, Levine suggested. The planning commission also hopes to meet on a semi-regular basis with the county council.

Another priority is creating a plan for parks, recreation and trails at the county level.

“As of a couple years ago, we removed the open space requirement from [planned urban developments] so right now there’s nothing in Grand County code that actually creates and preserves park space for our residents,” Levine said. “We know from decades of planning practice that public parks and recreational amenities are really important as a community grows and evolves and that’s what we’re seeing in the southern portion of the valley.”

A final goal the planning commission discussed was incorporating natural and built constraints on development into the planning review and approval process.

“Here the planning commission was primarily thinking about water but I think that they just want to have a better sense of what the limits to growth are,” Levine said.

ByBy Rose Egelhoff

The Times-Independent