Citizens speak on county clean up, parks policy, other issues

By Rose Egelhoff •The Times-Independent

Tuesday night was busy for the Moab City Council, with five citizens seeking to be heard and two public hearings.

Joe Kingsley requested a letter of support for his efforts to secure passenger rail service to Moab. He also mentioned that the dumpster provided on Murphy Lane for junk metal has been popular and has quickly filled up, he reported at the Aug. 28 meeting.

Christy Calvin spoke about park use policy, saying that both Rotary and Swanny parks require special consideration due to their proximity to residential areas. She also requested that the city continue to require a permit for amplification in parks. “Code enforcement and police officers, they don’t have decibel meters with them. They’re not walking around checking … it’s much easier to have it be a black-and-white scenario,” Calvin said.

On another matter, Sara Melnicoff said this month marks a couple of anniversaries for her organization, Moab Solutions. One is for Friends of the Parkway, a program started 14 years ago this month to help clean up the parkway. “That’s still going strong,” she said. Additionally, 10 years ago this month she started working with the homeless population living along the parkway, another program that continues. She administers a fund that gives small amounts of money to those in need. “We’ve taken 1,250 requests for help. We’ve answered 1,123 of them,” Melnicoff said.

Randy Day made a plea for lower impact fees. “I know through my business dealings with certain individuals that they feel this is an exaction that far exceeds the authority of local government,” Day said. “I don’t believe they meet the proportionality rules that the Supreme Court of Utah set forth.” Day said the city is the one controlling housing. “It’s called zoning and planning. All you have to do is give me the right tools and I’ll build [housing]. But those tools don’t exist right now.”

Paul Spencer, chair of Trail Mix, also spoke. Trail Mix is a local organization that builds and maintains local trails. “Word is going around that Trail Mix is going away or changing … we’re not changing. The only thing they’re doing is changing how employees get paid.” Spencer said that Canyonlands Natural History Association, who was previously managing Trail Mix’s accounts, is no longer able to do so. Instead, Trail Mix is looking at a variety of bookkeeping options, including becoming an organization under the umbrella of Grand County.

Finally, Dr. Dell Keys spoke against the proposed ban on plastic bags. “I don’t like the word ‘ban.’ It’s a harsh word. What we want to do is bad behavior bans,” she said. Keys urged common sense, good behavior and creative reuse of plastic bags.

The two public hearings concerned a bond to finance the reconstruction of failing sewer infrastructure and revisions to city code related to business licensing, special event permitting and street performer permitting. There were no comments related to the sewer bond. For the business licensing code revisions, Kara Dohrenwend and Cricket Green spoke. Dohrenwend suggested that in the event of small code infractions, complaints need not be directed to the police. She also recommended some clarifications to help clean up the code. Green commented on the business licensing changes, asking whether there was a way for the licensing application process to be streamlined for business such as hers.