San Juan Planning Commission promises dark skies ordinance

Residents of Grand County and San Juan County packed into a room in the Grand Water and Sewer Service building on Spanish Trail Road during a presentation on April 3 from Mark Vlasic of Landmark Design regarding proposed land use ordinances for Spanish Valley.
Photo by Carter Pape

The chair of the San Juan Planning Commission promised during a meeting Wednesday, April 3 to pass a dark skies ordinance for Spanish Valley after many residents contacted commissioners and planning staff after the commission had previously voted to not recommend such an ordinance.

“I will make a commitment to all of you here that we will create our own dark skies ordinance,” chair Trent Schafer said to a crowded room of Grand and San Juan County residents. “It seems that that is a gigantic level of importance.”

“We will push it through,” Schafer later said of the ordinance.

During the public hearing for which the commission meeting was convened, many residents expressed concerns about the new proposed land use ordinances that would add a greater level of structure to Spanish Valley’s development plans.

Some expressed concern about the lack of a dark skies ordinance while others talked about potential future problems with the county’s relatively nascent water rights.

Another focus of concern at the meeting was imminent plans for a Love’s truck stop to be developed just south of the border of San Juan County and Grand County. Residents who live near the property where the Love’s is expected to go said they had concerns ranging from public safety to light and sound pollution.

Bryan Torgerson, a representative from the Utah School and Instutional Trust Lands Administration, said at the meeting that the deal to sell the land to Love’s was “pretty much a done deal,” although not formally finalized or announced.

Mark Vlasic of Landmark Design, which created the proposed land use and dark sky ordinances on contract with San Juan County, said that setbacks and other buffering strategies would be employed to mitigate impacts to neighbors of the future Love’s, but some residents said they felt the proposals were insufficient.

The full story will be published online and in print for our April 11 edition.

Note: This story originally misspelled the first name of Bryan Torgerson.