San Juan County pauses commercial development in south Spanish Valley

SITLA, Love’s not directly affected

San Juan County Commissioner Kenneth Maryboy originally proposed a moratorium on commercial development in San Juan County’s highway commercial district in Spanish Valley on May 7. Courtesy photo

Two weeks after an attempt to pause commercial development along the Highway 191 corridor in San Juan County’s portion of Spanish Valley, the county has passed a binding ordinance that has initiated the moratorium.

The potential effect the moratorium might have on a planned Love’s Travel Stop development in the area is unclear, although according to interim San Juan County Administrator David Everitt, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, which owns the land where the Love’s is planned, does not have to comply with the county’s rules around development.

The moratorium will impact more than Love’s, though. San Juan County Commission Chairman Kenneth Maryboy told The Times-Independent that the purpose of the moratorium is to give the county an opportunity to work with people in southern Spanish Valley as it creates a development plan for the area.

This sentiment is reflected in the ordinance passed at a meeting Tuesday, May 21.

“There is a compelling and countervailing public interest to postpone new commercial and industrial development in the Spanish Valley Highway Commercial Zone until land use ordinances and policies can be given due consideration,” the ordinance reads.

The ordinance also cites the moratoria on overnight lodging put in place by the City of Moab and Grand County as a reason for the county passing its own moratorium, citing a concern that “developers will turn to the Spanish Valley Highway Commercial Zone to develop their businesses in the very near future.”

Love’s unscathed

Although SITLA is not directly bound by local land use ordinances and may choose to continue forward with plans to allow a Love’s development south of the county line, the trust may generally comply with local planning regulations.

Everitt said he expects Love’s and SITLA will work to address some concerns people have brought up related to the development. SITLA said in a recent press release that it would hold the Love’s development to lighting regulations that will reduce nighttime light pollution from the truck stop.