County Council to revisit Tuesday’s failed lodging ordinance vote

Special meeting gets underway at 2 p.m. today inside council chambers at the Grand County Courthouse

The Grand County Council is scheduled today to revisit lodging ordinances that it failed to pass Tuesday after a 3-3 vote. Photo by Doug McMurdo

The Grand County Council meets at 2 p.m. today, July 18, to revisit  Tuesday’s 3-3 vote on an ordinance that would temporarily ban construction of hotels, motels and other lodging providers on county land outside of the Moab city limits. The Moab City Council is exploring a similar ordinance.

Read this in-depth report for more on what occurred Tuesday and comments from council members.

The county council agreed to a moratorium on new overnight lodging development last February and soon joined the city in retaining the services of land use consultant Landmark Design in an effort to get a handle on a supercharged tourism economy that has impacted housing, the infrastructure, public resources and private quality of life.

Since then, hundreds of people attended and commented at workshops, open houses, town halls, and regular and special meetings. The consultant provided five options to choose from ranging from option 1 –leaving things as they are, to option 5 – a temporary, outright prohibition of any new overnight accommodation projects.

The overwhelming majority or residents both in the city and the county chose option 5. 

Near the end of the process, after Landmark concluded its work, Highway 191 property owners, those in the lodging industry and property rights advocates came out en masse at a meeting of the Grand County Planning Commission and again when the Grand County Council discussed the ordinance in public hearings. They cited a number of concerns from claiming the ordinance amounts to an illegal taking of real property to saying it would destroy retirement plans.

Today’s meeting agenda features three action items to reconsider amending and or removing use rights from all zones and or the overnight accommodations overlay for new and or additional overnight accommodations developments.

The second item, assuming the first one is approved, is to consider a resolution to initiate proceedings to amend county land use codes, and the third is to adopt the ordinance that would lead to a land use regulation prohibiting for six months land use applications for overnight accommodations, including hotels and motels, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, condominiums and townhomes used for overnight accommodations.