In new vote, county council approves overnight lodging ban

Wells, Paxman absent; Halliday changes vote; Hawks participates during international call

Grand County Council Member Greg Halliday of Castle Valley looks at a revised overlay map that includes areas in his district – Thompson Springs, Crescent Junction and Cisco. He later voted to approve passing an ordinance temporarily banning new land use applications for overnight accommodations. Photo by Doug McMurdo

If at first you don’t succeed …

Two days after the Grand County Council voted down an ordinance removing the use by right to develop overnight lodging in a 3-3 vote, the council reversed itself 5-0 in two actions taken during a special meeting.

There was confusion over the issue as a meeting cancellation notice went out in the morning and then a subsequent notice sent out later indicated the meeting would be held after all. Joe Kingsley and other opponents of the ordinance questioned if the kerfuffle violated Utah Open Meeting laws. Grand County Administrator Ruth Dillon said the cancellation notice was sent out in error.

Member Greg Halliday changed his vote from a “no” on Tuesday to a “yes” on Thursday after the Thompson Springs, Cisco and Crescent Junction communities were included on an overlay map. Chair Evan Clapper, Vice Chair Terry Morse and member Mary McGann stayed with the “yes” votes they cast Tuesday night, July 16. 

Member Jaylyn Hawks participated telephonically. She said calling into Tuesday’s meeting on July 16 was a technological impossibility, as she was traveling internationally and was unable to make the call. 

Members Curtis Wells and Rory Paxman, who voted no Tuesday, were absent Thursday.

Clapper as chair did not allow public comment, telling a packed chambers public comment was not required at special meetings per Utah rules.

Prior to the vote, Hawks disclosed she is the part owner of a bed and breakfast and that she won’t financially benefit from her vote. She also apologized for missing Tuesday’s call-in, saying the issue was critical to the community.

With no discussion from council members or the public, the council voted 5-0 to amend and/or remove use rights from all zones and/or the overnight accommodations overlay for new and or additional overnight accommodations developments. 

The second vote was the unanimous passage of a resolution to initiate proceedings to amend county land use codes. 

It was not necessary to act on a third item, which would have been an effort to extend a moratorium on land use applications for overnight lodging another six months. It was scheduled to expire Aug. 5.

“You guys are going to get your asses sued off,” said an unidentified man as he quickly left the room. Grand County Attorney Christina Sloan has briefed the council regarding the legal exposure the county might face. 

Halliday offered a terse “no comment” when an attempt was made to determine why he didn’t raise his concerns prior to Tuesday’s vote.

“I’m pleased with the outcome,” said McGann. “And a majority of the people of Grand County agrees.”