Neighbors plead with county to reject high-density housing project

Resident Sand Sheff criticized the council, saying the project will impact “a lot of people.”
Photo by Doug McMurdo

A proposed high-density housing overlay apartment complex featuring more than 220 units on a nearly 20-acre parcel on land currently zoned rural residential continues to draw strong opposition from neighbors.

The Grand County Council at a public hearing to collect public comment Tuesday heard from a number of people concerned over water quality and quantity, dangerously congested traffic, ruined views and even a need to fortify their homes against intruders.

Nearby resident Sand Sheff angrily criticized the council, saying the project will impact “a lot of people.” He said, “Nobody would vote for it.”

The project is behind the Wyndham Wingate Hotel, which is slated to open in roughly three weeks.

Sheff said the entrance to the project off an already busy Highway 191 would be “disastrous.”

“We had no say on the hotel,” he said before alleging the contractor destroyed a spring that had a flow of six million gallons per year. He said the project would add 300 to 500 more vehicles turning into and out of the project each day. “You cannot do this,” he insisted.

Page Holland became emotional, lamenting the potential loss of her view, but she also had concerns regarding traffic, flooding potential and the existing springs in the area. “Your decisions could put lives in danger,” she said.

Holland also said she would have to “put better locks on her doors, lock her cars and put up razor wire–a comment made tongue in cheek–but she was serious when she said, “No amount of screening will save my view.” She pleaded with the council: “Save my view. If I have to look at an apartment complex for the rest of my life I would be crushed.”

Zacharia Levine acknowledged that concerns raised by neighbors were valid. He also said changes the Grand County Planning Commission made before making its favorable recommendation include requiring the developer to install a privacy fence anywhere on the property boundary that is shared with a neighbor; that building height be limited to 35 feet rather than the original 42; and that the developer designate which units would be deed restricted.

Developer William Hansen, said Levine, has agreed to those conditions and the new master plan includes 168 units that would be deed restricted.

While Levine acknowledged neighbors raised legitimate concerns, he said the plan meets “most of the … criteria” to qualify for the high-density overlay. He cited its proximity to employment and commercial activity in downtown Moab and to Utah State University Moab, to Highway 191 and to the hotel, which is defined as a “higher intensity” development.

The public comment period ends later this month. The council could take action at its Aug. 20 meeting.