The Grand County Council on Aug. 20 voted 4-2 to approve the Arroyo Crossing Planned Unit Development overlay and associated master plan, inching closer to development of the 300-unit, 42-acre affordable housing project planned for 2022 Spanish Valley Drive.
Members Rory Paxman and Jaylyn Hawks cast the two no votes. Paxman apparently objected to the project because the people who might live there might not pay property taxes. Hawks said she supported affordable housing, but she said the density of Arroyo Crossing was too high for the area. Member Curtis Wells was not in attendance.
Hawks’ concern prompted Community and Economic Development Director Zacharia Levine to say, “You can’t get affordability without density.” She lives in the area and said she often walks her dog on the development property, but that had nothing to do with her opposition. “There are plenty of places to walk my dog,” she said.
Also, the council in a meeting earlier this year agreed to waive certain fees at Arroyo Crossing in order to help keep down costs. Tax exemptions and fee waivers are two key ways such projects are made affordable elsewhere.
The vote came on the heels of a favorable recommendation to approve the project the Grand County Planning Commission voted on earlier this summer – which included approval of the preliminary plat and a new design for Budweiser Lane.
Public opposition waned significantly after MACLT member Audrey Graham visited neighbors to address concerns – many that were incorporated in revisions made to the overall plan following her efforts.
Because whoever purchases property in Arroyo Crossing won’t own the land – the trust retains possession – nonprofits such as MACLT can apply for a property tax exemption once the certificates of occupancy are issued.
The next step for the project is approval of the final plat, a critical step that must be taken by the end of the month in order for the Moab Area Community Land Trust to take advantage of millions of dollars in available tax credits.