Tuesday, July 7, 2020


Moab, UT

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    Projects favored and feared are subjects of public hearings

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    Former Grand County Sheriff’s deputy Art Hines’ long efforts to help his son stay in Moab might finally end in success. Photo by Doug McMurdo

    A former longtime Grand County Sheriff’s deputy and his family’s desire to subdivide their property to provide a lot on which one of their children could build a home saw a spark of light at the end of a long tunnel Tuesday when the Grand County Council held a public hearing on his rezone request.

    Art Hines has appeared before the council and Grand County Planning Commission for roughly a year. He was an early proponent of the county’s recently enacted high-density housing overlay ordinance, thinking that would be an avenue to take in breaking up his lot so his son, a current law enforcement officer, could afford to build a home.

    But laws sometimes have a way of producing unintended consequences. Planning staff recommended the council deny the request, arguing the parcel is too small to subdivide into two lots under the Large Lot Residential zone district. Hines seeks a rezone to Small Lot Residential

    One lot would be half an acre and the second a quarter-acre.

    Hines became emotional when reading a letter to the council on Tuesday. He said he has no intent to “create numerous small rental units” the overlay would allow. He also noted neighboring properties have homes on a single lot that are in close proximity to one another.

    He also said the family has already installed two sewer connection stubs to the property line and paid the connection and encroachment fees.

    Council Member Rory Paxman was the first member of the council to suggest Hines’ request should be granted. No action could be taken until the comment period ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 11. To comment, send an email to council@grandcountyutah.net.

    Housing plan for Highway 191 poorly received

    While there was sympathy for Hines, the participants in the next public hearing did not fare well.

    Property owner Michael Skarda wants to built Namaste Rock on roughly 24 acres at 13704 N. Highway 191, in the vicinity of Moab Giants. He seeks a rezone from Range and Grazing to Highway Commercial on which to build a mixed-use housing development.

    The Grand County Planning Commission effectively voted to deny the rezone request in a 3-3 vote Aug. 13.

    Additionally, Community and Economic Development Director Zacharia Levine cautioned the council to consider the potential impacts. He said they were only considering a rezone request, not the underlying development proposal, meaning the owner was not obliged to build what he said he planned to build.

    The same held true for Hines, but his property is so small the most he could do is build three homes instead of two, while Skarda could move to much greater density than what is currently proposed. As Liz Thomas commented from the audience during Tuesday’s discussion, “anything could happen.

    Major concerns over water and sewer also were voiced. The public comment period on this proposal ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 11. To comment, send an email to council@grandcountyutah.net.

    Murphy Flats a ‘unique’ housing subdivision

    Courtney Kizer and her husband, Steve Evers hope their nearly 1.5-acre property at 1183 Murphy Lane can be accepted into the county’s High-Density Housing Overlay. The homes they hope to build will be tiny houses between 400 and 550 square feet.

    They have to address drainage and parking issues, and Grand County Attorney Christina Sloan has to sign off on access easements, but the Grand County Planning Commission voted to make a favorable recommendation.

    Kizer said she and her husband are willing to do whatever is needed to address the issues.

    The public comment period on this proposal ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 11. To comment, send an email to council@grandcountyutah.net.

    Buzzard’s Belly in Cisco could reopen

    In what is more of a housekeeping measure than anything else, the council heard a rezone application to reopen the Buzzard’s Belly in Cisco, a convenience store that closed its doors a number of years ago.

    Alan and Jean Murawski own the roughly half-acre parcel at 137 S. Cisco Boat Ramp Road. The Murawskis would like to reopen the general store but, because it has been closed for more than six months, they had to apply for a rezone from Range and Grazing to Neighborhood Commercial.

    The public comment period on this proposal ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 11. To comment, send an email to council@grandcountyutah.net.

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