General election Q&A: Kendall Jenson

You can read more about this Q&A and how the other candidates responded in the related story.

Kendall Jenson is a challenger in the upcoming Moab City Council elections. He was the sixth highest vote-getter in the primary election, with 362 votes. Jenson, a retiree, now gives tours for High Point Hummer.

Here is how Jenson responded to our three questions:

T-I: The City of Moab, during its ongoing moratorium on new lodging developments, is on the clock to write and pass lodging standards. These standards will determine how future lodging developments look and operate.

There are many ideas regarding how these standards should be written. What are your top two priorities regarding how lodging is regulated in Moab, and how do you propose to implement them via policy?

Jenson: One, before a new city ordinance is considered or approved by the city council, it is imperative that the language be clear, objective and easy to understand. It should be fair, reasonable and uniform for all affected.

Two, decisions made by the city council should protect and preserve our city environment for the sake of our families, individuals, and the property rights and business interests of our citizens.

T-I: How do you propose to implement them via policy?

Jenson: Listen to the concerns and recommendations or our citizens. All of them. And, vote to implement policies that will be most helpful to those who call Moab home. This will surely require a great deal of listening and compromise, but we can do it.

T-I: Relative to the area’s median income, Grand County has the least affordable rent in the State of Utah. The typical household spends more than 30% of its income on rent. Property values have increased dramatically in recent years while incomes have fallen.

Some candidates have proposed voluntary deed restriction programs to address the problem. Most agree that higher density housing is what is most needed. Where in the city should higher density housing get built, and how would you handle or mitigate pushback from homeowners who do not want those developments in or near their neighborhood?

Jenson: Erecting high-density housing in our established neighborhoods may not be necessary. There have to be other solutions to the lack of affordable housing.

One possible alternative would be to loosen the city’s restrictions on building ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) on property large enough to accommodate an additional small dwelling.  This would allow neighborhoods to remain much the same and lessen the need for high-density building projects, overcrowded bunkhouses and pushback (which is justified) from our homeowners.

T-I: Housing and lodging are perhaps the most obvious challenges facing the city. What is one other, major challenge that the city faces, and how do you plan to address it?

Jenson: Moab’s Main Street is dangerous. We must unite and move forward in a major way to see that a bypass around our town is constructed to accommodate the ever-increasing truck traffic.

The proposal made years ago to use 500 West as the bypass is no longer feasible. The bypass must avoid our downtown altogether. Let’s cooperate and compromise if necessary and get this done.