General election Q&A: Kenneth G. Minor

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

Kenneth G. Minor is a challenger in the upcoming Moab City Council elections. He was the fifth highest vote-getter in the primary election, with 534 votes. He was born and raised in Moab and now owns an H&R Block franchise location locally.

Here is how Minor 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?

Minor: My general guiding philosophy is to respect the rights of the citizens. That would include the rights of property owners and their neighbors.

With that in mind, I feel that short-term lodging does not belong in dense, inner-city residential areas. There may be areas where it would be appropriate for the occasional B&B or room rental, but such would need to protect the rights of the neighbors. A single room rental could have minimal impact to the neighbors and could help a local citizen afford a home.

I feel that commercial property should allow lodging as a permitted use within the guidelines necessary to protect the rights of surrounding neighbors. Property zoned highway commercial is the ideal location for new hotels. Alternative commercial uses should be encouraged, but I am not in favor of government mandating what you should do with your property if adverse effects to your neighbors are mitigated.

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?

Minor: I do not feel that the city should be in the business of building housing or forcing property owners to build housing at an economic loss. Many of our “developers” are local citizens trying to build housing to be able to afford their own homes. The solution that most respects the rights of the property owners and needs of the community is higher density housing.

Not all areas of the city are appropriate for high-density housing. There are empty parcels in Moab where it would be quite appropriate to build a high-density apartment building or complex. Go to any urban area and you can find very nice apartment complexes that would be a great asset for our community.

Other solutions would be to allow residents to have a small ADU on their property for long-term rental purposes in many areas of town. I would support the building of tiny home communities in areas of town as long-term housing solutions. I would support allowing new mobile home parks in the city.

When it comes to pushback from the neighbors, those concerns need to be addressed and mitigated as possible. Simply not wanting low-income neighbors is not a valid reason to stop a high-density project.

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?

Minor: One obvious, major challenge that the city faces is the aging infrastructure and the short-sighted approach to funding renovation and expansion that has occurred in the past.

Another not-so-obvious challenge is finding a way to reduce the friction between city government and local citizens and businesses. Without placing any blame, city governments by their nature operate with a different culture than the average business and citizen.

Government is tasked with protecting the community and the individual, themselves. This sometimes causes conflict.

I would work to find ways to reduce that conflict to help individuals, businesses and government officials communicate and work together to arrive at common sense compromise to the issues that arise. Improving communication and creating an obvious avenue for suggestions from citizens and city employees would be the first step in such an endeavor.