General election Q&A: Tawny Knuteson-Boyd

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

Tawny Knuteson-Boyd is an incumbent to the Moab City Council, running for re-election in 2019. She was the top vote-getter in 2019, with 690 votes. She was first elected to the seat in 2015.

Here is how Knuteson-Boyd 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?

Knuteson-Boyd: My top two priorities for overnight accommodations is that they don’t encroach further into our established neighborhoods and that we put in place stricter standards regarding height, density, energy efficiency, landscaping and the project’s overall footprint.

We have a finite number of buildable acres in the city, and we must be thoughtful and selective about how they are utilized. We need to bolster and diversify our economy and retain our neighborhoods aesthetic, atmosphere and livability.

As a council, we have to give clear, concise direction to staff so they can implement our vision and make it mesh into our current code. They will let us know if we have unrealistic expectations.

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?

Knuteson-Boyd: I know there are developers and contractors working on innovative ways to build housing that includes higher density while established neighborhoods will remain much the same. Most, if not all, of our residents understand we don’t just have a shortage of houses; we have a housing crisis.

Everyone deserves a clean, safe place to land and call home. I would just ask that they keep an open mind about new development or redevelopment; often the anticipation of the unknown is worse than the actual event.

New ideas, people, differing backgrounds and culture all add to the fabric of our community. It would be shameful to see that richness and vibrancy confined to one parcel or one area of town.

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?

Knuteson-Boyd: Our biggest challenge is our aged infrastructure. We have close to 75 million dollars of work that needs to be done.

We have to find the resources and funding, so we are looking at all possible scenarios, including loans, grants, and public-private partnerships.

In addition, we need to inform and persuade the legislature to give us more latitude in utilizing Transient Room Tax and also help them understand: tax reform isn’t one-size-fits-all. It may be a boon to urban areas while affecting rural areas very negatively.