Castle Valley Comments

A public hearing and the regular monthly meeting of the Castle Valley Town Council were held Nov 21. The meeting was held one day later than normal because two members of the town council were in Green River to attend a meeting of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ Regional Advisory Council meeting and there would not be a quorum present for the town council meeting.

castle valley
Castle Valley
Photo courtesy of Brian W. Schaller

The public hearing had to do with Ordinance 85-3, the land use ordinance and particularly Chapter 9.4 dealing with permitted livestock requirements and Chapter 4.10, the criteria for non-routine conditional use permits for livestock exceeding the permitted use. The proposed ordinance was to make amendments to Chapter 4.9 pertaining to the removal of Chapter 4.10 and removal of Chapter 4.10 conditional use permits for extra animals beyond the permitted use. Essentially, there would be no provision for extra animals above what is already permitted.

During the public hearing former Mayor Bruce Keeler said he wholeheartedly supported the removal of the entire section stating that 25 animals is ridiculous. “Twenty-five years ago maybe that was a good ordinance but not true today,” he said citing the elimination of the commercial aspect of the ordinance and added the fact that dealing with animal waste takes a lot of time and work. Jack Campbell cited the valley’s EPA designation of a sole source aquifer and the duty to not contaminate it. He stated the valley’s 2014 general plan and the strong emphasis on protecting the water and air and this ordinance more closely resembles the general plan.

Planning and Land Use Chairperson Colleen Thompson said the extra animal use ordinance was not used in the last 10 years and the latest community survey overwhelming supports the limited animal use ordinance. During the regular meeting the town council voted to approve the removal of Chapter 4.10 and renumbering the subsequent chapters.

Council members Alice Drogin and Harry Holland attended the Regional Advisory Council meeting in Green River to request a variance of archery-only hunting around the town boundaries. They reported that the meeting was basically positive and the RAC suggested a compromise to allow shotguns for bird hunting with an exception for law enforcement and wildlife officials. The council members basically agreed to the compromise noting that the area usually doesn’t attract many bird hunters anyway. An agreement will be created and presented to the Wildlife Board for their approval at a later date.

During the town council meeting representatives from Rocky Mountain Power spoke to the council on a couple of subjects. District manager Dan Vink told the council that he is constantly trying to improve the power to Castle Valley and said he has more projects to continually improve the service.

He spoke about Emery Telcom and their project to attach to Rocky Mountain Power’s poles as they bring fiber optic service to the valley. Vink said they are working with Emery Telcom to replace some of their shorter poles with 45-foot poles to accommodate their needs and we might experience some planned outages as a result. He also answered questions from the audience. One audience member asked if it was normal for the electrical power lines to hum to which his tongue-in-cheek answer was “Yes, because they don’t know the words.”

Debra Dull, Rocky Mountain Power Customer and Community manager reported on the Community Renewal Energy Act (HB411), which was adopted by the Utah Legislature during the 2019 General Session. This bill was created to provide cities with mechanisms to establish and achieve a goal to source net-100 percent of electricity energy from renewable resources by 2030. Through this legislation, cities and towns have the option to collaborate with Rocky Mountain Power to help achieve this goal. It would be a partnership between the Utah Public Service Commission, Rocky Mountain Power and the Town of Castle Valley and other participating cities and towns.

The program would involve adopting a town resolution by Dec 31, initial agreement between RMP to develop guidelines, submitting an application to the Utah Public Service Commission and, upon approval, consider an ordinance to define the program guidelines. The town can opt out during multiple points in the process. If the program is ultimately adopted by ordinance, all RMP customers will be automatically enrolled in the program. However, every customer can opt-out of the program without penalty within the first three billing cycles of the increased rate change.

Rocky Mountain Power and parent company PacifiCorps has plans to retire 16 to 20 of their 24 coal-fired units and installing solar, wind farms, and other renewable sources during that time including a solar farm in the Moab area.