Monday, August 3, 2020

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Moab, UT

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Moab
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    Officials: Lodging noncompliance concentrated in dispersed campgrounds

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    Carter Pape
    Carter Papehttp://moabtimes.awebstudio.com/author/carter-pape/
    Reporter Carter Pape covers news out of the Grand County Council Chambers, including housing, tourism, crime, and more.

    Separately, campground owner challenges lodging restriction

    A “campground full” sign at a camping site on Kane Creek has been posted to deter visitors from illegally spending the night there while Moab has in place a restriction on lodging, limiting only local residents and workers to camp in sites like this one. Photo by Carter Pape

    Reported violations of Moab’s March 17 lodging restriction spiked last week after the county began cracking down on people failing to comply with the order, which mandates that nobody can camp in Grand County or occupy a nightly rental except in narrow, emergency situations or if the person lives or works in the county.

    Grand County Attorney Christina Sloan in an April 7 report to the county council said that enforcement had escalated from “soft enforcement” in the form of warnings and education to the issuance of citations, particularly for repeat offenders. The citations will require the alleged violators to appear in person for their hearings before a judge, once courts resume in-person business.

    “Most violations are not at developed campgrounds but in dispersed camping areas throughout the county, such as Willow Springs and White Wash Sand Dunes,” Sloan said the next day. “We have No Camping signs posted in these areas, and we will increase our enforcement presence in these areas this weekend.”

    Sloan also said that, in response to a legal challenge by Moab Rim Campground Owner Reed Pendleton of the authority of the Southeast Utah Health Department to order the lodging restriction, the health department is considering whether and how to treat RV parks differently than hotels, campgrounds and overnight rentals in the public health order.

    Sloan said that Pendleton made the complaint through his lawyer, and after an expedited hearing on the matter that she described as an “exchange between lawyers” on the health department’s authority, Bradon Bradford, the department’s health director, was considering changes to how RV parks are regulated amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

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