After a month of public backlash in reaction to an order allowing off-highway vehicles on the roads in Utah’s national parks and monuments, the National Park Service has walked the directive back.
The top runners in the nation, as well as more than 2,700 recreational trail runners, will compete in the USA Trail Marathon Championships in Moab Nov. 2-3, according to an email from Danelle Ballengee, a renowned runner from Moab who designed the course.
A proposed legislative bill to reduce the amount of transient room tax that must be spent to promote tourism in Grand and other Utah counties was met with mixed feelings Friday when the Grand County Council and Moab Area Travel Council met – but the two sides ultimately agreed to put up a united front when lawmakers address the legislation in the 2020 session, which begins Jan. 27.
The driver of this tour bus got into trouble exiting the Sweet Cravings parking lot at Highway 191 and 400 North Monday afternoon. His international travelers exited the bus while a tow truck operator worked to free the vehicle after the bus’s rear end bottomed out. The bus blocked off both southbound lanes of Highway 191 and traffic was impacted for quite some time.
Now that the governing councils of Grand County and the City of Moab have imposed temporary bans on the development of overnight lodging, it’s time to dive into heightened standards for such developments.
Flaws in how a July 18 Grand County Council special meeting was noticed prompted Grand County Attorney Christina Sloan to require the council to ratify its revote on whether to temporarily remove overnight lodging developments as a use by right.
International visitors with VISA credit cards spent about $10 million in Moab in 2018. Hotel and motel occupancy rates that year averaged between 60 and 70 percent, and transient room tax collections through the end of May were down about $300,000 from the same time last year, according to the annual Moab Area Travel Council report for 2018 that Executive Director Elaine Gizler presented at Tuesday’s Grand County Council meeting.
Curtis Wells said his colleagues on the Grand County Council were aware he had serious concerns regarding the removal of lodging as a permitted use from existing businesses and commercial zoning long before the issue ever went to a vote on July 16 – saying the process morphed from one that would have implemented enhanced design standards for lodging operators to an outright ban, to building any more hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, condominiums, townhomes or private campgrounds.
The Moab City Council quietly approved an ordinance that temporarily removes as a use by right future overnight lodging developments while staff, led by City Planner Nora Shepard, creates new standards.
If at first you don’t succeed …
The Grand County Council meets at 2 p.m. today, July 18, to revisit Tuesday’s 3-3 vote on an ordinance that would temporarily ban construction of hotels, motels and other lodging providers on county land outside of the Moab city limits. The Moab City Council is exploring a similar ordinance.
Despite overwhelming public support, a proposed ordinance to remove overnight lodging as a use by right – meaning they could not be developed, at least temporarily in Grand County – failed to pass after council members voted 3-3, in the absence of Member Jaylyn Hawks, at Tuesday’s July 16 Grand County Council meeting.