July 13 2000 City Council Minutes

ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
WORK MEETING
JULY 13, 2000, 4:00 P.M.
ADMINISTRATION CONFERENCE ROOM

PRESENT:
Mayor Daniel McArthur
Councilmember Rod Orton
Councilmember Larry Gardner
Councilmember Suzanne Allen
Councilmember Bob Whatcott
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Jonathan Wright
City Recorder Gay Cragun

EXCUSED:
Councilmember Sharon Isom

FIELD TRIP TO LITTLE VALLEY AREA:
Present for the field trip were Mayor McArthur, Councilmember Orton, Councilmember Gardner, Councilmember Allen, Councilmember Whatcott, City Manager Gary Esplin, Community Development Director Bob Nicholson, and Brent Gardner representing Alpha Engineering. The purpose of the field trip was to look at lot sizes, densities, general land use in the area, and the City boundary in connection with the request by Derrill Larkin for a zone change in the Little Valley area.

DISCUSSION RE EXECUTIVE SESSIONS:
City Attorney Jonathan Wright distributed a memo addressing the types of matters and circumstances that allow the City Council to hold an executive session or closed meeting. He reviewed the contents of the memo with the Mayor and City Council and explained that State law provides that an executive session or closed meeting may be held only to discuss the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual employee, to hold a strategy session on pending or reasonably imminent litigation, to discuss the purchase, exchange or lease of real property only under certain circumstances, to discuss the employment of security personnel, devices or systems, or to discuss investigative proceedings regarding allegations of criminal misconduct. He explained that detailed minutes must be kept of any executive session, except in the case of security deployment or to discuss the character, professional competence or physical or mental health of an individual. In these cases the Mayor may sign a sworn statement affirming that the sole purpose for closing the meeting was as stated, and no minutes are taken. Mr. Wright explained that in order to close a meeting to discuss litigation which is pending or reasonably imminent, another attorney is usually involved and has contacted the City. A meeting cannot be closed just because the possibility exists for a lawsuit. Additionally, a meeting cannot be closed just to discuss a real property purchase, but only if public discussion would disclose the appraisal amount or estimated value of the property, or would prevent the City from completing the transaction on the best possible terms.

DISCUSSION RE WATER CONSERVATION:
Mayor McArthur advised he recently filmed a water conservation video, and also met with Santa Clara and Ivins to discuss water conservation issues and the City’s recent well problems. A press release was issued by the three cities urging water conservation.

A discussion was held concerning water issues on the west side of town. There are five wells in Snow Canyon and the water is jointly shared between the three cities. Santa Clara is allowed to take 1,000 gallons a minutes, and Ivins is allowed to take 250 gallons a minute, which amounts to 11% for Ivins, 24% for Santa Clara, and 65% for St. George. However, St. George is currently getting nothing because others are taking more than their share.
Ivins was told they would have to cut back to 350 gallons a minute. He advised that culinary water usage is up considerably from last year, and Santa Clara and Ivins must figure out for themselves how to solve their long-term water needs. Mr. Esplin stated that short term problems can be dealt with, but the larger problem is long term. He advised that rationing may have to be implemented, or every other day outside watering. A meeting is needed with the Water Conservancy District.

Councilmember Gardner commented a viable option for additional water is the Beaver Dam Wash.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that suggestion is being explored.

Councilmember Gardner advised there was also additional water in the wells at Winchester.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised it was imperative the West City Springs be converted to culinary use.

Mayor McArthur advised that Santa Clara, Ivins, and St. George agreed water issues needed to be solved together.

DISCUSSION RE TARGET PROJECT:
City Manager Gary Esplin advised he met with Lang Foremaster who advised that Target feels that $100,000 was not allocated correctly. Target bought property from Heritage Savings but now does not want the back six acres and would like the City to buy it. They cannot take a tax write-off on the property because of their corporate status. They would like the City to pay $.99 a sq. ft. for the property. Mr. Foremaster advised he would like to reclaim the six acres behind the proposed Target, hire an environmental engineer and attorney and fight the Corp of Engineers. He would like to tie at least six acres to the four acres he is keeping, and will donate any balance plus hillside property to the City. The City would still end up with the wash and hillside areas at a savings of $400,000. He recommended paying $200,000 to Target for the six acre parcel. He read a letter from Target advising they anticipating beginning construction on October 15 and opening in July, 2001. He advised that Lowe’s has their building permit.

DISCUSSION RE COSTCO PROJECT:
City Manager Gary Esplin advised that Costco is ready to begin construction but had to modify their site plan in order to accommodate the natural drainage on the site. This modification left a strip of property that Costco will not purchase from the Sandbergs, and they are asking if the City will accept it as a donation. Costco’s grading permit is ready to go, and they will have their final permit in a week. The minute construction begins they will have 30 days to close with the Sandbergs.

DISCUSSION RE DIXIE REA FRANCHISE:
City Manager Gary Esplin advised the Walmart issue will be on the City Council agenda for July 27 if an agreement is received from their attorney.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised Dixie REA’s franchise expires in February 2001. He suggested the City extend their franchise to 2010 if it can be done legally, and it will be scheduled on a City Council agenda prior to its expiration. If the City ends up purchasing Dixie REA’s system from Desert G&T, the $500,000 grant to the City will become part of the purchase price of the system. If the franchise is granted, the City will not be required to repay.

DISCUSSION RE JOINT USE SOFTBALL FACILITY:
Councilmember Whatcott commented his stake is interested in finding a suitable location for a softball field and park.

Councilmember Gardner suggested Howard Foremaster’s property.

Councilmember Whatcott inquired if the City would be interested in a joint project with the church to build a softball field and use it jointly.

Councilmember Gardner commented the East Stake might also be interested in participating in the project.



Mayor McArthur commented he thought Howard Foremaster’s property would be a good location.

Councilmember Gardner commented if the fields were included in the donated property by the Jennings, and access easements provided, it would be a good project in conjunction with the Kiwanis.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that access and water problems would have to be solved.

Councilmember Gardner advised that wetlands were created when the level of drainage was changed, and it could be solved through use of a con span bridge similar to those used in Summerlin.

PURCHASE OF REED GARDNER POWER PLANT:
Councilmember Gardner advised that UAMPS is interested in purchasing the Reed Gardner power plant, and they have a narrow window to respond with a bid. If the City remains in the generation business, it would be advantageous to have a piece of this plant for guaranteed power.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised this purchase should be pursued, and even if deregulation occurred, the plant would provide power for the City’s residents.

Councilmember Gardner commented terms of sale needed to be negotiated, and that no new generation plants are being built in the west or north, as all permits have been tied up by environmental issues.

DISCUSSION RE LITTLE VALLEY ZONE CHANGE:
Councilmember Orton commented he thought the integrity of the agricultural area needed to be maintained, but he did not know if it was fair to all property owners to restrict the area to agricultural and lots one-half acre in size and larger.

Mayor McArthur advised the biggest issue with the residents of Little Valley is that the SID was based on acreage. The applicant now wants to increase the density, yet the SID amount owed by him would not be increased.

Councilmember Allen commented if the City could guarantee a park and equestrian access, this would go a long way toward easing the objections of the area residents to the zone change. They feel they are being crowded out.

Councilmember Gardner commented he would prefer to see the area zoned half-acre lots and larger, but he would have a hard time telling the Esplins they could not have RE-12.5 zoning on their property after imposition of the SID. He stated he would have no problem with zoning for half-acre lots on the back side of the one-acre lots, and below that RE-12.5 zoning to the canal.

Councilmember Allen agreed with that proposal.

Councilmember Orton read a letter from Warren Gubler.

Councilmember Whatcott advised that while he approved of Mr. Larkin’s project, he would prefer to see the area left as it is.

Councilmember Orton commented RE-12.5 zoning should not be allowed, or it should be allowed for everyone.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented if half-acres lots were taken all the way over to 3000 East, it might as well be RE-12.5 zoning.

Councilmember Gardner advised he did not feel good about denying private property owners their right to develop, but the zoning must blend.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that even if the Esplins’ property were zoned half-acre lots, they would still be able to pay off their assessment and make a profit.

Councilmember Gardner agreed that the SID did not hurt the Esplins financially, but it will force them to develop their property.

Councilmember Orton commented perhaps the City needed to make a stand and designate this area as half-acre lots or more.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised this could be done as part of the master plan review process.

Councilmember Orton recommended that Mr. Larkin look at some kind of equestrian development where the back of the lots would be an easement for equestrians. He advised he would discuss this with Mr. Larkin.

ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION:
A motion to adjourn to an executive session to discuss the character, professional competence or physical or mental health of an individual was made by Councilmember Whatcott. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Gardner. Mayor McArthur called for a roll call vote, and the City Council voted as follows:


Councilmember Whatcott - Aye
Councilmember Gardner - Aye
Councilmember Allen - Aye
Councilmember Orton - Aye

The motion carried.

RECONVENE AND ADJOURN:
A motion to reconvene and adjourn was made by Councilmember Whatcott. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Allen. Mayor McArthur called for a vote, and the City Council voted as follows:

Councilmember Whatcott - Aye
Councilmember Allen - Aye
Councilmember Orton - Aye
Councilmember Gardner - Aye

The motion carried.

The meeting adjourned.



___________________________________
Gay Cragun, City Recorder