City Council Minutes

Thursday, June 8,2000



ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES WORK MEETING JUNE 8, 2000, 4:00 P.M. ADMINISTRATION CONFERENCE ROOM PRESENT: Mayor Daniel McArthur Councilmember Rod Orton Councilmember Suzanne Allen Councilmember Sharon Isom Councilmember Bob Whatcott Councilmember Larry Gardner City Manager Gary Esplin City Attorney Jonathan Wright City Recorder Gay Cragun The opening prayer was offered by Councilmember Allen. REPORT ON MEETING WITH GOVERNOR: Councilmember Gardner reported on a meeting he attended with Governor Leavitt. Governor Leavitt is supportive of the new airport and economic development. Governor Leavitt stated that southern Utah is a grow-out area for Silicon Valley type businesses, and a daily flight is needed from that area to Southern Utah. A meeting has been tentatively scheduled for July 13 to meet with eight different companies from the Silicon Valley area to explore the possibility of locating in Utah. Councilmember Gardner commented he felt it was important for St. George to be represented at this meeting, and the Mayor and other Councilmembers concurred in this recommendation. DISCUSSION RE GOLF COURSE FEES: Golf Director Dave Terry advised that the City’s premiere golf course, Sunbrook, is not paying its way. There is a possibility it may break even this year in the best case scenario, but as the City’s golf courses are not supported by taxes, the other golf courses must make up the difference if Sunbrook does not operate in the black. He stated that additional money for capital improvements at all City courses is needed, especially in light of the additional competition from Sun River and Coral Canyon, and the City must be more conscientious about the condition of its golf courses. The City has been trying to build a rainy day fund for its golf courses, but last year the courses only broke even. If bad weather occurs in the City’s prime golfing season (February through May), the City could stand to lose a great deal. He recommended that a new green fee structure be implemented, and the resident and non-resident fee structure be eliminated. He proposed that a peak season, weekday, weekend structure be implemented for everyone, regardless of resident status. He proposed that the City go to a three season fee schedule. Councilmember Orton inquired how the City’s current rates compared to other courses. Mr. Terry replied the City has a competitive advantage based on price, and that must be kept in mind when the fees are restructured. Councilmember Orton commented he did not want to penalize residents, but the City must be competitive. City Manager Gary Esplin suggested the new rates be implemented as soon as possible. He commented that the City should be comparing its golf fees to other sunbelt areas, and almost without exception they have a three season fee structure. He suggested a public hearing be held to receive input from the public. Mayor McArthur suggested the matter be scheduled on the June 15, 2000 City Council agenda. Mr. Esplin reported that within two months the City should know more about the Sunbrook Clubhouse situation. He advised the City could extend its bonds for three more years which would generate enough capital to build the clubhouse and make needed improvements at all the courses. Golf Director Dave Terry proposed that fees be raised at Sunbrook during the off-season to $36 weekdays, $40 weekends, and during the peak season to $40 weekdays and $45 weekends. He advised that sales tax would be included in the increase. City Manager Gary Esplin stated it was important for golfers to understand that if the City did not have to pay sales tax, it could keep its rates even lower. DISCUSSION RE DEVELOPMENT OF TRIANGLE AT BLUFF AND DIAGONAL: Attorney Russ Gallian displayed the original site plan for this location, and a new site plan which depicted a closing of Diagonal Street with a new access to Bluff Street. He advised the City has insisted on PD zoning for this site which is difficult to work with because of the many restrictions. He advised the new plan was reviewed by the Planning Commission and received a favorable review, but local homeowners do not like it. ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION: A motion to adjourn to an executive session was made by Councilmember Allen. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Orton, and all voted aye. RECONVENE: A motion to reconvene was made by Councilmember Isom. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Allen, and all voted aye. DISCUSSION CONTINUED ON DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRIANGLE AT DIAGONAL AND BLUFF: Mr. Gallian continued by stating that the original site plan was approved in 1996, but was unable to get staff approval because of safety concerns and the requirement for a traffic study. It is his understanding that UDOT would prefer that Diagonal be closed and a new access provided for safety reasons. The Planning Commission has approved the new plan, and meeting were held with local residents who did not like the new plan. He advised his client has been unfairly treated because his plans have not been approved. He advised the new plan would be better for everyone as it would quiet the traffic, and a block wall and landscape strip will be provided. Dr. Fawson commented the new plan was designed at the request of City staff and UDOT. City Engineer Dave Demas commented that anything to do with Bluff Street has to have UDOT approval. The second access requested on the original plan would require a traffic impact study as required by UDOT. He commented the City has never seen a plan that would address all safety issues. Mayor McArthur inquired if either design proposed by the applicant would require a traffic study. City Engineer Dave Demas replied that UDOT will not require a traffic study if Diagonal is closed and relocated as long as they approve the plan. Mr. Gallian commented his client preferred commercial zoning for more flexibility, but a PD could be done if necessary. No buildings will be located in the area where Diagonal currently is located in order to give the project more internal circulation and because major utilities are located within the street area. However, a parking lot and landscaping may be located in this area. Commercial zoning would also eliminate the 25' setback, as the property is already narrow and hard to work with. City Engineer Dave Demas commented the applicant would possibly be required to install a median on Bluff Street because of the impact. Neal Smith, President of Sunstone Homeowners Association, stated he thought the issue was decided five years ago when a compromise was reached and the applicant agreed to do a planned development. He advised the homeowners association was never contacted or included in discussions. He stated the association is not in favor of the new plan as it would bring development closer to them instead of away from them, and commercial zoning would allow the applicant to put anything in. Russ Gallian replied the site is unusual and tough to work with, and if a C-3 zone were granted, the applicant would agree to a contractual restriction to use most of the PD requirements, with some flexibility. He stated the applicant is willing to leave the walking trail in place, along with a landscape strip and fence. There is not a specific plan at this point, however, as his client lost the buyer because of the delay. He advised his client is willing to make a trade with the City for two streets, but if the City is not in favor of the new design, his client would like to move ahead with the original design as the delay is creating an economic burden. Mayor McArthur advised he would prefer PD zoning with restrictions. Community Development Director Bob Nicholson reviewed the original plan with the Mayor and Council and advised it was approved with a landscape transfer. If the applicant will go with this plan, including a deceleration lane like the engineers have asked for, it is a viable plan. City Engineer Dave Demas again advised UDOT will require a traffic impact study for the original plan because of safety hazard issues. Councilmember Gardner commented that previously he was opposed to closing Diagonal, but now he thinks it makes more sense to close it and redirect traffic because of the dangerous intersection that presently exists. Ron Lemmon advised he represented 50 area residents who would like to see the original plan implemented. If not, the entire issue should be revisited and discussed with area residents. Councilmembers Gardner and Orton commented it was their impression UDOT did not like the original plan, and would only approve it if recommended by the traffic impact study. City Engineer Dave Demas stated there is every indication the State prefers closing Diagonal and moving the access to Bluff Street to the south. Traffic Engineer Aron Baker commented the City will not forward the plan to UDOT until staff feels they can recommend it. Councilmember Orton commented that closing Diagonal and moving access to Bluff Street could be a positive step and makes sense from a safety standpoint. Tom Durrant commented the 25' setback in a PD could not be used for parking or driving. Neal Smith commented the residents of Sunstone should have been consulted before the new plan was presented to the Planning Commission. Ron Lemmon commented area residents agreed to PD Commercial zoning, not C-2 or C-3. He stated the new plan does not present just a road change, but a zone change. Councilmember Gardner commented he heard Russ Gallian say the applicant was willing to present a plan with all the elements of a PUD, but not as restrictive on setbacks and landscaping. City Attorney Jonathan Wright advised a development agreement would be needed, with the restrictions specifically referred to in the agreement. Russ Gallian commented that site design and uses of the property are the main issues, but his client has always been willing to subject the footprint and plan to the Planning Commission and City Council for their approval, and is willing to commit to the same kind of uses as previously approved. He advised his client is hoping to solve issues of concern and get out from under unreasonable restrictions on the site. Mayor McArthur inquired about the possibility of approving a footprint under other zoning with restrictions. Councilmember Gardner questioned if this could be done under a development agreement. City Attorney Jonathan Wright advised the restrictions could run with the land. Councilmember Isom advised the agreement could then be recorded if it contains a legal description. Russ Gallian commented Sunstone would not be negatively affected because they would be looking at the City’s trail, a landscape buffer strip, and a wall, rather than Diagonal Street. Neal Smith advised that before the Sunstone Homeowners Association could approve the plan, it would want to see the plan or something in writing. City Engineer Dave Demas advised the applicant will need to submit proper plans for review by City Engineering staff. Russ Gallian asked specifically what the City needed. City Engineer Dave Demas replied the City’s project engineers have not seen the plans, and they must make sure the plans deal with all issues. Traffic Engineer Aron Baker advised a layout, engineered plan, and survey is needed. Ron Lemmon commented that as long as an engineer is needed, a plan should be prepared showing specifically what is agreed to according to the development agreement. The plan should then be given to him and Neal Smith so they can take it to other interested parties and help defuse any misunderstandings. Mayor McArthur commented this is the first time the Mayor and City Council has seen to the plan too. Russ Gallian commented his client would be willing to do this with the understanding the plan is subject to adjustment as there is no buyer at the present time. However, the project could be designed within general parameters, and since there will be a bigger site to work with, the square footage of the project would be different. If any material change is made, the project would come back for a public hearing, but they reserve the right to make adjustments. Associate Planner Jim McGuire commented the City could give them a maximum building and height envelope to work with, as well as what the uses could be, how wide a landscape strip is required, where the wall is placed, etc. Councilmember Gardner commented the applicant will also have to provide access to park at the trailhead. Dr. Norm Fawson gave a history of the property purchase, and advised he has been willing to do just about anything to get the project going, but he has now been told to submit another traffic study. Traffic Engineer Aron Baker replied Mr. Fawson has never submitted a traffic impact study to the City. Councilmember Whatcott commented the plan for the project was first presented to the City and approved in 1996. The Sonic Burger and a turn-in lane, however, was approved in 1994, but the turn-in lane was never built. In 1996 the State came in and restriped Bluff Street and eliminated the turn-in lane. The City had nothing to do with that, and before 1996 the applicant could have had a second access, but because of his own delay, the access was eliminated when the State restriped Bluff Street. Russ Gallian advised he would work with staff to draft a development agreement to make a part of the property, and assuming that UDOT is in favor of the new project, a traffic study will not be required. A property trade can then be made with the City, with a portion retained for the trail and trailhead, with the understanding there may have to be adjustments to the footprint when a buyer is found. Bertha Mendenhall inquired if there were any way that Sunstone could have half of Diagonal as they would like more greenery. Mayor McArthur replied that the closure of Diagonal would already provide the residents of Sunstone with more greenery and open space without the traffic. ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION: A motion to adjourn to an executive session was made by Councilmember Gardner. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Allen, and all voted aye. RECONVENE: A motion to reconvene was made by Councilmember Allen. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Isom, and all voted aye. Mayor McArthur was excused from the meeting. DISCUSSION RE DINOSAUR TRACKS: City Manager Gary Esplin requested City Council direction on the dinosaur tracks issue. The possibility of including the tracks as part of the Dixie Center project is being explored and MC? is involved in building the mountain in the museum. They are suggesting that by establishing a home page, the City could generate $200,000-$300,000 in revenue. The cost of the dinosaur museum is estimated at $1.5 million, and the City needs to decide its level of participation. MC? would assign 12 people to the project. ADJOURN: A motion to adjourn was made by Councilmember Allen. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Isom, and all voted aye. ____________________________ Gay Cragun, City Recorder