City Council Minutes

Thursday, May 22,2003

City of St. George Council Meeting
Special Meeting
May 22, 2003
Administrative Conference Room

Mayor Daniel McArthur
Council Member Rod Orton
Council Member Suzanne Allen
Council Member Larry Gardner
Council Member Whatcott
City Manager Gary Esplin
Deputy City Attorney Ron Read
Deputy City Recorder Ren? Fleming
Assistant to the City Manager Marc Mortensen

Council Member Isom

Site visit to the area immediately east of the East Black Ridge (also known as Foremaster Ridge) including the east slope of the East Black Ridge

City Council Members Gardner, Orton, Allen and Whatcott
Mayor McArthur
City Manager Esplin
Assistant to the City Manager Marc Mortensen
Leisure Services Director Perkins
Public Works Director Bullock
Community Development Director Nicholson
Mark Bradley
Ren? Fleming
Randy Simonson, applicant

The group met at the site and discussed possible development and zoning possibilities.

Consider invoking the pending ordinance doctrine regarding zoning for the area located on the east side of the East Black Ridge (also known as Foremaster Ridge) from approximately 180 South Mall Drive intersection south to the Virgin River including land on the south face of Foremaster Ridge, bounded by Foremaster Ridge on the west and 1990 East Street on the east to Foremaster Drive and Riverside Drive intersection, and south of the said intersection the area widens to include the hill referred to as Netta?s Knoll to the Middleton Wash and Virgin River on the east.

Present for discussion: Community Development Director Nicholson, Leisure Services Director Perkins, Public Works Director Bullock
Mayor McArthur indicated the council will consider invoking the pending ordinance doctrine.

Council Member Allen made a motion, seconded by Council Member Whatcott to invoke the pending ordinance doctrine regarding zoning for the area located on the east side of the East Black Ridge (also known as Foremaster Ridge) from approximately 180 South Mall Drive intersection south to the Virgin River including land on the south face of Foremaster Ridge, bounded by Foremaster Ridge on the west and 1990 East Street on the east to Foremaster Drive and Riverside Drive intersection, and south of the said intersection the area widens to include the hill referred to as Netta?s Knoll to the Middleton Wash and Virgin River on the east.

Community Development Director Nicholson indicated some individuals have been to some planning meetings but have not made any submittals of plans for student housing.

The Mayor called for a roll call vote as follows
Council Member Whatcott aye
Council Member Orton, aye
Council Member Allen, aye
Council Member Gardner, aye with a time limit.
Motion carried.

The group discussed the time limit built into the ordinance which is 6 months.

Council Member Gardner asked for clarification on when the applicant should come to staff with a preliminary plan.

The group discussed possible development the council will approve, such as estate developments with home lots. Once a blanket zone change is done, anything can happen in the area. The council would like a more specific plan before approving any new zoning.

Community Development Director Nicholson indicated the master plan is a concept. The master plan would not necessarily have to be changed for a commercial development to go into that area.

The council discussed the sensitivity of the site and the need to plan for development. The council is acting on a request to amend the master plan. If that is done, the property value would be enhanced and development could be done without council approval.

New Business
Fort Pierce Industrial Park

City Manager Esplin explained a plan has been submitted to and approved by the JUC showing underground power, now Dixie Escalante Power wants to put the lines overhead. They are saying council authorized overhead power in the industrial area. He would like some clarification on this issue.

Council Member Gardner suggested a meeting with all the entities to discuss the issue.

Marc Mortensen indicated Energy Services Director Solomon asked Dixie Escalante Power to come back to JUC with the plans that indicate where the poles will be placed. He indicated the plans for the Blue Bunny facility don?t show overhead power yet they are setting poles also.

The group discussed how the exception would be made. It could be done because existing power is overhead.

Marc Mortensen pointed out that power for phases one and two of the Blue Bunny facility are underground and phase three is overhead.

City Manager Esplin commented that this is something that needs to be sorted out before more work is done. Dixie Escalante Power has said the developers told them the City had approved overhead lines.

Community Development Director Nicholson indicated this topic came up at a lunch meeting he attended with Dixie Escalante Power and they said it was approved at the time the development was formed. Howard Dalton said he understood it was OK for the laterals, 69KV and feeders to be overhead.

City Manager Esplin indicated a meeting will be held to sort it out. The plans submitted to JUC that are approved with the power shown underground and now that construction is going on the power is going in above ground.

Review proposals for City Office Landscape project

Present for this discussion: Superintendent Lynn Scott, Matt Callister, Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins

Lynne Scott distributed a matrix scoring the 3 proposals for the landscaping renovation. She explained a committee was formed to review the plans and score them based on the criteria in the Request for Proposal (RFP).

Steve Christensen of Raintree Landscaping reviewed the proposal submitted by his company. He is proposing installing some cobble and gravel in earth tones from the Gunlock areas. The colors will be grays, tans and red. He will use sandstone boulders. The plants would be grouped with the rocks in an appealing manner. Irrigation will be done with a drip system; fabric would be installed under the gravel. No turf would be used.

The group discussed the types of plants, trees and rock that would be installed.
Superintendent Scott asked which areas would get shrubs and which would get gravel.

Steve Christensen indicated he is not sure; he would have different areas of shrubs.

The group discussed the timing of completing the project. Steve Christensen expected it to be complete it in 3 or 4 weeks from the start date. There may be boulders available from the project planned on Skyline Drive.

City Manager Esplin asked if the City provided the boulders would the bid be decreased.

Steve Christensen indicated if the City provides the boulders the bid could be discounted by some amount.

Matt Callister introduced David Trueblood and Cody Schmidt with David Trueblood & Associates.

David Trueblood introduced himself; he is a licensed landscape architect. He plans to construct step retaining walls which will help resolve some of the grading issues and provide some seating areas. A formal entry area is designed for the front of the building.

Council Member Gardner asked if the grass would be on sloped or level areas.

David Trueblood replied the grass would be on the more level areas.

The group discussed the color of the rock. The rock used would have to be a harder rock than the sandstone that breaks down and be a color that blends well with the City offices.

David Trueblood explained he is planning lush desert concept. The formal planting in front would be less than desert. He would use about 700 plants of various sizes in the landscape.

The group discussed the plant density and leaving space between the plants to allow for mature growth. The oleanders on the east side of the building would be removed. Additional trees would be added that would compliment the existing trees. The group discussed the time to complete the project. It would take about 40 days for design and construct. The turf would be a fescue blend with about 10% Kentucky Blue grass. All the plants would be irrigated with drip irrigation.

Jeff Norton and Kerry Gumbrecht of Sunset Pools and Landscaping LLC made a presentation to the council regarding the plan they submitted.

Kirk Gumbrecht explained the design concept makes the existing site more usable by developing 3 levels. There would be no turf grass on the site; native clump grasses may be used. This would be a modified ecological landscape.

The group discussed the plant types in the project. Drought tolerant plants with a lot of color would be used. Day lilies may be used in areas that get shade. The alternates that add to the cost of the base bid were reviewed.

Jeff Norton indicated that if rocks are available from the roadwork that will be done on Skyline, the cost could be reduced. He estimated a credit of about $20,000 if the City provides the boulders.

The number of plants included in the design was discussed. There are over 1000 trees and shrubs in the plan. The group discussed the type of trees that would be used in the plan.

Jeff Norton indicated the design can be modified, but if it is modified too much, it may not be as water efficient.

The group discussed the length of time for the plants to grow to maturity; which will be about 2 to 3 years. Some of the features of the design such as the terracing and the obelisk were discussed as well as the time to complete the project. It would take about 2 months to complete the project.

The group discussed the make up of the committee that reviewed the plans and how the committee ranked the proposals. Matt Callister, Marc Mortensen, Ren? Fleming and Lynne Scott made up the review committee.

Council Member Whatcott made a motion, seconded by Council Member Allen to go into executive session. All voted aye, motion carried.

Council Member Whatcott made a motion, seconded by Council Member Orton to reconvene the regular meeting. All voted aye, motion carried.

New Business
Proposed Sports facility in the Little Valley Area

Leisure Services Director Perkins reviewed the process in developing the design for the proposed sport fields in the Little Valley area. The proposal before the council is the least expensive of all the proposals. The basic concept is softball and playing fields. The 4 basic elements in the plan are the softball complex, field sport complex, a neighborhood park and a football field. He reviewed the different concepts within the proposed plan.

The group discussed the use of the fields. They could be used as little league fields as well as for other sport events.

Leisure Services Director Perkins explained that staff would like the complex to compliment the agricultural feel of area.

The group discussed the funding available for the project.
Leisure Services Director Perkins expressed concern regarding the number of softball and other tournaments and the conflicting schedules. These events also impact the Dixie Center. This facility will allow the City to accommodate local soccer games as well as accommodating almost any of the tournaments that want to use City facilities. The City is building all the facilities that contribute to economic development for the County. This is creating a problem with housing; there are not enough motel/hotel rooms to accommodate all those that come in for the tournaments. This facility will add more prime target events at the prime target time of year. The motel industry?s soft time is during the week and in the summer. So the department is considering building facilities that bring events to the City during those times.

The group discussed holding a summit with the hotel industry, the County and other interested entities to determine what are the best types of facilities to build to best help with the economic development.

Council Member Allen suggested indoor soccer fields as that is becoming a popular sport.

Leisure Services Director Perkins advised the County would like the City to consider a way to recognize Officer Mike Dobson through the City soccer program. He explained the guide lines for naming fields to the County.

Leisure Services Director Perkins recommended over sizing the fields and suggested a football field and fund raising for bleachers in support of tackle football.

Mayor McArthur and Council Member Allen commented the over sizing of fields was a good idea.

City Manager Esplin indicated The City of St. George has set a standard for the State with regard to quality sports fields. Whatever plan is chosen, it has to be equal to or better than the Canyon Softball complex. He also indicated the council has to make some decisions on how to handle the property with the school district and what to do with the lights located on the Little League field on 700 South.

The group discussed moving the lights to the Bloomington area improving parking and the facility. The group discussed how to fund a soccer complex and the Confluence Park. This park is located along the Virgin River below the Dixie Center. Building the proposed fields near Little Valley in phases as funding becomes available was discussed as well as what will happen to the area that wouldn?t be developed at this time.

Council Member Orton asked if more dialog on how much the City has impacted the economic development of the County is needed.

City Manager Esplin commented the fields on 700 South have to be moved, but he is not sure how much the City should fund improvements. He commented that the motel and restaurant industries haven?t offered to help fund economic development. The City hasn?t gotten much support from the County with economic development efforts.

The group discussed the amount of support the City provides to economic development in the County. Also discussed was what the City?s priorities should be for economic development.

Mayor McArthur suggested detailing all the events the City sponsors during the year and how much money it brings into the area and then scheduling a meeting with interested parities to discuss if any of the others wants to assist in the development of other facilities.

City Manager Esplin indicated the proposed park should be built because the City has the property, the funds and it will give the residents of the City another facility to use.

Leisure Services Director Perkins requested approval to continue with the design in the direction of the proposed plan.

City Manager Esplin asked the council about the offer from the school district, are council members comfortable with sum being offered.

Council Member Orton indicated he is comfortable with the offer.

Leisure Services Director Perkins asked if the proposed facility should be built to the standard of the Canyon Complex

Council Member Allen and Mayor McArthur indicated the facility should be built to that standard.

Council Member Gardner indicated he never wanted to trade the complex; he likes the location of the current facility on 700 South.

The group discussed value of the trade, which is equal to the current facility.

Leisure Services Director Perkins indicated staff will come back to the council with a phased development plan that will be built to the standard of the Canyon Complex.

Mayor McArthur commented he would like remove of some of the tamarisk at Confluence Park so the public can use the facility again.

City Manager Esplin indicated there is a new road planned to go around the Dixie Center, creating a second access. It will cost 1 to 1.5 million dollars to build. When that road is built, the tamarisk in the area Confluence Park will be removed.

Leisure Services Director Perkins advised there is an area that can be built with Park Impact Fees near St. James. The Sons of Utah Pioneers have offered to make donations for improvement of the area near the Dixie Center. A local person did a pro bono design with an estimated cost of about $1.3 million for improvements at the dinosaur park. A shelter and restrooms can be built with existing funds; however, there are no funds for an exhibit area. Staff is considering fund raising project for the exhibit hall. He asked if the council if comfortable with that approach.

City Manager Esplin explained the sources of the available funding for the dinosaur park. Funding from the Federal Government has been approved to reimburse the City costs based on an appraised value up to $500,000. The City has paid $300,000 for the purchase of the land, this cost can be reimbursed. There is $400,000 available from the State.

The council liked the idea of a design competition for the dinosaur park.

Leisure Services Director Perkins indicated future research at the dinosaur park will have to be accommodated. He reviewed how the facility will be run. A committee of 5 people may be formed to oversee the facility. It would include 2 representatives from the City and if the County contributes to the funding, a County representative will be on the committee also.

Council Member Allen made a motion to go into executive session, seconded by Council Member Whatcott. All voted aye, motion carried

Council Member Allen made a motion to reconvene the regular meeting, seconded by Council Member Whatcott. All voted aye, motion carried

New Business
Blue Bunny Concerns

City Manager Esplin advised the council that the Blue Bunny representative has approached him with concern regarding the municipal energy tax on the utility bill because Scott Hirschi did not include the amount in the numbers he provided with relation to costs associated with relocating to St. George. It adds approximately $100,000 a year to their operating costs. He indicated that he is unsure it?s fair to allow the credit without giving it to all manufacturing companies. Blue Bunny proposes to pay the tax on a diminishing scale; they are proposing to pay the full 5% up to $30,000 a year and then they pay less or none after that amount. The most any other manufacturers pay is $25,000 to $30,000 a year. It has been suggested the City use this option as in incentive for only the Ft Pierce Industrial Park.

Mayor McArthur asked if the City can make it an adjustable sliding scale so that if a company comes in and pays more than $30,000 a year, the amount Blue Bunny pays will go up.

City Manager Esplin indicated Scott Hirschi feels like the City should waive the tax for any company that relocates in the Ft Pierce Industrial Park; however, he doesn?t ?think that is fair. However, possibly setting a maximum amount paid in a year may be appropriate.

Council Member Orton asked how fair it is to other manufacturers who pay the full amount of this tax.

The group discussed whether it?s fair to cap the tax when other customers pay sales tax plus municipal energy tax. The City did not misrepresent the situation as it was Scott Hirschi that did not include the municipal energy fee in the relocation costs.

City Manager Esplin suggested giving Blue Bunny a forum with the council to present their position before making a decision.

Council Member Allen made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Council Member Gardner. All voted aye, motion carried.

The meeting adjourned at 9:30pm

Minutes recorded by:

Ren? Fleming Deputy City Recorder Date