City Council Minutes

Thursday, August 26,2004

AUGUST 26, 2004, 4:00 P.M.

Mayor Daniel McArthur
Council Member Rod Orton
Council Member Bob Whatcott
Council Member Gail Bunker
Council Member Suzanne Allen
City Recorder Gay Cragun

Council Member Larry Gardner
City Manager Gary Esplin

Trent Staheli, Washington City Council Member
Mike Heaton, Washington City Council Member

Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order and welcomed all present. He introduced Trent Staheli and Mike Heaton, Washington City Council Members. The pledge of allegiance was led by Larry Bulloch, and the invocation was offered by Pastor Adam Hendron of the Red Cliffs Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Mayor McArthur briefly outlined a history of the replacement airport project.

Public Works Director Larry Bulloch explained that the City is starting over on the EIS process which provides an opportunity to work through concerns and issues surrounding communities have had with regard to the project. The meeting held today is part of the EIS statement process to enable property owners, communities, and all stakeholders to have free and open access to the issues and provide input which will result in a win-win for everyone. He then introduced Mark Johnson, Landrum & Brown, manager of the planning process, and Sheila Thomas, Landrum & Brown, who will be doing the day-to-day hands-on planning.

Mark Johnson, Landrum & Brown, then began a Power Point presentation.

Mr. Johnson explained the three broad objectives of the Plan:
(1) To provide for long-term protection of the airport
(2) To provide for long-term protection of current and future residents from adverse airport impacts
(3) To capitalize on airport-related opportunities for economic development

Mr. Johnson displayed a map of the planning study area and advised that there were still details to finalize on the study area.

Mr. Johnson explained the three anticipated final products from the process:
(1) A land use plan for airport vicinity that all four jurisdictions agree on
(2) Zoning ordinances to implement the plan
(3) Means of ensuring long-term coordination and cooperation on planning and zoning among the four jurisdictions.

Mr. Johnson explained the planning process would include local coordination and consultation among City Councils, County Commissions, the Planning Task Force, local property owners, and the general public. Steps in the process will include a project kick-off, joint City Council meetings, preparation of working papers for the Task Force and City Councils to review, establishment of planning criteria, Task Force meetings, looking at conceptual development alternatives at the airport site, selection of a preferred development concept, creation of a preliminary land use plan, a draft plan, more meetings with the Task Force and property owners, joint meetings with City Councils to review and revise the draft plan, development of draft ordinances needed to implement the plan, development of an official draft plan and intergovernmental agreement, coordination meetings with each city council, public hearings, and then adoption of the plan ordinance and agreements.

Mr. Johnson explained that elements of the AVLUP will include noise compatibility, safety compatibility, airspace protection, urban development/land use plan designations, urban design criteria, and intergovernmental coordination.

Mr. Johnson advised it was anticipated that a public information meeting on concepts would be held mid-November. The draft land use plan would be available by early 2005. The draft of intergovernmental coordination mechanism would be available mid 2005, and public hearings on the plan and ordinances would be held late 2005. He emphasized, however, that this effort will be process driven, not calendar driven. The planning process will have a separate time line from the EIS process, and it is hoped that the EIS documents will be available for public hearings before the land use plan.

Mr. Johnson explained that the next steps include appointing members to the Planning Task Force, with their first meeting held in September. Goals and objectives should be defined, planning criteria considered, and alternative plans and development scenarios studied.

Mayor McArthur inquired of Mr. Johnson if discussions had been held with Mohave County.

Mr. Johnson replied that he met with Mohave County staff once to gather data and explain to them what St. George?s interests were in developing a land use plan. They expressed interest in participating, while acknowledging that they have no development interests whatsoever right now. They expressed interest in appointing one of their staff members to participate in the process, recognizing that the airport is an important development action for the entire area.

Sheila Thomas distributed an outline that will be used to guide the discussion when the goals and objectives meeting is held in September.

Mayor McArthur commented that in his opinion the overriding concern is protection of the airport site and land use which is compatible with the airport.

Mike Heaton, Washington City Council Member, commented that the citizens of Washington City are concerned about development of the airport and how it will affect them. They do not want to see their city end up like the north end of the Salt Lake airport. Washington City will end up with some bad things because of the airport, such as noise, an overfly zone, etc., but if it can share in the good parts, this may overshadow the bad things. Working jointly on planning and zoning is a good idea, and protection of the airport site is also important. He commented that Washington City would like to share in the economic end of the project, and apologized that it had not been more involved in the development to date.

Sheila Thomas commented that the process should ensure a balanced level of development for both cities.

Council Member Whatcott commented that it would be easy to ensure a balanced level of development when both parties come to the table to help with expenses, but to date St. George has shouldered the expenses.

Trent Staheli, Washington City Council Member, commented that he would like more public hearings thereby providing more opportunity for feedback.

Sheila Thomas commented that it would also be helpful to make drafts available by mail and solicit comments through the mail and e-mail. An active mailing list can be obtained after the first meeting, and copies of all documents can be mailed to interested parties.

Council Member Allen expressed concern that the process could be drawn out.

Ms. Thomas replied that a process that makes every effort to include public feedback, and then gets that feedback to the public, should not delay the process. It is when the final meeting is held and the public?s comments have not been addressed that the process is then delayed.

Council Member Allen inquired if the advisory committee would be recommending land uses.

Mr. Johnson replied that they would, and would take the project to the point of a draft plan. At that point joint city council meetings will be held to review the draft plan.

Council Member Allen commented she would hate to see the project taken to the point of the final public hearing and have the city councils not agree on it.

Mr. Johnson replied that it was hoped that when the city councils receive the draft plan, they will take an active part in making adjustments to the plan. He explained that the idea of additional public involvement is to try and strike a balance in the process of economizing on the City?s budget while at the same time getting as much value as possible from the planning process. Joint city council meetings are open to the public and it is hoped that the public involvement process will be taken care of at the joint council meetings. A web site for the EIS process will be established and actively used for the land use plan.

City Council Members from both cities commented they would prefer to receive executive summaries by e-mail.

Council Member Bunker inquired how close the project is to the south block.

Mr. Johnson replied that it is close, but there is not much effect to the south block. In the study area most of the concerns will be about height protection issues. In talking with SITLA consultants, there are not a lot of land use concerns. The land use plan will be cognizant of what both cities are doing in land use planning.

Sheila Thomas commented that some of the issues to be studied include existing land use restrictions, densities, identifying areas of adjacency issues, traffic related issues for commercial areas, and corridor protection. Options for access will not be precluded, and studies looking at existing land use designation and topography will be taken into consideration. Ms. Thomas explained that new development could be developed as if it were a community in and of itself and functionally stand alone, or as commercial and industrial areas adjunct to the two cities which border it. She stated she was tentatively considering doing a model of each so that the two cities could evaluate which would best serve its needs.

Public Works Director Larry Bulloch advised that he would provide the South Block Charrette documents to Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Johnson explained that with regard to the EIS, they are now focusing on noise within a large study area. The noise analysis is 40% complete. Other components of the EIS will include a cultural resources analysis and a biological resource analysis.

Council Member Allen inquired if there is currently a noise problem in Zion National Park because of the City?s airport.

Mr. Johnson replied that while the analysis has not been completed, thus far there is no problem with noise from St. George?s airport.

Mayor McArthur commented that the current flight path for the St. George airport is over more of Washington City than the flight path for the new airport will be.

Mr. Johnson commented that while he agreed with Mayor McArthur?s assessment, the issue will be specifically studied. The areas which will get the most noise are areas planned for future development.

Trent Staheli, Washington City Council, suggested that Mike Heaton represent the Washington City Council on the Task Force.

Mike Heaton, Washington City Council, inquired how Washington City would go about protecting properties within the airport influence zone.

Mr. Johnson replied that he would work with Washington City on what needs to be done to implement the plan. This will involve adoption of amendments to Washington City?s zoning ordinance, policies and rules, and probably some zoning map changes.

Dave Ulane, Airport Manager, explained the City has 3.1 million in grant funds which it is trying to put to good use by having land appraisals updated, title maps and property owner information updated. The City has acquired three parcels of property for the airport, but land acquisition costs are expected to total $10-15 million.

Public Works Director Larry Bulloch distributed a hand-out explaining the City?s current position with regard to its redevelopment plan for the old airport site.

The meeting then adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

Gay Cragun, City Recorder