City Council Minutes

Thursday, October 28,2004

City of St. George Council Meeting
Work Meeting
October 28, 2004
Administrative Conference Room

Mayor Daniel McArthur
Council Member Gardner
Council Member Whatcott
Council Member Orton
Council Member Bunker
Council Member Allen
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
Deputy City Recorder Ren? Fleming

Mayor McArthur led the Pledge of Allegiance; Council Member Gardner offered the invocation.

Dave Stratford and Rachel Stratford, Segway dealers for the St. George area addressed the council.

David Stratford indicated the company currently conducts tours through Snow Canyon State Park. They would like to offer a Segway tour of the historic section of the City. He indicated Chief Stratton and Deputy Chief Peck support the concept. He indicated he would like an ordinance adopted that allows Segways to be used on the sidewalks and other paths.

Council Member Orton expressed concern about the use of Segways on bike trails due to other motorized vehicles that would also want to use the paths.

Rachel Stratford indicated it is very unlikely other companies would use the Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device (EPAMD) technology used in Segways. By using that terminology in the ordinance definition the door wouldn?t be opened to other motorized vehicles such as golf carts being used on the bike paths. She distributed information on the Segway. She indicated 47 states have passed legislation regarding EPAMD use.

Council Member Orton asked Chief Stratton about his support.

Chief Stratton commented the City needs to take into consideration what other vehicles may want to be used on the paths and trails if Segways are allowed.

Council Member Gardner commented this issue should be pursued to see if it can work. He suggested the Stratford?s work with the City Attorney to see if an ordinance can be drafted.

Mayor McArthur commented the council will discuss this issue further and make a decision after staff has had a chance to gather more information.

City Manager Esplin introduced the issue which has to do updating some of the City rental policies; staff needs direction from council regarding the direction to take in drafting a rental ordinance. He expressed concern regarding some neighborhoods in which the homeowners take very good care of property and other properties, often rentals, are not well maintained. He asked if the council recommends staff include items such as restrictions on the up keep of the properties and/or registering and imposing a fee on rental properties in the ordinance. The registration fee would be applied to zoning enforcement costs and complaint investigations.

City Attorney Guzman recommended drafting an ordinance skewed towards making sure rentals are livable. He reviewed some subsections of sample ordinances which are broken down specifics concerning rooms, hot water, water flow, appliance requirements, doors, heating, cooling etc.

The group discussed issues such as safety, security, repairs and property maintenance.

Council Member Allen expressed concern regarding electrical repairs when contractors are asked to make a single repair which doesn?t bring the entire home/building up to code. Because of liability issues contractors will not make a repair when the entire building is not brought up to code.

Mayor McArthur commented some cities charge a fee to rentals for police services because of amount of calls to apartments.

City Manager Esplin indicated West Valley City has created a fee in the business licensing process because of the additional police calls to apartment buildings. The issue regarding the fee under consideration by staff has to do with how to enforce a rental ordinance.

Jason Griffith with NAI commented he hasn?t seen rental ordinances in other communities and indicated these types of issues are resolved in the lease agreement.

David Houser stated he has been a land lord for 30 years. He discussed an ordinance he is aware of in Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County. The housing authority is responsible for enforcing those ordinances.

Mayor McArthur explained the issues for the City concern the residential side more than the commercial side of rental properties.

Mr. Houser commented the basic things like fire devices, no broken windows, items that keep the property from being substandard are a good thing to include in an ordinance.

Chief Stoker commented inspections of hotels downtown often find a lot of smoke detectors are broken or gone. He explained the Fire Department gets a lot of calls from renters regarding these types of issues. He commented it would be nice to have a way to enforce the code.

Council Member Gardner commented Gloria Shakespeare has done a lot of work in getting model ordinances assembled.

Council Member Bunker asked what right does the City have to tell a homeowner what they can do with a home they are renting. A person may want to rent at a lower price because they are not offering all the amenities of another property. She explained with regard to safety the code should be enforced; however with regard to aesthetics; regulation may be taking a personal property right away.

There was discussion concerning the rights of the property owner and rights of the neighbors. The group discussed the difference with regard to rentals being a business rather than an owner/occupied home. The right of the neighbors to have a clean safe neighborhood was discussed.

Chief Stoker commented the home on Diagonal that was recently demolished is an example of the difficulty involved in resolving safety issues. In the several years it took to resolve the issue there were three or four fires and a fatality. He commented that it would be helpful to be able to inspect a property with due notice.

Community Development Director Nicholson suggested the ordinance may be able to help deal with issues of hotels that want to become long term rental properties.

Mayor McArthur commented that based on the discussion the council would like to see a draft of an ordinance that sets minimum standards for health and safety along with some verbiage about renting being a commercial venture.

The group discussed subjects to be addressed in the ordinance such as a licensing requirement with a fee that will apply to the costs of enforcing the ordinance.

There was discussion regarding a person that owns more than one home, will that person pay for a business licenses and if an apartment complex requires a business license.

The group discussed a fee based on the number of units rented, escalating with the number of homes or units being leased.

There was discussion as to which department or staff member would take responsibility for enforcement of a rental ordinance.

City Attorney Guzman indicated he has enough information as to the direction to pursue in a proposed ordinance and Community Development will develop an estimate as to how many staff members would be needed to inspect and enforce violations.

Council Member Allen suggested staff contact the City of Tempe AZ for information on how their rental ordinance is implemented.

City Manager Esplin asked if the council wanted a minimum standard for appearance.

Council Member Orton asked if there is a minimum standard in owner/occupied homes.

City Manager Esplin commented the council will have to deal with the issue of minimum standards for owner/occupied homes if a minimum standard is set for rentals.

Mr. Griffith encouraged the council to involve area property managers as they may be a valuable asset of information.

Council Member Whatcott commented that the number of occupants in rental units has not been addressed.

The group discussed the issue and whether it is being enforced. The group discussed the number of code enforcement officers needed to enforce some of those types of issues and requiring registration without a fee as a way of knowing what is going on with rental properties.

City Attorney Guzman asked if the council wants to make a differentiation between owner/occupied homes with an apartment.

Mayor McArthur indicated owner/occupied homes with an apartment should have an exemption as the property owners are able to keep an eye on the rental unit.

City Manager Esplin indicated Community Development Director Nicholson has raised a question that should come before the council regarding the Millcreek Industrial Park.

Community Development Director Nicholson explained David Houser is a property owner in Millcreek Industrial Park. He distributed a letter describing what Mr. Houser would like to do with a vacant unit. He commented he doesn?t have a problem with this type of business in the park, but wanted to come to the council for a decision.

City Manager Esplin indicated there have been problems in the park; however, the majority of activities in the businesses meet the zoning requirements. There is some incidental retail involved with Mr. Houser?s request, but other businesses have incidental retail.

The group discussed the proposed location of the business which is in the vacant building that was a furniture store located near The Boulevard Furnishings store.

Mr. Houser indicated the ordinance requires a non-see through fence; however, other businesses in the park have a chain link fence. White Cap, the proposed renter, has requested a secure fence, chain link is the best type of fencing and it will match the existing fencing.

There was brief discussion regarding the fencing.

Chief Stratton indicated the emergency operation plan has recently been updated. The FTE has been working in on this response plan for the last 3 months. Sergeant Carlton has attended a lot of homeland security and bomb training sessions. There will be a mock exercise on Saturday morning.

The group discussed how the Mayor and council will be notified in the event of an emergency. The emergency operation center will contact the appropriate City and County staff depending on the type of emergency.

Sergeant Carlton presented a Power Point presentation regarding the plan.

City Manager Esplin commented that the City has spent a significant amount of money for training so that in the event of an emergency the City can respond effectively and professionally.

Chief Stoker indicated the Fire Department applies for and receives many grants for training.

There was discussion concerning where the funds from the grants come from. Much of the fund is from the Home Land Security department.

Council Member Whatcott made a motion seconded by Council Member Allen to move into executive session.

All voted aye motion carried.

Council Member Gardner made a motion seconded by Council Member Allen to reconvene and adjourn the work meeting.

All voted aye motion carried.

Minutes recorded by:

Ren? Fleming Deputy City Recorder Date