City Council Minutes

Thursday, February 23,2006



ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
WORK MEETING
FEBRUARY 23, 2006, 4:00 P.M.
ADMINISTRATION CONFERENCE ROOM

PRESENT:
Mayor Daniel McArthur
Council Member Rod Orton
Council Member Gail Bunker
Council Member Suzanne Allen
Council Member Larry Gardner
Council Member Bob Whatcott
City Manager Gary Esplin
Deputy City Attorney Paula Houston
City Recorder Gay Cragun

OPENING:
Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order and welcomed all present. The pledge of allegiance was led by Larry Gardner and the invocation was offered by Rod Orton.

SUN RIVER PD ISSUES:
Council Member Whatcott explained that staff and Sun River have been talking for three to four years about a site for a fire station, and in the meantime land prices have tripled. The City is now to a definitive point where the site needs to be selected.

Council Member Gardner commented that the Sun River developers do not control the SITLA property selected for the site.

Council Member Whatcott commented that the developer must take some responsibility for the fire station site. The City is not expecting a donation of the site, but it has now been moved off the developer?s property and the City must now negotiate with SITLA.

Fire Chief Robert Stoker commented that locations for fire stations are determined by the ISO rating. If a site is obtained in the Sun River area, the station could be built within two years.

City Manger Gary Esplin advised that fire stations are built with impact fees, but the question is staffing. The station may have to be manned with full-time firefighters. He inquired if approval of Sun River projects should continue to be made, or if approval should be subject to SITLA making a piece of property available for the fire station site, as Sun River is creating the need for the fire station.

Gary Woods, representing SITLA, commented that three sites have been suggested within the last three months. Once a site is identified, SITLA is prepared to move into transaction discussions immediately.

Darcy Stewart, representing Sun River, commented that he has had eight meetings with Fire Department staff within the last year, and he still did not know where the preferred site was and has not had any input from City staff.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that this issue is not a new one and has been discussed with Sun River since day one. When Mr. Stewart says he has not had input from staff, that input has been that the site was either too costly or not in an appropriate location. The fire station has been negotiated for years, and the City has not been offered any site which has been acceptable. The City has been pushed off of Sun River property and now must deal with SITLA who will sell the property at appraised value which could be $500,000 an acre. There is no other acceptable site on Sun River property except on the commercial piece which is not being offered.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson suggested that the fire station should be located on Sun River?s proposed commercial property as Sun River has 200 acres of potential commercial property.

Chief Stoker commented that the fire station had to be located by Sun River Parkway.

City Manager Gary Esplin summarized that there were only three sites that could be acceptable - Site 3, Site 4, or Sun River?s commercial property.

Darcy Stewart advised that he would excavate Site 4 as long as it could be done while working in the vicinity.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that selection of a site would be based on feasibility, and staff would have a proposal for the City Council at the next City Council meeting. Mr. Esplin advised that another issue needing discussion is City requirements for trails and parks in the Sun River development. The City?s Master Plan indicates there should be at least 4.5 acres of park property per 1000 residents with interconnecting trails.

Mayor McArthur inquired if the City could take into consideration the amenities Sun River has provided for its residents.

Mr. Esplin replied that the master plan requires public amenities, and Sun River has a private community center. Sun River is also supposed to be providing open space. Impact fees have been collected for this purpose. It has always been the City?s intention to have Sun River connected to the City?s trail system. He inquired of Mr. Stewart if he was planning for connection to the City?s trails and where this would take place.

Mr. Stewart advised that when built out, Sun River will have 2,250 units.

Mr. Esplin advised that if Sun River has 4,000 residents, 15 to 16 acres of open public space is needed for parks and trail connections.

Mr. Stewart replied that by putting in common areas, parks, and a community center for its residents, he thought Sun River was meeting these requirements. He stated he had discussions with the City to see if they were willing to participate in the parks, but was told no because the parks were located on private streets. He stated he now has 25 acres in open space and has met the requirements for 4,400 residents. He stated that Kent Perkins indicates that trails will be coming down the Virgin River

which can connect to Sun River. He inquired if the City would consider putting a park at the end of Sun River Parkway on property which Sun River would donate.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins suggested that the City could build the trail to Sun River as proposed, but there would be a risk of losing the trail and a portion of the park due to flooding.

Mr. Stewart advised that he is the President of the Sun River Homeowners
Association and was asked to request that the City widen the trail from Sun River through the residential area of Bloomington so that residents of Sun River could ride their golf carts along the trail.

Mr. Esplin replied that this would not be possible due to the width of the trail.

Mayor McArthur advised that the City?s trails are not for motorized vehicles.

Mr. Stewart advised that Sun River residents would also like to request that the fire station be used as a police satellite site and also a paramedic satellite site.

Fire Marshall Kevin Taylor advised that all fire stations are designed for use by the police.

Mayor McArthur inquired about timing for the trail project.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins replied that there was no funding.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that a discussion needed to be held concerning prioritization of use of impact fees, master park planning, and other funding issues.

Darcy Stewart advised that he would donate everything at the end of Sun River Parkway needed for the park.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised that this was river property.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that selection of a fire station site would be scheduled on the next City Council agenda.

Council Member Whatcott advised that until a definitive location for the fire station site had been selected, no further Sun River plats would be approved.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised that he would have legal descriptions prepared for the rights-of-way for trails and park sites already decided upon.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson advised that zoning in the Sun River area has not been resolved, and the property in question for use as a fire station site is not currently zoned commercial.

Water Services Director Barry Barnum advised that in order for development to proceed in Sun River, another pressure zone has to be established. He requested that Sun River help install the PRVs. There are currently 1,300 homes being served off one line. He proposed to simulate a loop system with construction of a water tank on the east side of the freeway. This tank would alleviate any capacity problems and would act as another feed if anything happened to the main feed in the area.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the water tank would also serve future development on the east side of the freeway.

Mr. Barnum suggested construction of a three to five million gallon tank.

Gary Woods suggested the City identify the site for the water tank and contact SITLA to negotiate it.

Mr. Barnum advised that the new tank could be located by the private tank owned by the Bloomington Irrigation Company.

DISCUSSION RE SNOW CANYON PARKWAY ACCESSES:
Public Works Director Larry Bulloch explained that the purpose of the Snow Canyon corridor study is to if signalization can be pared down and to maintain a balance between keeping traffic flowing and getting traffic on and off the corridor. The number and location of signals needs to be identified.

Council Member Orton inquired why this study wasn?t done while Snow Canyon Parkway was torn up instead of now when the road has been completed and is operable.

Mr. Bulloch replied that it was not too late.

Council Member Orton commented that turn lanes are proposed, and the road will now have to be torn up, just when it was completed.

Mr. Bulloch replied that the project on Snow Canyon which was just completed was an emergency project, and is not the main design.

Council Member Gardner commented that the City has a tendency to throw money away on studies when it should just do the job. He inquired if staff did not know enough about the situation so that they could quickly determine where stop lights were needed instead of spending money on another study.

Mr. Bulloch replied that there were questions as to how many turn lanes were needed.

Council Member Whatcott inquired of Mr. Bulloch why these turn lanes and signals had not been planned before now.

Mr. Bulloch replied that staff was given direction to focus its energy on construction of projects and has done 20 major projects in the last few years. Staff is now focusing on operations. It is not too late and the City has the opportunity to acquire rights-of-way, and there is still 80-150' of space in which to make adjustments.

City Engineer Dave Demas explained that the study will determine how to optimize use of the corridor and avoid signals that may crop up because of warrant studies. The master plan has changed and the location of signals has changed because of densities. The overall corridor has been a good job and while most corridors have 20 to 30 accesses per mile, there are only 15 accesses in three miles on the Parkway.

Council Member Gardner expressed frustration that the City has demanded traffic studies from developers which are thereafter pigeonholed because staff wants something done a particular way regardless of what the study says. He inquired why the City should pay for another study when it knows what has to happen on the Parkway.

Mr. Bulloch replied that the answers were not obvious and the Parkway needs to be thoroughly analyzed.

Council Member Orton requested that in the future all improvements be made to a roadway while it is torn up, as it does not make sense to tear up a road that has just been completed.

Council Member Gardner inquired of Mr. Bulloch if the numerous traffic studies done for developments along Snow Parkway did not provide him with the information he needed to know.

Mr. Bulloch replied that the corridor study will tie all the information together.

Assistant City Engineer Jay Sandberg commented that many deceleration lanes have already been installed as well as conduit for future traffic signals. The Parkway will not be torn up. As far as intersection problems with Dixie Downs and 2000 North, Dixie Downs ties too close into 2000 North for an intersection.

Mayor McArthur inquired when radar speed signs would be installed on Mall Drive.

City Engineer Dave Demas replied that there is a four to six week order time and installation would be handled in-house. They should be in place within two months.

Mayor McArthur inquired if the traffic center located in the City Office was functional, and instructed staff to make sure it was manned at 8:00 a.m. due to problems on Bluff at the intersection with Black Hills Drive.

Council Member Allen advised that there is also a major problem on Main Street with cars turning left to go to the High School. She suggested a left turn arrow.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the City would have to do a warrant study.

City Engineer Dave Demas advised that a warrant study is required by State law.

A brief discussion was held on the South Bluff interchange intersections.

DISCUSSION CONCERNING THE RENTAL ORDINANCE AND IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS:
Encroachment Officer Brad Young distributed a handout and reviewed it with those present.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman arrived.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that if the proposed plan is implemented, additional staff will have to be hired.

Finance Director Phil Peterson advised that additional help will also have to be hired to assist the Business License Officer.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested implementing the program one step at a time. He recommended that the fee schedule be adopted at the next City Council meeting and additional help authorized.

DISCUSSION CONCERNING MASTER PLAN UPDATE PHILOSOPHY:
Community Development Director Bob Nicholson distributed a hand-out.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that he recently met with Joe Alfandre and Jeff Winston on the City?s master plan update, and two alternatives have been suggested. The first is adoption of an ex-ordinance, similar to a pending ordinance doctrine, where the City Council would be given flexibility to go beyond the ordinance on a case by case basis.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that the zones to which the ex-ordinance would apply would have to be narrowed down.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the ex-ordinance is being used in Colorado, but its use in Utah would have to comply with state law. This would also give the City time to redo its ordinances. The other proposal is to institute another step in the approval process. First would be a conceptual zoning approval which would allow entitlements to be given at the conceptual level; then schematic approval; then preliminary plat approval; and then final plat approval. This allows for the opportunity for more control and input into large projects.

Council Member Orton commented that no matter what the City did, it had to address work force and attainable housing on every level.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that Master Plan amendments would be required.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman suggested that the six month time period be strictly adhered to.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the City would not be denying anyone the right to develop and would consider each application on its merits.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that the City would still retain its right to deny a project if it felt it did not fit in the neighborhood.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that design guidelines would need to be adopted separately from the ordinance.

Council Member Whatcott commented that a spec book should also be adopted.

City Manager Gary Esplin recommended against awarding density bonuses, and inquired why the City should award them in exchange for a developer doing the basic, bare minimum improvements. If a density bonus is given, the City should realize some benefit, such as attainable housing. The City is trying to create neighborhoods, with a mixture of people, income levels, etc.

Assistant City Engineer Jay Sandberg advised that staff has been telling developers the City no longer wants private streets.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained the reason developers want private streets is because narrower streets are a cost factor, and because of the setbacks. The City is saying that it no longer cares about setbacks or density if the project is well designed. He stated that the City?s ordinances needed to be changed to provide more flexibility. He stated that discussion was needed on master planning for parks and the impact fee philosophy. In the past the City has done bigger ticket items with bond funds. The issue now is how to address park impact fee funding of trails, major facilities, etc. A study is now being done. The City is not charging what it could charge with regard to facilities, but there is a philosophy that perhaps this should be a development standard and not an impact fee standard. This item will be brought back for discussion.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised that a three page survey on recreational needs will be sent out to every resident next week.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that staff would push forward with review of the Master Plan and solidify an attainable housing element

Finance Director Phil Peterson advised that the City now offers the opportunity to pay utility bills on line with a credit card for a small fee charged by the credit card company. A draft can be made against the credit card on a regular basis at no charge.

ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION:
MOTION: A motion was made by Council Member Gardner to adjourn to an executive session to discuss potential litigation.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Orton.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a roll call vote, as follows:

Council Member Gardner - aye
Council Member Orton - aye
Council Member Allen - aye
Council Member Bunker - aye
Council Member Whatcott - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

RECONVENE:
MOTION: A motion to reconvene was made by Council Member Whatcott.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Allen.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, and all voted aye. The motion carried.


DISCUSSION RE SUNBOWL:
City Manager Gary Esplin suggested that wood poles be put up at the Sunbowl and the lights reinstalled before the July 4 celebration. The poles can be reused, and the lights are the same ones that were taken down. The only cost will be staff time. The Lions Club would like to put their money into refurbishing the restrooms. After discussion, it was the consensus of a majority of the City Council to reinstall the lights. Council Member Whatcott disagreed.

GOLF RATES:
Council Member Whatcott pointed out a few discrepancies and things which had been overlooked in the new golf rates and recommended that they be tweaked.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:
City Attorney Shawn Guzman updated the Mayor and City Council on bills of interest to the City which are pending in the legislature.

The meeting then adjourned.



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Gay Cragun, City Recorder