City Council Minutes

Thursday, September 28,2006



ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
SPECIAL MEETING
SEPTEMBER 28, 2006, 4:00 P.M.
ADMINISTRATION CONFERENCE ROOM

PRESENT:
Mayor Daniel McArthur
Council Member Suzanne Allen
Council Member Gail Bunker
Council Member Larry Gardner
Council Member Bob Whatcott
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Gay Cragun

EXCUSED:
City Council Member Rod Orton

OPENING:
Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order at 4:15 and welcomed all present. The pledge of allegiance was led by Shawn Guzman and the invocation was offered by Suzanne Allen.

Mayor McArthur invited several Scouts to introduce themselves.

AGREEMENT:
Consider approval of an agreement with the Washington County Water Conservancy District for a storm drain in the fields area.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the WCWCD would like the City to partner with them in installing a storm drain in the fields area. They will pay the cost of installing up to a 48" line.

Public Works Director Larry Bulloch explained that the line will connect Little Valley Road to the project being done by Quality Development. It will not go past Little Valley Road.

MOTION: A motion was made by Council Member Gardner to approve the agreement.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Bunker.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, and all voted aye. The motion carried.

Public Works Director Larry Bulloch advised that the City is paying to upsize the pipe to 66" at a cost of $1,237,400. The City is saving $267,000 by partnering with the WCWCD.

PRESENTATION:
Presentation from Dixie Regional Medical Center.

Administrator Terri Kane, Board Chair Robert Cochran, and Operations Officer over the Physicians Division, Shawn Kohler, were present representing DRMC.

Ms. Kane explained that DRMC is building a clinic at 1743 Sunset Blvd.

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Shawn Kohler advised that the groundbreaking will be held October 19 at 10:19 a.m. He then presented a power point presentation on services to be offered at the Sunset clinic, the rendering, floor plan, and timeline.

Robert Cochran explained that DRMC has an ambitious building program for the next five years and the foundation expects to contribute substantially to the building program. Additionally, the governing board just nominated two additional members, so there will now be 13 board members.

Terri Kane distributed a site map of the River Road campus and reviewed plans for expansion. New buildings will include an outpatient pavillion, a new medical office building, and a new Jubilee home. By 2010 women and children care will be moved from the 400 East campus to the River Road campus. The 400 East campus will be used for long term care for cancer patients, an acute rehab unit, and a mental health unit. Outpatient services will be the focal point of the 400 East campus. The Jubilee
house near the 400 East campus will continue to be used for cancer patients and their families.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson commented that two more buildings are planned for the Coral Desert Medical Center complex, and he inquired if a tunnel under Foremaster Drive had been considered so that patients could go back and forth from the hospital to the medical center complex.

Ms. Kane replied that a tunnel has not been considered, but the hospital has a transfer agreement with the facility for patients to be transferred by ambulance.

Mayor McArthur inquired what the vacant land on the River Road campus will be used for.

Ms. Kane replied that it will be used for parking. She commented that two more buildings could be located near the wash, and expansion plans call for an identical patient tower to be built to the back of the property. A parking tower is also being considered. She advised that the trail would be maintained with a historical theme.

UPDATE ON FOUNDATION BUILDING NEXT TO JUBILEE HOME:
Terri Kane advised that the foundation building has been vacated and staff has met with neighbors to discuss their concerns with location of the Children?s Justice Center in the building. She advised that the hospital is interested in possibly doing something with workforce housing on this site and restrict the housing to school teachers, police officers, and health care workers. She advised that the hospital cannot hire employees from out of the area due to the lack of affordable housing. She advised that since she came to St. George in 2001, the number of hospital employees have increased from 1100 to 2200. She stated that the hospital would like to partner with the City and explore reasonable living accommodations.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the City is currently working on a plan, but the problem with the site is that more property is needed. The Children?s Justice Center is also located in the wrong place in order to make an affordable housing project work. He said that perhaps 10-12 single family units could be built, with a small park if more property to the north is obtained.

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PRESENTATION CONCERNING FLOOD PLAIN MANAGEMENT:
Presentation concerning flood plain management along the Virgin and Santa Clara Rivers.

Rick Rosenberg presented a power point presentation which was previously presented to the City Council on July 14, 2005.

Council Member Whatcott arrived at 5:07 p.m.

Mr. Rosenberg reviewed the 2005 study and advised that it was done prior to the work on the Virgin River done by the NRCS. He advised that the 2005 study has been updated to take that work into account, but there is still lots of work to be done which the NRCS will not help with. Mr. Rosenberg then presented the new project objectives, project goals, project approach, guiding principles, appropriate uses, revegetation, streambank stabilization, terrace stabilization, maintenance, and regulatory permitting. He advised that the new FEMA maps were out. A full version of the study will be done around the end of the year. Ordinance language will be presented in the next 30-60 days for regulation of the flood plain.

PUBLIC HEARING:
Public hearing to consider public comment on how the City has used its federal Community Development Block Grant funds during fiscal year 2004-2005 to carry out priorities identified in the City?s Consolidated Plan.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson explained that a report to HUD is due next week.

Anna Shingleton distributed a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report executive summary and reviewed it. The executive summary is attached hereto as Exhibit ?A?.

Mayor McArthur opened the public hearing. There being no public comment, he closed the public hearing.

Council Member Gardner inquired about the City?s down payment assistance program.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson replied that there have not been many requests, even though the amount was raised to $10,000, at zero interest, the purchase of townhomes and condos is allowed, and the amount was raised to the average selling price of homes in the County.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that a new ombudsmen program will get the word out about the program.

PRESENTATION ON PARKS IMPACT FEES:
Presentation/discussion with regard to the parks master plan/impact fees.

Jason Burningham presented a power point presentation with several options to consider for impact fees. He advised that the proposed scenarios are based on the

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City?s recent master plan. City staff has had a philosophical change in its mindset on how it looks at parks impact fees. Historically the City used them to defray costs of development of neighborhood parks and facilities - parks that are beneficial for specific areas and do not provide regional benefit. During the master planning process, it was seen that system improvements, those that have multiple benefits, were not being funded through impact fees, including recreation centers. General obligation bonds were being used to finance these improvements.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that when the park study was done, one of the goals was to have one park within half a mile radius or four acres of park for every 1,000 residents. A community park consists of 15-20 acres and has a ball field or something more structured, other than a trail system. In the past, these community parks have not been funded by impact fees.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised that the standard for a community park is six acres for every 1,000 residents. The four acre standard is for a neighborhood park.

Jason Burningham advised that the City?s present level of service is significant and not deficient and the City is providing a high level of service. There is a lack of connectivity with some of the improvements that makes them less beneficial as a system improvement, and he has tried to address some of these issues. If a developer builds an improvement that classifies as a system improvement because of its size, yet there is no connectivity, it should not necessarily qualify as a system improvement. He then presented an overview of proposed impact fees consisting of several scenarios.

Carol Sapp inquired if exactions counted toward the payment of impact fees.

Mr. Burningham replied that if they were system improvements, they would.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that use of a portion of the impact fees for neighborhood parks with amenities that are accessible to surrounding projects may be possible. If impact fees are imposed for both the land and the development, this may be a heavy burden for developers, but all options are shown for the Council?s consideration. The City?s facilities are also being used by visitors and perhaps this should be taken into account when structuring the impact fees. He inquired if the voters should be given a chance to vote on whether or not to pay for large recreation projects such as recreation centers through bonding, rather than through impact fees.

Carol Sapp inquired if facilities built by private entities would fulfill the needs of growth.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that this was exactly why he was suggesting that not all facilities be funded by impact fees. He stated he did not feel there was enough demand to warrant construction of another recreation center.



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Mr. Burningham commented that the master plan suggests that the City provide one major recreation amenity per 40,000 residents, but it could look at privatization as fulfilling some of that gap, and this should be looked at. He stated he felt strongly that community parks be paid for by impact fees, with the building of recreation centers and neighborhood parks going either way. He stated that direction was needed with regard to the best approach.

Council Member Gardner commented that if developers have to pay for the recreation amenity, they will make it exclusive to them. He stated that pocket parks provide a greater service than the Worthen Park, and it makes sense to have some leverage with the developer to make sure the amenity is for the community rather than developer-exclusive.

Jason Burningham commented that whether the cost of amenities are developer exacted or paid for by impact fees, the same bundle of assets is being paid for. Impact fees are intended to pay for system improvements. Neighborhood parks should be defined in the master plan, but as long as they meet certain requirements, they could be classified as system improvements.

Council Member Whatcott questioned the guidelines for definition of a neighborhood vs. community park and stated that a line could not be drawn in black and white.

Kent Perkins commented that the definition of a park also includes City maintenance. He stated that the definition of recreation center also included aquatic facilities, pools, etc.

Mr. Burningham commented that the definition of recreation center could also include tennis courts.

Council Member Gardner commented that a City park must be designed to be welcoming.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that this was why impact fees should be used to build a portion of a park, so that the City will have the ability to assure it is inviting and accessible.

Council Member Whatcott inquired if criteria for what a park will look like for maintenance purposes, etc. was being created.

City Manager Gary Esplin inquired if the standard for acreage was appropriate, as well as the radius standard.

Mayor McArthur stated he was comfortable with the current standard for a neighborhood park of four acres per 1,000 residents.

Jason Burningham advised that the national standard of a community park is seven to nine acres. He advised that the City has already established a level of service and should not adopt anything less than that.


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Council Member Gardner suggested that flexibility was needed with regard to the acreage requirement in the event a piece of property was irregular.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised that there is significant open space in the Ledges area, and the developer has said he would like to turn some of it over to the city for preservation as open space. There should be flexibility to allow an area to remain undeveloped so that grass does not have to be planted to consider the area as a park.

Jason Burningham commented that the master plan should be flexible but enough guidelines set so it meets the City?s needs.

Mayor McArthur commented that he liked Scenario No. 6, but debt service and some other things would have to be included.

Jason Burningham explained that the City can use the pay-as-you-go philosophy, but then the City would not have enough impact fees to defray the costs. He explained that he tried to put some debt in to level out the dips and flows of cash flows and the
timing of impact fees. It would not double from the debt service perspective, but would add some cost to any of the impact fee scenarios.

Council Member Whatcott inquired how the City could allow developers to put in a park with individual lot owners receiving a credit.

Mr. Burningham replied that if the developer wants to be the bank and accelerate it, they can fund the project and enter into an agreement with the lot owners.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the City could only give a credit for a neighborhood park, not the trails, or community park, and it becomes more complicated when a building permit is issued.

Mr. Burningham replied that if a system improvement is being installed, the developer is legally bound to provide an impact fee credit.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented that the City would have to pay the developer if a system improvement was built.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson inquired if a credit could be given for private park development, like in Sun River.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman replied that the City could not legally give a credit for a private improvement.

Carol Sapp commented that with regard to private and public recreation centers, the key is not to exclude anyone from being able to use them. The City does not have to fill the entire need of the public because some citizens prefer to use a more upscale private facility.



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City Manager Gary Eslin commented that if Scenario No. 6 is used, a percentage for recreation centers and some debt should be added in, increasing the figure to somewhere around $2,500.

Mr. Burningham commented it would be around $2,800-$3,200.

City Manager Gary Esplin inquired if staff was being too aggressive on some of the issues it was trying to fund.

Council Member Whatcott replied yes, staff was being too aggressive on acreage and population.

Council Member Gardner commented that he did not think a recreation center paid for by impact fees was needed in every neighborhood as there are other options.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that adding in all the open space property throughout the City should change the requirement for community parks.

Council Member Bunker inquired how a recent survey ranked the recreation facilities as far as usage.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins replied that trails were rated number one.

Council Member Whatcott commented that maintenance on a smaller park would be less expensive than on a larger park.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that Cox Park is four acres and has two tennis courts, sand volleyball, a gazebo, and basketball court, and should qualify as a community park, not just a neighborhood park. He suggested that perhaps acreage required for a neighborhood park should be reduced to 3.5 acres instead of four, and perhaps the population requirement should be changed to four acres per every 1,250 residents. While these may be arbitrary numbers, what is critical is the master plan and that the City have a park in each designated circle area. This may mean only a 1.5 acre park in some places, and four acre parks in other places. Another fact which needs discussing is the fact that the City is subsidizing the rest of the County with its facilities. He commented that these requirements should be revisited each year, especially if the City allows density with height, more acreage will be needed.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins commented that if something has to be shrunk, the acres required per 1000 residents for a community park is the way to go. Neighborhoods really want neighborhood parks that they don?t have to drive to and places for their kids to practice. Community parks will contribute to the traffic problems.

Jason Burningham urged caution in defining everything by acreage. He commented that he was hearing consensus that neighborhood parks may be two to four acres with a certain amount of amenities, and community parks may be four to eight acres, not described so much by acreage as by the amenities which are put in.


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Rick Rosenberg inquired if school playgrounds would come into play as they provide huge practice facilities.

Jason Burningham replied that they could be counted if they can be used. He stated that school districts across the state have been difficult to work with as they prefer the public keep off everything except their open space.

Carol Sapp urged combining uses with schools.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the City is a model in the western United States for joint use of facilities. He suggested that Scenario No. 6 might be the way to go. He inquired of the City Council if they wanted to adjust the standards for acreage and population. He was instructed to look at this, as well as debt service.

Council Member Whatcott suggested that the standards be more flexible, especially if the amenities are top notch.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the line between community and neighborhood park is blurred, and it will be a challenge to make it work.

Jason Burningham commented that the master plan is written to say that the City?s goal is have four acres per 1,000 residents for a neighborhood park. He suggested that they not get too caught up on acreage other than to set a goal of maintaining the current level of service. Changing the community parks from six to five acres will bring down the fee, as will as using a population figure of 1,200 vs. 1,000.

FEMA UPDATE:
City Manager Gary Esplin complimented Budget and Financial Planning Manager Deanna Brklacich on securing $860,000 from FEMA for dirt lost at the parks during the flood.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised that Mathis Park is being rebuilt, and staff would like to complete the Santa Clara River park system, including recontouring and reforesting the area behind the Tonaquint Nature Center. He stated staff hopes to acquire property north of Tonaquint park to triple the size of the Nature Center and trails.

MISCELLANEOUS DISCUSSIONS:
City Manager Gary Esplin advised that Dave Clark has invited the Mayor and Council to attend a community meeting in Sun River. He advised Mr. Clark that the City?s technical staff members would attend to discuss the Western Corridor.

Council Member Allen advised that the shooting park at Purgatory would like to use the City?s old leftover poles so that they can install lights.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised they needed to contact the City?s Purchasing Manager as he did not see a problem donating surplus property to a public entity.

Mayor McArthur commented that he has had a lot of complaints that the shooting range is not open to the public.

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City Manager Gary Esplin replied in that event the City would not be able to donate to an exclusive group who does not allow public access. The shooting range will then have to purchase the surplus poles.

ADJOURN:
MOTION: A motion to adjourn at 8:15 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.




__________________________________
Gay Cragun, City Recorder