City Council Minutes

Thursday, November 30,2006

NOVEMBER 30, 2006, 4:00 P.M.

Mayor Pro Tem Rod Orton
Council Member Larry Gardner
Council Member Suzanne Allen
Council Member Gail Bunker
Council Member Bob Whatcott
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Gay Cragun

Mayor Daniel McArthur

MOTION: A motion was made by Council Member Allen to appoint Council Member Rod Orton as Mayor Pro Tem.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Gardner.
VOTE: Council Members Allen, Gardner and Orton voted aye. The motion carried.

Mayor Pro Tem Orton called the meeting to order and welcomed all present. The pledge of allegiance was led by Council Member Allen and the invocation was offered by Council Member Gardner.

Authorize approval and signature on the purchase and exchange agreement with E&F Investments and the City of St. George.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that an agreement is needed with regard to property the City is acquiring in Dixie Downs for a proposed park. In exchange for that property, the City is trading to E&F Investments property located next to the Marriott behind Target. Both properties have been appraised. The agreement allows E&F to reinvest their money this year. The exchange is being made under threat of condemnation, as E&F did not want to sell their property. The property located behind Target is hillside property, but the agreement states that E&F may disturb the hillside under the previous hillside ordinance. The City is getting $1.1 million for its property and purchasing E&F?s property for $450,000.

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

Council Member Whatcott arrived.

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November 30, 2006
Page Two

Discussion with the Utah State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control regarding the location of a new State liquor store.

Dennis Kellen, Operations Manager for the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, introduced Ken Wynn, the Director, and explained that the Liquor Control Act requires consultation with the local authority when a site for a new liquor store is being established. Because of numerous complaints about the size of the present facility in St. George, the Department went to the Legislature in 2005 and asked for an appropriation to build another stores in the greater St. George area to serve as a regional store. He distributed a map of the proposed site. The location selected is 1.25 acres at the end of Tabernacle with access off Tabernacle Street. A 10,000 sq. ft. stores will be built. The current outlet in St. George is 4,000 sq. ft. There has been a 60% increase in sales the past three years. Signage will conform to City ordinances. A large sign will not be installed, and the design of the building will meet the area design. Construction will begin right away, with an opening planned for November, 2007. State liquor stores are funded by bond revenue which is paid back from the profits of the sale of liquor. The site is zoned commercial. State law says that a liquor store may not be located within 200' as the crow flies from a school.

Mayor Pro Tem Orton advised he thought the Raindancer School was located in this area and asked the applicant if he had checked on this.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that he was told Raindancer was no longer in business, but he had not verified this information.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the store will generate sales tax. The proposed location does not have access from St. George Blvd. and is probably as innocuous a place as any in the City. The Department was looking at other locations which were more high profile. Staff feels good about the site selection.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented it was his understanding that the new liquor store would not have a pole sign even though one is allowed due to the proximity of the freeway. He commented that the City Council would not be in favor of a large sign.

Mr. Kellen commented that the Department wanted to be a good neighbor. He commented that the liquor store in St. George does just under $6 million in sales a year and ranks 12th in the state out of 37 with regard to volume.

Presentation from the Dinosaur Advisory Board.

Gary Watts distributed a handout entitled ?Developmental Focus of the Discovery Site Advisory Board? and reviewed it. He commented that the Board would like the City Council to establish the direction for the site. He then presented a power point presentation on the Board?s strategic plan, recommendations, mission, and issues needing approval.

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November 30, 2006
Page Three

Gary Sanders distributed a financial recap report.

Mr. Watts asked for the capability to move the site to the next level. A full time director is needed because there are 55,000 visitors a year, but this will not be requested by the board until there is enough money to pay for one.

Discussion concerning a zoning request by the Cottam family with regard to property on River Road.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the City Council, at the last City Council meeting, directed that they would like to have a discussion on the long range master plan in this area.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson distributed a handout entitled ?Cottam Request to Amend the General Plan Land Use Map? and reviewed it. He showed slides of the site.

Mayor Pro Tem Orton commented that the entire corridor needed to be looked at before a decision was made on the Cottam request.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that no action would be taken and the item was scheduled to discuss philosophy of zoning, spacing of commercial areas, to look at the master plan, and determine if the request fits in the overall design of the corridor. The biggest question is traffic and the ability of the applicant to develop the property in the use requested.

Mr. Nicholson commented that the City?s traffic engineer recommended a right-in, right-out only for professional office use, which will make for a bad situation as most destinations will be to the north.

Council Member Whatcott commented that in addition to the commercial sites indicated on the map, there is a large commercial area planned for the east side of River Road at 1450 South.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the area around 1450 South would be a better are for commercial than the Cottam property.

Mayor Pro Tem Orton inquired if there were any other areas identified for professional office use.

Mr. Nicholson replied that the City has a pending application for a parcel on 900 South to the east of Council Member Whatcott?s office building.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the next major commercial areas will be located by the ball fields on 3000 East.

Gary Kuhlmann, representing the Cottams, explained that if the property is developed as residential there will be no traffic control which will increase the traffic impact on River Road.
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November 30, 2006
Page Four

Council Member Whatcott commented that this would speed up installation of the traffic light at St. James.

Mr. Kuhlmann explained that at the Planning Commission meeting the engineer talked about traffic lights and that platooning would occur which would open up more access onto River Road. If the site is developed as residential, this would require filling of the back of the lot resulting in a huge increase in elevation next to Eagle?s Landing. The fill would have to be stepped up in two tiers, but it would still be 16' tall. The Cottams have been sensitive to the neighborhood and are trying to find something that fits the neighborhood. They are entitled to build on their property, and they want to minimize impacts. A proposed professional office use will serve the area, cutting down on traffic. With regard to spacing of commercial areas, there is so much residential development that the corridor will never become like Sunset Blvd. Professional office use is much better than leveling the property, raising it up, and creating an increase in traffic. Office use will have a minimal traffic impact on weekends and evenings, and is a great fit between the church and commercial zone.

Council Member Whatcott commented that the homes on Cottam Bench are elevated above neighboring homes and this has never been an issue.

Mr. Kuhlmann replied that the homes to the south and west of the site said they do not like the elevation change.

Council Member Gardner commented that stepping the development lower with a tier of lots would enhance views and lessen the height impact to neighbors on the west.

Mr. Kuhlmann replied that if an elevation change is necessary, because the piece is so small, there may not be room for the network of streets.

An unidentified woman inquired how to assure that what is proposed would be built.

She was advised that a PD has to be built exactly as proposed. There would not be any restrictions on the residential development except that the homes cannot exceed 35' in height.

The unidentified woman inquired about businesses with late hours.

Council Member Gardner replied that usually professional offices do not have late hours.

The unidentified woman commented she was concerned about the right turn issue, and stated that she did not think residential use would create as much traffic as professional office use.

An unidentified man commented he did not think there would be a 16' retaining wall if the property were developed as residential as walk-out basements would probably be built. From an engineering perspective the property can be developed as residential.

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November 30, 2006
Page Five

Mr. Kuhlmann replied that there was no doubt the property can be developed as residential - the question is the 16' drop. If the Cottams develop the property as residential and do not fill the lower three acres in greenbelt, they will lose these three acres of lots which they cannot economically afford to do. If the property is

used for professional office, these three acres will be left open. The Cottams will not do anything other than what they have represented to the City Council.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the issue would be scheduled on the December 21 City Council agenda.

Council Member Whatcott commented that a professional office use would not contribute to the neighborhood, but an R-1-10 development would.

Mayor Pro Tem Orton commented that the City Council would have to see some real benefit before it changed the zone of the property from R-1-10.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the City does not want all commercial areas congregated together, and the idea of proper planning is to have neighborhood commercial areas. He said the issue was if there was already enough commercial in this area on the master plan to warrant another professional office project.

The unidentified woman commented that current residents in the immediate area of the proposed project may not be willing to change their doctor or dentist, but new residents will try to find services close to their home.

An unidentified woman commented that when she went around the neighborhood to gather signatures on a petition, many of the residents were under the impression that residents on Point Drive would be looking at a 16' wall. They were not told that the property would be tiered. Others were told that residential development of this property would be low income residential.

Discussion concerning ranking of Community Development Block Grant projects.

A hand-out entitled ?Ranking System for Eligible CDBG Projects? was distributed and reviewed.

Clayton Lucas explained that the applicants were rated based on priorities.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the City?s projects in the Dixie Downs and Middleton areas qualify for CDBG funding.

Mr. Lucas explained that those who qualify for down payment assistance cannot qualify to purchase a home in St. George because of the prices.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that if an attainable housing program is developed, then down payment assistance funds can be more readily used.

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November 30, 2006
Page Six

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that a decision must be made with regard to what to do with the applications the City now has, and the second is to identify what other cities have done with regard to attainable housing programs. Clayton Lucas has been working on this issue and has come up with the following alternatives:
(1) to do nothing; (2) to let the market work, or not; (3) to wait for the County to set up a county-wide program; (4) to develop a program centered around zone changes; (5) inclusionary zoning; or (6) to have the City get involved in the process by working with certain classifications of employers to provide housing on their own property.

Council Member Gardner expressed concern with charging developers a fee in lieu as that would be an exaction.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that it would be voluntary.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that the fee in lieu could be made mandatory, but in this event the developer would not get a density bonus.

City Manager Gary Esplin stated the goal would be to diversify as much as possible around the community.

Council Member Whatcott stated that if each proposal were considered by itself they seem extreme, but perhaps a bit of each could be used.

Council Member Gardner commented that the most immediate solution would be to offer a density transfer credit if the applicant qualifies.

Mayor Pro Tem Orton suggested that the pending zone change applicant be taken care of first.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained with regard to the pending application in the Bloomington area, the sewer line is not necessary to the project. The City would have to negotiate for the right-of-way if the property were developed as R-1-10. The applicant is willing to donate the right-of-way, and build a park to City standards. They proposed to increase the density by 25-30 units and provide 10-12 lots for attainable housing. The applicant is also willing to build a trail on top of the sewer easement. They propose that the 12 attainable housing homes be sold at $175,000 each, finished cost, and then put in the City?s control through the Housing Authority. The Housing Authority would qualify the purchasers, and the City would hold control of the homes for a certain amount of time, and at the end of that time, the purchaser would then own the home. If not, the home would go back into the pool. The City will be able to set the criteria and quality of the attainable housing homes. The outside of the homes will look just like the others, but the inside of the homes, while nice, will not have granite countertops, etc.

Darrell Hafen inquired if it would be possible for the City to partner with the LDS Church to develop attainable housing in the New Harmony area.

He was advised that this would not be possible as it was outside City limits.

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November 30, 2006
Page Seven

Rick Rosenberg recommended that timing would have to considered and he suggested that the applicant be required to build a certain percentage of attainable housing homes as he develops.

Carol Sapp urged caution in moving forward. She advised that she has been seriously researching programs that work well, and has not found any.

Mayor Pro Tem Orton commented that the City must try something.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson clarified that the recommended program is based on voluntary inclusionary zoning and is incentive based. Another report will be presented to the City Council next month on what staff has found with the pros and cons.

An unidentified man commented that Latinos cannot afford the available housing.

Council Member Bunker commented that it was not just Latinos who cannot afford housing, but everyone.

Scott Hirschi suggested that incentives be used rather than additional regulation.

Council Member Whatcott commented that it was time to do something and that there were many options available and not just one will solve the problem. Whatever option is used must be economically feasible for the construction industry.

Mayor Pro Tem Orton commented he hoped other Washington County cities recognize what St. George is doing and would participate.

Rick Rosenberg urged caution in making sure enough feasibility work is done up front with regard to the final price of the attainable housing homes in the project proposed in Bloomington so that this does not have to be enforced on the back end. He stated that this applicant would have issues with the site.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented he would come up with a development agreement that would work with this project and future projects.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson suggested a group be formed to put details of the program together and come back with an incentive-based program.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the City could not continue with the current master plan and zoning and deal with attainable housing. The issue boils down to density, and density is design. He stated that current City ordinances would need to be changed to implement a program.

Mr. Nicholson replied that the City Council can set the conditions for any zone change request to PD.

Mayor Pro Tem Orton suggested that each application for an increase in density will have to be looked at individually.

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November 30, 2006
Page Eight

City Attorney Shawn Guzman replied that a policy and purpose statement will have to be developed in order to be fair.

Council Member Whatcott commented that the vast majority of future zone change requests will be for more density, as most properties left to develop are either zoned AG, Open Space or Mining and Grazing.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that there are only a few major areas left to develop - Little Valley, the South Block, the Ledges and Trails area, and the Lakes and area in the Tonaquint Valley. Each one will require zone changes of some form to fully develop.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that exactions can also be required as part of annexation.

City Manager Gary Esplin stated he hope the policy would not require a zone change if an applicant was willing to develop as R-1-10 and voluntarily put in a certain percentage of attainable housing.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson advised that the City already has lot size averaging.

Scott Hirschi suggested that the new name for affordable housing be ?hero housing.?

City Manager Gary Esplin stated that when a zone change application is received, it will be reviewed to see if it makes sense to require attainable housing and thus a development agreement. It may not make sense. Staff needs to do a better job in obtaining the actual number of increased units. Each application will be considered on its own merits.

Council Member Gardner emphasized that it was easy to make decisions, but implementation was the challenge. How to implement a plan needed to be decided before the City started demanding it.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that this would be worked out between City staff and Brenda Butler of the Housing Authority. He stated that alternatives would be brought back to the City Council for their consideration in 60 days.

The meeting then adjourned.

Gay Cragun, City Recorder