City Council Minutes

Thursday, February 22,2007

FEBRUARY 22, 2007, 4:00 P.M.

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

Council Member Suzanne Allen

Present at the site visit to look at a proposed site for the Washington County Water Conservancy District?s new office building were Mayor Daniel McArthur, City Council Members Rod Orton, Larry Gardner and Gail Bunker, City Manager Gary Esplin, Ron Thompson, Barbara Hjelle, Kim Campbell and Ed Bowler.

Mayor McArthur welcomed all present. The pledge of allegiance was led by a Scout from the audience and the invocation was offered by Pastor Dean Heuring. Mayor McArthur then invited a Scout to introduce himself.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that this annexation had previously been approved, but then a disagreement on conditions required as part of the annexation came to light and the annexation was abandoned.

Russ Gallian, representing the Burgess family, displayed a map of the Burgess property. Mr. Burgess would like to annex his entire parcel but if he does he would create a peninsula because the adjacent property owner, Orwin Gubler, does not want to be annexed. Mr. Burgess would like to annex a portion now and if in the future he wants to develop but Mr. Gubler still does not want to annex, the Burgess property would be allowed to develop as long as all fees associated with development are paid.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that previously there were issues with dedication of the road. The City can accommodate the accesses requested by Mr. Burgess, but the issue is service outside the City. Mr. Burgess will have to sign a development agreement that as soon as his property is developed, he will pay the impact fee and all costs and extend Plantations Drive to City standards. Mr. Burgess will have to pay fees equal to the City?s property tax for fire, police, etc. or it would not be fair to the rest of the citizens receiving and paying for City services.

Mr. Gallian replied that Mr. Burgess would be happy to do this if it can legally be done.

St. George City Council Minutes
February 22, 2007
Page Two

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson advised that this could be done through a special services district.

Mr. Esplin replied that it could be done through some sort of agreement. He stated his concern was providing services outside the City and not receiving reimbursement to provide these services.

It was the consensus of the City Council to proceed.

Present for this discussion were Planning Commission Members Gil Almquist, Julie Hullinger, Ron Bracken, and Kim Campbell.

City Manager Gary Esplin clarified that property value would be set by appraisal or MLS throughout the entire community as a whole, and not per area. This figure would be adjusted every year. If a property owner did not agree with the value, he or she would have the right to appeal the value to the City Council.

Ron Bracken commented he felt there was a fairness issue with the proposed ordinance itself, as building lots do not create the need for parks, people do. He expressed concern that after a developer put up $500,000 for a park, there was no guarantee that the City would build the park, and if the money was not used within 10 years, the City would return the money to the developer without interest.

Council Member Orton commented that traditionally the City has done a good job of having a park within ? mile of every resident, and parks are well represented in all neighborhoods. He stated he felt the City would continue to do this.

Mr. Bracken stated he felt mandatory park dedication would increase the cost of affording housing.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the fee would be paid in the cost of the lot or at the time of the building permit and would have no effect on a developer?s ability to provide attainable housing.

Mayor McArthur advised that a developer would either have to provide the land for a park, or pay an in-lieu fee. The in-lieu fee would then be used to purchase park land or upgrade a nearby existing park.

Mr. Bracken commented that a small developer would have no promise of ever getting a park in his area. He suggested that interest should be paid on any monies retained by the City which would be returned to the developer.

Mayor McArthur agreed that interest should be paid on any money returned to a developer.

Mr. Bracken commented that any in-lieu fee paid which would not be spent on a park within one mile would have to be returned to the developer with interest.

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February 22, 2007
Page Three

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the money must be paid up front or else the City would never be able to purchase park property.

Mayor McArthur suggested the City obtain the money up front and pay interest on it to the developer when returned if not used.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins commented that staff has completed a master parks plan, identified areas where parks are located and needed, and is now trying to acquire property for parks. Money paid up-front by developers will be used to reimburse the City for land it has purchased for parks.

Ron Bracken commented that when a developer pays his or her money, there should be a designated area for a park and it should be purchased at that time rather than waiting.

City Manager Gary Esplin clarified that a developer with a smaller development would not have to give up four acres, but would have to pay an in-lieu fee.

Council Member Orton commented that the City?s need comes when the subdivision is platted, and that is when the City looks at the overall picture and the need for a park arises.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the City needs to buy park sites. Impact fees do not pay to secure property. It is not fair to delay purchase of park property until homes are built or the City will never have the money to do so. He explained that funds to purchase park property can be borrowed from other internal funds, or the City can sell off properties it owns to generate cash.

Council Member Whatcott inquired about the developer who builds on the fringe of his development, or a developer who builds but takes 10 years to justify building a park. He commented this would be unfair for the rest of the community.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented this was a concurrency issue, and if a developer wants to develop a park on the fringe of his or her development, or take a long time to build, he or she must accept the fact that his or her funds may be held for longer than ten years.

Ron Bracken commented that a park is a benefit, and someone who pays $500,000 and gets no park gets no benefit.

Council Member Orton replied that the success of a development is not the City?s responsibility, and if a developer builds prematurely, the City should not be penalized if a developer cannot sell his or her lots.

Gil Almquist inquired about use of school fields as parks.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that in the past the City has helped with costs of lighting and to build tracks in exchange for use of the fields by the public, but use of school fields is restricted and cannot be substituted for City parks.

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February 22, 2007
Page Four

Gil Almquist inquired if the City was breaking new ground with this policy.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the City?s recommendation is a compilation of numerous similar policies, using the best of each.

Gil Almquist inquired about density credits.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the standard in the parks master plan is four acres of park for every 1000 people. If a developer increases the density, more park land must be provided.

Gil Almquist inquired about trails.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the City will dictate where parks are built, and requires access trails from the park site to adjacent neighborhoods. An adjacent subdivision that builds can pay their in-lieu fee and have access to a nearby park via trails. He stated that the backbone of the trails system will be paid for by the park impact fee.

Gil Almquist suggested that the street tree ordinance and other ordinances should be strengthened to promote a more park-like feel throughout the entire City.

Ron Bracken commented that the City should consider a mechanism that as soon as a developer pays an in-lieu fee, when a certain percentage is obtained the City must combine this with other funds and purchase land for a park.

Deputy City Attorney Paula Houston advised that a provision will be added that the City can accept a portion of land less than the total required acreage if it is not available, etc. in addition payment of an in-lieu fee. Las Colinas is an example of this. She commented that the City is the one who will decide what property is acceptable for a park.

Council Member Whatcott commented he felt asking a developer to give up property and then telling him where to locate the park was pushing the envelope.

Council Member Orton replied that this would be taken care of by following the various steps through staff, the Planning Commission, and City Council.

Gil Almquist commented that most developers have been reasonable when the Planning Commission felt they were pushing the envelope.

Council Member Gardner commented that what works for the developer works for the City, as their needs are the same. Typically the City is better suited to review plans and tweak them to fit needs.

Mayor McArthur declared a conflict of interest.

St. George City Council Minutes
February 22, 2007
Page Five

Joe McArthur read a petition opposed to connection of Morningside Drive to Riverside Drive and then presented it to the City. He stated that residents of the area would prefer that Morningside Drive be made a culdesac. He reviewed a map of the area with those present. He advised that the School Board has no problem with a culdesac. He stated that Morningside Drive is only 50' wide or less and is not wide enough to handle the increased traffic.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the issue is connectivity to the neighborhoods and major roads. He advised that Morningside Drive has been master planned to connect to Riverside Drive, and this decision has nothing to do with the School District.

Joe McArthur commented that it was a safety issue as the amount of traffic will be doubled. He suggested connection of the Cox Landing street instead as it is much wider.

Council Member Whatcott suggested installation of a gate during the day.

Eldon McArthur commented on the amount of traffic on Riverside Drive.

Mayor McArthur advised that the Cox Landing street will also be connected to Riverside Drive when the property is developed.

Michelle McArthur commented she heard a rumor that a stipulation was made that since Mr. Cox gave part of his land for a park, the road would not have to be put in.

Mayor McArthur replied that this was not true.

Ron Bracken advised that when the Cox Landing street is connected, the bulk of traffic will be pushed onto that street.

Mayor McArthur commented that installation of a stop sign in the neighborhood might help to slow traffic.

Council Member Gardner commented that while he had sympathy for the position of the neighborhood and its concerns, his neighborhood faced the same issue and managed to have a through street closed with unsatisfactory results. He stated that the Morningside neighborhood would not be giving up as much safety as it would gain in convenience.

Mayor McArthur commented that the City?s philosophy is connectivity. He suggested installation of a radar speed sign to slow traffic.

Mayor McArthur updated those present on several legislative bills of interest to the City.

Council Member Orton urged City Council members to express opposition to moving the driver?s license division to the Purgatory facility in Hurricane.

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February 22, 2007
Page Six

Mayor McArthur advised the state is looking at two new locations for a liquor store.

Council Member Orton advised that the Elks Field restroom needs two new toilets. City Manager Gary Esplin advised he would check with Kent Perkins on this.

A discussion was held on the City Council?s mandate to have flashing traffic signals during night time hours. City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the City Attorney wanted to check with the Police Chief and check state law due to liability issues before this was implemented. He will check with the City Attorney on the status.

A brief discussion was held on impact fees for state-built facilities.

A brief discussion was held on the new airport project and pending legislation which would affect it.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that asbestos has been discovered in the roof of the old gym. This will require additional expense to have it removed before the building can be demolished.

The meeting then adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Gay Cragun, City Recorder