City Council Minutes

Thursday, February 8,2007



ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
WORK MEETING
FEBRUARY 8, 2007, 4:00 P.M.
ADMINISTRATION CONFERENCE ROOM

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

OPENING:
Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order and welcomed all present. The pledge of allegiance was led by Scout Chipper Whatcott, and the invocation was offered by Pastor Wilkie. Mayor McArthur then invited the Scouts in attendance to introduce themselves.

PRESENTATION OF THE CONCEPT OF A CHILDREN?S MUSEUM:
Council Member Gail Bunker explained that the summary of the parks and recreation master plan recommends that a feasibility study be conducted for a children?s or science museum. Lynn Goodwin, founder of the Treehouse Museum in Ogden and its executive director, is willing to help St. George if it wants to be a part of the Ogden museum. She would help in setting it up and share exhibits. St. George would also be able to get grants and funding and share in the partnership. There is a need in St. George, but first a site must be identified. She suggested locations near the dinosaur museum, or Sand Hollow area, or fairgrounds, or by the Dixie Center, or the old movie theaters downtown.

Council Member Gardner suggested the old Woodward building.

Council Member Bunker stated her preference would be somewhere by the Town Square.

Council Member Allen inquired about use of the Arts building for the resource center so the Woodward building could be used for the children?s museum.

Council Member Whatcott suggested a location on Riverside Drive.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested use of the old School District administration building, or space in the basement of the courthouse building which the City hopes to acquire.

Council Member Bunker advised that funds for the children?s museum could not be raised until a site was identified.


It was the consensus of the Mayor and City Council that the project is worth pursuing.


St. George City Council Minutes
February 8, 2007
Page Two

PRESENTATION ON WEEKLY DOWNTOWN CELEBRATION EVENTS:
Sandy Lenois advised that she is willing to take on the weekly downtown events again this year. She suggested that she could get more vendors if the events were held on Friday nights. She suggested events be held in April through October, excluding July because it was too hot.

Marc Mortensen expressed concern with the frequency of the events. He stated in his opinion they should not be held weekly and there needed to be more variation.

Ms. Lenois commented that they had different themes each month, and attendance at the first and second weeks were good, and then dwindled the third week.

Ms. Lenois commented that due to personal conflicts, some of the businesses did not remain open for the events. However, the merchants are now ready to support the events. She inquired if the City wanted the events.

Mayor McArthur replied that the Main Street businesses approached the City about holding the events, not the other way around.

Council Member Allen suggested a farmer?s market be incorporated into the events.

Council Member Orton commented that the City would have to be careful as a sponsor as it was not trying to cause competition against other business centers. The City can support the events if they help the Main Street businesses, but it is not interested in the various vendors? success.

Ms. Lenois commented that the Tourist and Convention Center would like the events to continue to be held on Thursday nights as Friday nights would conflict with other events.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested the events be held once a month and be made special to become a community event in conjunction with the Town Square and Water Walk. He suggested a survey be done by staff to see if the businesses will support it.

Mayor McArthur instructed Marc Mortensen to begin this survey.

DISCUSSION CONCERNING MANDATORY DEDICATION OF PARK PROPERTY:
City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the new park impact fee plan has a new element - a developer will donate four acres of park land for every 1000 residents. The impact fee is not geared to purchase property for the park - just to build the park. The idea is to get the parks donated at the time a big project comes in. For those developers who do not have enough property to donate, a mandatory in-lieu fee will be charged and these fees will be used to make sure there is a park in the area or to upgrade an existing park. There are two types of parks - neighborhood and community. A community park is the City?s total responsibility and these fees are included in the park impact fee. Impact fees do not reflect the cost to purchase land for a neighborhood park, only to build it. A mathematical equation will be used to arrive at the figure charged the developer as a fee in lieu based on the cost of the park land or improvements.
St. George City Council Minutes
February 8, 2007
Page Three

Council Member Gardner inquired about a single lot builder.

Mr. Esplin replied that a single lot builder would pay only the impact fee for the individual house. He explained that the City has a map indicating areas where it knows parks are needed. The City will determine where a park best fits in an area. For example, Ivory Homes is building a community park. A subdivision that builds next door and will use the park will pay an assessment used to add improvements to the community park.

Council Member Whatcott inquired if trails would be considered part of a park.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins replied that credit is not given for trails.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that a developer would have to put in trails as part of an amenity package, but the ordinance does not require that he be compensated for that. The City is simply asking for access for other residents of the area, not just those in his or her development.

Carol Sapp, representing the Southern Utah Homebuilders Association, commented that is someone puts in trails that benefit the rest of the community, they become a system improvement and should be paid for by impact fees.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that if a developer does not build a park, they will have to build trails to access a park, and they should not be compensated for that. If a developer builds a park, and the City requires them to provide access to adjacent subdivisions, then this becomes more of a system improvement. Staff is open to solutions.

Council Member Gardner commented that a developer could possibly be required to do both a community and neighborhood park and the community park would be purchased by the City, and the neighborhood park would be an exaction.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented that flexibility is built into the ordinance. The City Council can take into consideration the net acreage a developer has left, and if it is too much of a burden, he can pay a fee in lieu.

Adam Arrington inquired if the City was forcing developers to give land to the City.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman replied that the City will purchase land for a community park.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the City did not plan on using condemnation. The theory is that a neighborhood park is an amenity to the development. The City will be flexible.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised that a developer wants to build a large park of 14-16 acres. The City will pay them back for building the facility and use this

large community park as a neighborhood park too. The City is trying to be flexible and not requiring both a community and neighborhood park in this instance.
St. George City Council Minutes
February 8, 2007
Page Four

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that impact fees will be shared as a whole throughout the entire City.

Carol Sapp inquired about implementation and how land values would be determined.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised that guidelines are written in the ordinance. For instance, 50% of the land for a park has to be easily accessible, and no piece can be over a certain percentage of slope.

City Manager Gary Esplin clarified that the City is saying that a developer cannot just donate slope property. The greatest percent of the property has to be useable.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins commented that when developers do donate slope property to the City which they cannot use, they get tax deductions. The City Council will look at each piece of property donated and decide on the value. Values will be established yearly based on appraisals. There is an appeal process that allows for a developer to obtain his own appraisal or a negotiation between two appraisals.

Carol Sapp commented that this would require the developer to incur additional cost. She suggested use of an appeals panel.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman clarified that the proposed ordinance does not contain an appeals process.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that every year during the capital project updates, the City Council will set a fee based on what the value of the property in the community is as a whole. If a developer feels this is incorrect, he or she can hire their own appraiser and appeal this to the City Council.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman clarified that there is no appeals process in the ordinance. The appeal process is to come and talk to the City Council.

Council Member Whatcott inquired how property value would be established each year.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman replied that when the City does its impact fee studies, it will be paying someone to determine the cost to acquire land for parks.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that it would not difficult to determine values.

Carol Sapp commented that determining value by zones would be more precise instead of determining value City-wide.

Finance Director Phil Peterson explained that impact fees would be held within a restricted fund with subfunds for each of the parks so that funds are restricted for use for each specific park.


St. George City Council Minutes
February 8, 2007
Page Five

Rick Rosenberg inquired if the in-lieu fee would be paid at the time of platting. He was advised that this was correct. He inquired how this new policy would apply to existing larger PDs with many phases already developed.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that they would have to find four acres somewhere. However, if the projects were already platted and recorded, they would not be subject to the new ordinance. If they are not platted, then discussions will be held with them and they are subject to the new ordinance. If they do not have land for parks, they will have to pay an in lieu fee.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman clarified that a public park requires publicly dedicated street frontage.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins explained that if the City cannot get a park built within 10 years of collecting the impact fees, the developer will get his or her money back.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the matter would be scheduled on a City Council agenda.

DISCUSSION AND UPDATE OF VARIOUS PARK PROJECTS:

City Manager Gary Esplin displayed a map of a proposed park in the Green Valley area along the river. He advised that Deanna Brklacich secured funds from FEMA to replace lost soil. The cost of the park is $1.6 million which does not include the necessary curb and gutter. The size of the park is about 9 acres.

Mr. Esplin then displayed a map of a proposed park along the river adjacent to the Tonaquint Park. The cost estimate for this park is $400,000. The size of the park is three acres. It was the consensus of the Mayor and City Council to move forward with both park projects.

Mr. Esplin reviewed plans for the new Town Square and Water Walk.

The meeting then adjourned at 6:30 p.m.



_____________________________________
Gay Cragun, City Recorder