City Council Minutes

Thursday, May 10,2007

MAY 10, 2007, 4:00 P.M.

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

Council Member Rod Orton

Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order at 4:10 p.m. and welcomed all in attendance. The pledge of allegiance was led by Ed Baca, and the invocation was offered by Alex Wilkie.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the City was on a fast track to commit the funds before June 30 on this park or the City may not receive a portion of the state funds available for the project. This park is located adjacent to the Santa Clara River in the Green Valley area.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins explained that the City?s total budget for the entire project is $1.6 million. Bids for construction of the park will be opened May 28. Staff would like this park to be a destination playground and would like the playground to be designed in concert with the park by the City?s consultant. In order to fast track the project staff recommends expenditure of an amount not to exceed $175,000 to contract with a firm to design and provide the playground equipment. Qualifications are being submitted today. Staff will review the qualifications, which have also been submitted to Winston & Associates, the park designer, and these qualifications will be narrowed to three firms for interviews. He clarified that the $175,000 for playground equipment is part of the total cost of $1.6 million for the park.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the two level park will contain seven to nine acres plus property in the river. There will also be a bridge to an island in the middle of the river in the future.

MOTION: A motion was made by Council Member Gardner to authorize City staff to select a company to design and provide the playground equipment in an amount not to exceed $175,000.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Bunker.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, and all voted aye. The motion carried.


City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the neighborhood has raised funds for landscaping along River Road adjacent to their subdivision and would the City to help with the project.

Development Services Director Matt Loo explained that the landscaping will run from Glen DeMille?s property to the entrance of the St. James Subdivision. A landscaping plan has been created. Darcy Stewart has contacted subcontractors and has a feel for the bid which will be around $51,000. The neighborhood has raised $28,000 for the project. Part of the bid contains clean-up and traffic control. If the City can help with those issues, the cost can be lowered and the gap closed.

Darcy Stewart commented that the neighbors are requesting help with locating water meters and power for the light or sign.

Mr. Loo advised that the subject property is located within the City?s right of way.

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Cathy Hasfurther reviewed the landscaping plan.

Mayor McArthur recommended support of the project.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that there were questions about site distance at the entrance to St. James Subdivision.

Ms. Hasfurther advised that the landscaping plan did not address this issue.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained it was his understanding that the neighborhood would provide maintenance of the landscaping and they are requesting a financial contribution from the City. He recommended approval, commenting that River Road is an important arterial. He suggested that the site distance problem also be remedied as part of this project. He commented that the City may want to assist other subdivisions located along main arterials in a similar manner. He explained that developers are now required to landscape along their frontages, but this subdivision was built in 1987 before this requirement existed.

MOTION: A motion was made by Council Member Gardner to approve the request.

Council Member Allen arrived.

SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Whatcott.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, and all voted aye. The motion carried.

Development Services Director Matt Loo advised there is a proposal to change the rock to stacked block. The developers propose heaving several tiers with landscaping and will stain the block to match the hillside. Timing is critical in order to utilize backfill for this project which is only available for a short time.

Lonnie Gubler advised that there in no geogrid in place now. There will be more than three tiers where the wall fronts Blackridge Drive in order to have more landscaping.

Wayne Rogers commented that the wall at one end is 40-50 feet and at the other end is 25 feet. He advised that the new wall will meet the City?s wall ordinance.

Mr. Gubler explained that in order to utilize backfill available from across the street, the project has to be completed within 60 days. Without the backfill, the project would not be financially feasible.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested that the wall request be scheduled on the May 17 agenda.

Council Member Bunker inquired if there was anything else the developers could do other than to build a wall, as other communities don?t have the walls that St. George does.

Mr. Gubler advised that walls are built because of their architectural fit with the elevations. He advised that the wall would be stained to blend in with its surroundings and vegetation will hang over the walls.

Mayor McArthur invited Eric Mathis, a high school student, to introduce himself.

Debbie Waggoner and Jan Brooks advised they approached Marc Mortensen about six months ago with feedback from the community about the historic downtown. They stated they wanted to see if the City was interested in contracting with them to market the downtown. They then presented an overview of their program consisting of economic revitalization, imaging and branding, and cultural and community development through events and activities.

Ms. Brooks clarified that the proposed contract would not be for consulting, but would be for their services to implement the program.

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Council Member Gardner suggested the City consider their proposal and if it makes sense, then move forward.

Council Member Whatcott commented that talking about it and reality are two different things. The City needs to consider if the proposal is feasible from an economic standpoint.

Council Member Bunker commented she agreed the City needed a brand and to become more of a destination place. She stated she would like to see St. George become an art community.

Council Member Allen commented that the Town Square is being built and the downtown is being revitalized for a reason.

Ms. Brooks advised that they would provide the City with a Memorandum of Understanding and contract amount for consideration.

Kyle Pasley advised that there is a huge growth in soccer in Southern Utah. He then distributed a handout entitled Soccer in Southern Utah and reviewed it. He advised that tournament soccer is the number one money generator for a community. He stated he felt it was time for the City to add soccer facilities. He stated he did not expect St. George to shoulder the entire load but to provide its proportionate share of soccer facilities. He stated that current soccer programs are taxing school fields. Soccer is also the most gender equitable sport. The need in Washington County is for 21 full size soccer fields. It is critical that there is a hub complex consisting of eight to ten soccer fields.

Council Member Gardner commented that the issue the City struggles with is the scheduling of tournaments and asked if some of the soccer tournaments could be moved to the off-season.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised that the restaurants and motels are also impacted and the many non-local tournaments have precluded the locals from having tournaments here.

Mayor McArthur commented that the City wants to take care of the locals first and provide for the City?s recreation programs.

Mr. Pasley commented that the pressing need is the locals, and that the tournaments were gravy.

Lori Cottam advised that the soccer league?s first priority are the kids in this community.

An unidentifed gentleman commented that soccer fields require a lot of space and suggested that there was a lot of open space and easy access at Milemarker 2.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the City is planning four or five soccer fields in Little Valley. He stated that the City did not want to encourage 500 more teams to come to St. George in March as there are no motel rooms. The City can only accommodate so many activities during a certain time of the year. If more tournament are being created, they need to be planned and will have to be played in the shoulder season. The City?s intent is to build what it needs to handle its own needs. There is a need for other communities to help solve the problem.

Mr. Pasley commented that this was a county-wide problem.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman arrived.

Mayor McArthur advised Mr. Pasley to work through the sports commission to coordinate tournaments.

Council Member Allen commented that fields at Milepost 2 had been discussed, and there may be some possibility there.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised that a 21 acre regional park site is included in the master plan for the South Block.

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Council Member Whatcott advised that citizens in Bloomington Hills are questioning the difference between the chip seal and the fog coat being done in their area.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the chip seal is used when there are cracks in the road surface. The fog coat is used when there are no cracks or they are small.

Council Member Whatcott inquired about tree replacement on Ft. Pierce Drive.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that he would check on this.

Council Member Whatcott commented that in order to solve the 450 North/The Flats issue, perhaps staff needs to take another look at it. He advised that he walked the site and it appears the bone of contention is staff wants the road to be 80' wide, yet it is built at 66' and could not be expanded to an 80' width without taking out some houses. Ms. Kirkpatrick advises that the City wants her to give the full 80' with no compensation.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the City would have to compensate Ms. Kirkpatrick for her portion of the road over the size she needs for her development.

Council Member Whatcott commented that the question is why the City is fighting over 14 feet if it is never going to widen the road without taking out some houses. Ms. Kirkpatrick promised that if the City would go to 66', she would do it all.

Mayor McArthur explained that the remote control airplane club would like to locate at the wastewater treatment plant.

Water Services Director Barry Barnum advised that Jerry Law has looked at the site. They propose to make a significant facility with an asphalt runway 75' wide and 800' long.

Mr. Law advised that the runway size will be something people from other states will want to use. He advised there would also be the possibility of having an electric airplane event.

Mayor McArthur stated that the City has rented space at the wastewater treatment plan for location of a radio station tower.

Mr. Barnum replied that the runway will be oriented to avoid the tower.

Mayor McArthur advised that City also has a tree farm in this area.

Council Member Gardner suggested the area be master planned to maximize use of the property.

Mr. Barnum advised that there is 90 acres within the fence.

Mayor McArthur commented that access would have to be improved, but in his opinion this would be a great place for the use if it can be accommodated.

City Manager Gary Esplin asked if the noise from the airplanes would bother anyone in Sun River.

Mr. Law advised that if there were a noise problem, he would just need to be told about it and better mufflers would be installed on the noisy airplanes.

Mr. Barnum advised that the runway is located at an angle in the main draw.

Council Member Whatcott was excused from the meeting.

Mr. Barnum advised that the runway would take up a large part of the flat area and would be a significant use. There would still be areas around the hill that could be used and other areas toward Bloomington. A heavy equipment and lineman school are also conducted on the site. He stated that perhaps one more use could be accommodated around the hill. He advised that the City could locate soccer fields

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there, but the roads could not accommodate the traffic. If the area was needed by the City in the future, it would be an easy matter as no permanent structure is being built, just an asphalt runway.

Mayor McArthur commented that any agreement for use of the site would be contingent on the City?s future use of the property.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested that a master plan for the property be completed before committing so much space, as the City has other requests for use of the property, and there are traffic issues to work through. There is only one access to the site. He stated that staff could have the plan done within the next few weeks.

Mr. Law advised that the remote control club renewed its insurance so the City would be covered. He stated that while they would like to use most of the valley area, this would not preclude someone else from using it too. The safety factor is in the immediate runway area. He inquired of the last date they would be able to use the old CAA runway.

Mayor McArthur replied through the end of May.

Mr. Law asked if there was any chance of financial help from the City.

Mayor McArthur replied that the City?s help was the location.

Council Member Gardner suggested that the City could provide some milled materials from the reuse center for the subbase.

Mayor McArthur suggested the runway be built in phases as funds are raised.

MOTION: A motion was made by Council Member Allen to adjourn to an executive session to discuss reasonably imminent litigation.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Gardner.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a roll call vote, as follows:

Council Member Allen - aye
Council Member Gardner - aye
Council Member Bunker - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

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

Council Member Allen requested a discussion on live-in treatment homes for drug dependencies.

Mayor McArthur advised that the impact on the community would have to be looked at.

Council Member Allen inquired where they would be allowed to locate.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman replied that as it now stands he did not know but he would research the matter.

Mayor McArthur advised that he spoke with Ron Stout about Twin Lakes Drive. The City?s participation commitment was up to $90,000. Mr. Stout presented a plan to Jay Sandberg who advised that the plan was merely a grading plan. Mr. Stout hired an engineer to do a plan and he thought the City?s commitment was to pay for the plan. The plan cost $15,000.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the City?s commitment for participation in the amount of $90,000 included engineering from Red Hills Parkway to the tunnel. The

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City has no obligation to go from the tunnel to the top of the hill as that is Mr. Stout?s responsibility to provide a road to his subdivision.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman agreed the City?s participation was $90,000, including engineering. He advised that he promised Don Ruesch he would do everything possible to obtain an access for him off Twin Lakes Drive to the intersection. He stated that if the City Council wanted to authorize more money for Mr. Stout, Mr. Stout should be given a deadline because he has had Middleton Drive closed far beyond what the City has allowed him to do.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that the City should have required a bond and contract from Mr. Stout.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented that the City?s obligation was for $90,000 to the tunnel. The City said it would give progress payments for the roadway up to the tunnel, but held some back because he had not finished up to the intersection.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested that the City could pay half of the $15,000 as long as it was for drainage just to get it done.

Mayor McArthur advised that Mr. Stout would have to finish the intersection and make the connection.

Mr. Esplin commented that a timetable was also needed.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman suggested that Mr. Stout be made to sign a contract agreeing to finish the project by a certain time, with liquidated damages for each day the project is not completed.

Mayor McArthur advised he would relay this information to Mr. Stout.

City Manager Gary Esplin reported on a SITLA meeting.

Council Member Bunker reported on a Vibrant St. George Committee meeting. She advised that she is serving as St. George?s representative on the Washington County Art Commission.

The meeting then adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Gay Cragun, City Recorder