City Council

Thursday, July 12,2007

JULY 12, 2007, 4:00 P.M.

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

Ron Bracken, Planning Commission Member

Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order and welcomed all present. The pledge of allegiance was led by Shawn Guzman and the invocation was offered by Gail Bunker.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the Streets Department is out of traffic paint and requests permission to order some in the amount of $41,000. The official award will be scheduled on the next City Council meeting, but they would like permission to order it. The purchase is made through the state contract. It was the consensus of the City Council to order the paint.

Mayor McArthur invited a Scout in the audience to introduce himself.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the committee has come up with guidelines and scenarios for development options in the Little Valley area. It appears there are three options: (1) to remain with the base density of two unit per acre; (2) to allow a zone change, recognizing that a zone change to anything greater than two units per acre would require a TND right now; and (3) to allow a density bonus system. The density bonus system would require a development agreement and would allow density up to an R-1-10 density. In order to get the R-1-10 density a developer would have to do something different than a regular subdivision. A factor incremental approach was suggested: 15% in open space, improvements such as a park or trail, or preservation of unique natural areas, or additional amenities such as attainable housing or land dedicated for civic uses, etc. The committee feels the first two factors should be mandatory. The question is how to provide small projects with the opportunity for higher density; perhaps a fee can be charged and put toward a park in the area, or the project could provide a trail access. There should be flexibility to look at the proposal and see if it meets the intent of what the City is trying to accomplish. The 15% for open space would still be used in the calculation for density, and in essence the developer is not giving it up. What it does is allow the City to get parks in areas where it has not been able to in the past and to allow trails to be connected.

St. George City Council Minutes
July 12, 2007
Page Two

Mayor McArthur commented the plan appears to make sure there is a level playing field for all.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented the only concern is if a person pays something, they are paying it to the City. Caution must be used to not mix this concept with the TND concept.

Ed Burgess commented that there should be a different set of standards for smaller projects, as he was not sure the City wanted to have a whole bunch of small pocket parks that may or may not be able to be improved, and the City would not want to maintain them. There should be another means to get the density. In the case of Little Valley, the water impact fee on a half acre lot is an additional $4,500 per lot, and there will have to be some incentive involved vs. paying $4,500 more to the Water Conservancy District, such as paying the City to improve the infrastructure. One thing that needs to be figured out is how to provide the Council with discretion to be able to look at a project and have the ability to not be firm on the standards required, because one size does not fit all.

Community Development Director Bob Nichlson commented that small parcels will require special consideration. If factors one and two are not feasible, perhaps a combination of the third factor could be used, such as enhanced landscaping along the right-of-way or private amenities that would enhance the project.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented that according to the law, it is still unclear what the City can do, and it might have to say if the project is ten acres or less, a payment would be required or land is required to be donated. The City might have to have a cut-off on the acreage as to when it can charge a fee and when the land can be used for improvements.

Mr. Nicholson commented that density bonuses for parks and attainable housing bonuses are common.

Council Member Bunker suggested a community garden could be used instead of a park.

Council Member Whatcott suggested a potential fourth factor - donation of land to increase building setbacks to allow for increased road widths, thereby eliminating narrow roadways.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented wider park strips could be used for small acreages that cannot donate property for a park.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested that landscaped medians could also be used to soften roadways.

Council Member Allen commented the City Council would like to see commercial development spread throughout the City to help keep traffic congestion down.

Glen Bundy inquired where the areas planned for commercial were located. He was shown a map.

St. George City Council Minutes
July 12, 2007
Page Three

Council Member Allen inquired about clustering.

Ed Burgess replied this would fall under factor number three. The City Council needs the ability to approve a plan.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented there is some concern with the way the Water Conservancy District is applying their calculation. The impact fee for half acre lots is almost $10,000, but there is an option to not pay the fee if landscaping is limited to 5,000 sq. ft. which would encourage clustering.

Council Member Allen commented that clustering provides more open space than half acre lots.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson commented that lot size averaging is also an incentive.

Mr. Esplin commented that also makes it easier to do an affordable housing component.

Council Member Whatcott inquired if it would be based on the zone or size of lot.

Mr. Esplin replied it would be based on the size of lot.

Council Member Allen commented that clustering would do away with the need for walls and fences.

Council Member Whatcott inquired if park improvement would allow for park impact fee reimbursement to the developer.

Mr. Esplin replied that the developer would already be getting increased density in exchange for the improvement.

Council Member Whatcott commented that the home buyer is the one who will pay this cost, not the developer.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that the City is not collecting impact fees for purchasing land for neighborhood parks.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that a partial amount does go toward building the park, but the developer is getting the benefit of having increased density.

Council Member Whatcott commented that this would be charging the lot owner twice, and in the end the buyer has to pay twice.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented that when the City did its impact fee study for regional parks, it took into account it would have a lot of park land donated and the amount per acre is a lot less than the fair market value of the property.

St. George City Council Minutes
July 12, 2007
Page Four

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that a portion of the park impact fee does go toward the building of neighborhood parks, and a portion goes to trails, trailheads, recreation centers, and a portion goes to community parks. Somebody is getting compensated for putting the park in because they are getting increased density.

Ron Bracken commented that all costs ultimately end up on the buyer.

Council Member Whatcott stated the City must put a value on the park improvements.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the value required is $125,000 for a standard park. If the developer wanted to add additional elements such as a water park, two tennis court, etc., this would give him the ability to have additional increased density, but does not address the issue of the person actually taking out the permit.
But, this can be figured out.

Ed Burgess commented that it is easy to donate land for a park, but 50% of developers will choose not to improve the park and take less density. However, the concept works. The question is if these people have to donate land for the park, should they also have to pay a park impact fee.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that if a homeowner has a chance to go into a subdivision that has trails and parks and amenities, he is more likely to buy in that subdivision because the marketability has been greatly enhanced.

Mayor McArthur commented that Ivory Homes is putting in a twelve acre park and improving it.

Mr. Burgess replied that Ivory Homes is receiving an impact fee credit.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the committee was not charged with looking at impact fee calculations. Committee members assumed they were looking at density issues and what would encourage developers to do one of these projects rather than two units per acre.

Ed Burgess commented that as a developer he would strongly consider all of the options. The impact fee is another issue. He stated he would go for density every time before doing a half acre lot project.

Glen Bundy inquired if any open space would be left in Little Valley.

Council Member Allen replied that clustering would provide open space.

Council Member Gardner arrived.

Council Member Whatcott commented the City must look at the entire 2,700 acres. The City has the potential to create something everyone can feel good about, and this is the overriding goal.

St. George City Council Minutes
July 12, 2007
Page Five

MOTION: A motion to adjourn to an executive session to discuss litigation was made by Council Member Allen.
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 Whatcott - aye
Council Member Bunker - aye
Council Member Orton - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried

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

Council Member Gardner suggested that it would be in the City?s best interests to utilize some of its underground water rights to assist in keeping the dust down in the gravel pits. The City could charge the companies a minimal charge to recapture its costs, and this would go a long way toward solving the dust problems.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented this would provide an added benefit by proving up on the City?s water rights.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised he would speak to Water Services Director Barry Barnum about it.

Council Member Gardner reported on a recent Economic Development Committee meeting.

The meeting then adjourned.

Gay Cragun, City Recorder