City Council Minutes

Thursday, September 27,2007

SEPTEMBER 27, 2007, 4:00 P.M.

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

Council Member Rod Orton

Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order and welcomed all present. The pledge of allegiance was led by Suzanne Allen and the invocation was offered by Pastor Dean Heuring.

Kathy Thayne presented the Mayor and City Council Members with World Senior Games bags and shirts and advised that this year there are 10,000 athletes participating in the Games. She advised that this year would be her last year with the Games, and she introduced Kyle Case, the new CEO who would be taking over this year right after the Games.

Mr. Case commented he was looking forward to working with the City Council and building a relationship. He explained he previously was the Director of the Utah Summer Games. He advised that this year the World Senior Games will include a new volleyball tournament called the Global Cup, with six teams consisting of former Olympians and World Cup winners.

Jim Coleman presented the Mayor and City Council with mugs and expressed appreciation to them for 21 years of support for the Rotary Bowl. He introduced Char Hykotter and Richard Isom, also representing the Rotary Club. He requested continued City support in the way of a $20,000 contribution to the Bowl, and explained that information will be presented as to what the Rotary Bowl has done for the community. He distributed a summary sheet on the Rotary Bowl?s economic impact within the City.

Char Hykotter advised she has been involved with the Rotary Bowl for six years and feels this year?s event will be a premiere event.

Richard Isom presented a power point presentation highlighting key sponsor package benefits, the purpose of the Bowl, exposure, NCAA Division II Conference partners, and expanded community exposure.
Council Member Gardner inquired if the proposed change to the University of Utah would change the dynamics of the Bowl.

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Mr. Coleman replied that the potential was mind-boggling.

Mayor McArthur advised that the City Council would take the Rotary Bowl?s request under advisement.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained he asked staff to bring all the City?s policies and procedures and enforcement with regard to landscaping together into one document. The draft ordinance has been submitted to all departments for review.

Larry Shane distributed the draft ordinance and landscape inspection card. He explained that input was solicited from all aspects of the landscaping community.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that currently if a project has a site plan which shows landscaping, the applicant is required to adhere to it.

Larry Shane presented a power point presentation on the purpose of the landscaping ordinance, goals, compliance, minimum standards, licensing requirements, required landscaping, landscape and irrigation plan, landscape design, promotion of water efficiency, irrigation systems, inspections, long term viability of landscapes, commercial projects, and projects on City-maintained property.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins explained that City will have the ability to recoup its costs. There is a problem with property which is not being maintained, but is individually owned and located behind an owner?s fence, but fronting a street.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised another issue is the entrance signs to the community, and who will replace the unique lettering when it gets damaged.

Mayor McArthur inquired about the penalty contained in the proposed ordinance.

Mr. Guzman replied there is the option for a criminal penalty or civil penalty. The civil penalty can usually be administered more quickly.

Planner Ray Snyder reviewed several comments by the Community Development Director with regard to the proposed ordinance.

Larry Shane advised that with regard to the requirement in the ordinance for a water audit, the Washington County Water Conservancy District says that if they are to participate in the program, the audit must be part of the ordinance.

A brief discussion took place with regard to the proposed requirement for 50% live plant material on commercial projects.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested a requirement be included that requires residential landscaping of the front yard to be completed within one year of occupancy.

Council Member Bunker suggested that an incentive program be used rather than a penalty.

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City Manager Gary Esplin commented that if subdivisions are located on a street larger than 50', they are required to create a homeowners association to maintain the landscaping along the roadway. He advised that staff would come back with an inventory of these streets.

Mayor McArthur suggested the Homebuilders Association be consulted to request their input and suggestions.

Council Member Whatcott cited the hospital as an example of the 50% live plant landscaping requirement, and inquired how this requirement would be calculated, especially when xeriscape is used.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins replied that the calculation is not made at the time of planting, but is calculated on what staff knows the plants will be when they are fully grown.

City Manager Gary Esplin and Mayor McArthur requested that this calculation be made using the hospital as an example.

Council Member Whatcott inquired about use of artificial turf.

Mr. Shane replied artificial turf would not qualify as live plant material and could not be included in the calculation. He stated that staff was not against the use of artificial turf, but live plants are also needed.

Staff will report back on projects such as the hospital and if their landscaping meets the 50% requirement contained in the proposed ordinance, as well as recommendations for use of artificial turf.

Vicki Wilson, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Dixie College, explained the purpose of why Dixie College is pursuing affiliation with the University of Utah. She advised a Board of Trustees meeting will be held October 1 to vote on the petition to the University of Utah. The University of Utah will meet October 8 to vote on whether to accept or reject the petition. If they accept it, a task force will be created to hammer out a lot of details. A final document should be ready next year and presented to the legislature in early 2008, and if everything goes well, the change should be implemented in the fall of 2009. She distributed a fact sheet and explained that 21 days have been set aside for public comment, and most of the public forum comments have focused on the name.

Council Member Bunker commented that she can see the benefits to Dixie College. She inquired why the proposal would be of benefit to the University of Utah.

Ms. Wilson replied that the affiliation would serve the University of Utah?s interests in this part of the state and expand student numbers, it would provide a means to strengthen their programs and enrollment, and they can see the wisdom in this type of a model.

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Stan Plewe commented that President Young expressed concern that the State is missing an opportunity by not capitalizing on the huge growth in southern Utah. He

stated that from President Young?s perspective, he sees this as a great opportunity generally to capitalize on the coupling of the two schools.

Council Member Bunker inquired if a positive reaction from the University of Utah was received to the initial overture.

Ms. Wilson replied that there was a positive reaction and there has been a lot of interest in pursuing the proposal. While it is not a slam dunk, there is strong support. She stated Dixie College met with the chair of the Board of Regents this summer and there is support from the Board of Regents. The legislative team is 100% behind it, and this is a tremendous opportunity.

Mayor McArthur commented that while he has not heard any negative aspects of the proposal, only positive, it all comes back to the name. The name has to be attached to the community, and the community was ?Dixie? long before there were any Rebels. Dixie College should lose the Rebels and everything that may be considered racial, but if the name ?Dixie? is not used, it will be a slap in the face to a lot of people. He stated he did not think there would be support if the name ?Dixie? was not used.

Ms. Wilson commented that last night a forum was held with a couple of hundred of students in attendance, many from different communities, and their impression was two-fold. Dixie is not a bad name, but the College has associated itself with the Confederacy for 35 years, and there are still many of these symbols on the campus today. This has links to racism. There were also many comments from local residents who felt strongly the name should be kept. When other systems are looked at across the country, they denote location, and this provides clarity.

Phil Peterson inquired if there was a feeling that the southern Utah campus of the University of Utah would have a different mission than the campus in Salt Lake City.

Ms. Wilson replied that SUU offers a graduate MBA program for traditional college students, and they may continue with the program on the Dixie College campus. 85% of their students live on campus in residential housing. In St. George there are over 20,000 residents between the ages of 25 and 40 who have two year degrees who need to continue their education. She stated she felt both could flourish.

Stan Plewe commented that the Board of Regents has put forth an eight point list they want to see Dixie College accomplish to achieve the affiliation, and all are doable. Another issue relates to finances. He commented he wanted to make sure everyone understood that the athletic program will not be lost, and there are a lot of benefits to come.

Ms. Wilson advised that the affiliation will strengthen the athletic program because there will be more baccalaureate degrees.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman inquired whether the University of Utah would lobby to get more new buildings for the Dixie campus.
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Stan Plewe replied he saw this as a parent lobbying for its child. The University of Utah will speak for this campus as they want it to succeed. President Young said all they have is their reputation, and it will be a win-win for everyone.

Mayor McArthur commented at the last meeting a motion passed in favor of the petition with reference to the name too.

Council Member Allen inquired what would happen if the name ?Dixie? was not included.

Ms. Wilson replied that the Alumni Association has been closely looped in and candid discussions are being held and feedback received. She advised that part of the petition will include a recommended name. The University of Utah was contacted and asked for their input, but they said this needs to be figured out locally and then they will vote on it. She stated she believed some would not be in favor of the name ?Dixie? and in all honesty this would present another challenge in making the affiliation happen.

Stan Plewe advised that President Young commented that he will forever be the bad guy no matter what name is chosen. Every faculty member at the University of Utah will weigh in on the issue, and this is tough for Dixie?s trustees.

Council Member Gardner commented he saw the name as a secondary issue, and the fact that Dixie College has the opportunity to be affiliated far outweighs the name. However, if there is an option to keep the name ?Dixie?, it should be kept.

Council Member Whatcott commented he was not sure the Council was unanimous in recommending the name ?Dixie? be kept. He stated that while he was not opposed to use of the name, he did not feel so stringent that the name be included. He inquired what would happed to the ?D? on the hill and the songs about Dixie, and commented that there was the potential of losing sight of those things.

Council Member Bunker inquired if there was hard data as to how the name ?Dixie? was perceived in the south or east.

Ms. Wilson replied that in the south the Confederate flag meant something but elsewhere is perceived with a lot of negative connotations. She stated Dixie College is listening carefully to the community and feels responsible to make the best decision for the community and institution.

Mayor McArthur called for a break.

Marc Mortensen introduced Rick Rosenberg, representing the Lower Virgin River Fire Council, Steve Meismer, representing the Virgin River Program, and Doug Wulfenstein who has put together a program to do re-vegetation along the Virgin River.

Doug Wulfenstein distributed a handout entitled ?Re-Vegetation and Irrigation Cost for Raw Land in St. George? and reviewed it. He also distributed a copy of the City?s Urban Forestry Plan.
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Marc Mortensen commented that the first section along the Virgin River proposed for re-vegetation is in the Bloomington area. The next area proposed is by St. James. He advised that supplemental water could not be run everywhere.

Doug Wulfenstein advised that with regard to the City?s urban forest, the ash trees have ash yellow disease and there is nothing that can be done. The Arizona Ash is doing well but the Bradford Pears are having a hard time. The City?s urban forest is old and there will be a lot of replacements.

Council Member Whatcott inquired if a palm tree would qualify as one of the species of trees required to be planted in residential front yards.

Mr. Wulfenstein replied this would be up to the City Council.

Rick Rosenberg presented a power point presentation entitled ?River Master Plan Program Implementation Update? which included a review, lessons learned, objectives, technical documents available, river master plan concepts, methodology, updated erosion hazard zones, general principles, EHZ recommendations, regional tamarisk removal and restoration program, program goals, current projects, and program partners.

Steve Meismer presented a power point presentation on the Virgin River Program which included the players, program goals, a review of the species worked with, recovery actions, Washington Fields diversion screening, fish management activities, rotenone treatments, activities in and near St. George, re-vegetation efforts, and benefits of re-vegetation.

Brief discussions were held with regard to the proposal for a zone change for a home for the Lost Boys, zoning for in-house treatment for drug addicts, an upcoming forum on illegal immigration, and a meeting between the Mayor and Mr. Callister who is applying for a zone change for his chiropractic office in an RCC zone.

MOTION: A motion to adjourn was made by Council Member Whatcott.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Allen.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, and all voted aye. The motion carried, and the meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Gay Cragun, City Recorder