City Council Minutes

Thursday, November 19,2009



ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
REGULAR MEETING
NOVEMBER 19, 2009, 4:00 P.M.
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

PRESENT:
Mayor Pro Tem Suzanne Allen
Councilmember Gil Almquist
Councilmember Jon Pike
Councilmember Gloria Shakespeare
Councilmember Gail Bunker
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Gay Cragun

EXCUSED:
Mayor Daniel McArthur


OPENING:
Mayor Pro Tem Allen called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. The invocation was offered by Pastor Jimi Kestin and the pledge of allegiance was led by Gary Esplin. Mayor Pro Tem Allen invited a Scout and students in the audience to introduce themselves.

Gary Carter, Chair of the St. George Housing Authority, introduced the new Executive Director, Keisha Greenwell.

Lowell Elmer, representing the MPO, advised that the Utah MPOs received an award from ASHTOE for their unified planning effort. Utah is the first state to receive this award. He advised that he received the Executive Director?s Excellence Award in Transportation Safety.

Mayor Pro Tem Allen invited students in the audience to introduce themselves. She advised that the Jubilee of Trees is being held now through Monday.

CONSENT CALENDAR:
Consider approval of the financial statement for October, 2009.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that even though revenues are running behind budget projections, there is a slight upturn in revenues. He stated the City will have to see a turnaround quickly or there will need to be additional budget reductions made. The City is 7% behind in revenue projections at this time, but property taxes will be received the first of the year.

Councilmember Almquist commented that cities are mandated to have balanced budgets.

Councilmember Bunker inquired why the amount for grants is so much more this year and if it is because of stimulus funding.

Mr. Esplin replied that it is.

Councilmember Bunker inquired if the resource officer contribution is for the entire year.

Mr. Esplin replied that it is.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Pike to approve the financial statement.
SECOND The motion was seconded by Councilmember Almquist.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

St. George City Council Minutes
November 19, 2009
Page Two

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

BID OPENING:
Consider award of bid for crushing at the Reuse Center.

Purchasing Manager Connie Hood advised there were two respondents. She recommended award of the bid to the low bidder, Progressive Contracting, in an amount not to exceed $51,000. The City used $57,000 last year.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Bunker to award the bid as recommended.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Pike.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote as follows:

Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

Randy Halverson explained the material crushed is concrete and asphalt rubble which is disposed of by the City and private contractors. The cost savings is substantial and helps keep the community clean.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised the crushed material is then reused.

Councilmember Almquist urged citizens to also take advantage of the reuse center for depositing their green waste, which is then recycled.

ALCOHOL LICENSE LOCATION CHANGE:
Consider approval of a request to change the alcohol license for the Las Palmeras restaurant to a new location and request a proximity variance. Misael Aramis Romero, applicant.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the restaurant has an existing license and is just changing locations to the Green Valley area. The applicant is also requesting a proximity variance to the nearby LDS Church. There are already establishments in the same location which have alcohol licenses. Staff recommends approval.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Shakespeare to approve the change of location and proximity variance.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Bunker.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Pike - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

BEER LICENSE/LOCAL CONSENT:
Consider approval of a request for an on-premise beer license and local consent for a restaurant liquor license for Scaldoni?s LLC. Johnny Devivo, Jr., applicant.

This item was tabled as no representative was present.

EXTENSION OF LEASE:
Consider approval of an extension of the TSA occupancy lease at the existing airport.

St. George City Council Minutes
November 19, 2009
Page Three

City Manager Gary Esplin recommended approval. The extension is under similar terms as their existing lease and is valid until the new airport opens.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Almquist to approve the extension of lease.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Pike.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

UCAN PRESENTATION:
Presentation and approval of a Utah Communications Area Network grant.

City Manager Gary Esplin recommended that this item be tabled. Staff is still concerned about details that need to be worked out. It will probably be discussed at the next work meeting.

GRANT AWARD:
Consider approval of a grant award from the Department of Energy via the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Conservation Coordinator Ren? Fleming advised that the City has received preliminary notice of a grant award. The estimated cost share is $323,271. Some of this amount includes the $55,000 already spent on the energy efficiency program. The money will be used to get the energy efficiency rebate program going again and for expansion of Sun Smart and initial design of the methane gas collection field at the landfill. Current City programs qualify as the match for the grant. The breakdown of the $700,000 grant is $300,000 for the energy efficiency program, $180,000 for the Sun Smart program, and $200,000 for the bio gas collection field.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Pike to approve the grant award.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Almquist.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

EASEMENT DONATION:
Consider acceptance of a 10 ft. easement donation from Desert Canyons Development near the Airport Parkway south.

City Manager Gary Esplin recommended acceptance of the donation.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Bunker to accept the easement donation.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Almquist.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye


St. George City Council Minutes
November 19, 2009
Page Four

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

CERTIFICATION OF ANNEXATION PETITION:
Acceptance of City Recorder?s certification of petition for the St. George Airport Addition Annexation.

City Manager Gary Esplin recommended approval.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that 81% of the landowners have signed the petition.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Pike to accept the certification.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Almquist.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

SPECIAL EVENT PERMIT:
Consider a request for a special event permit and waiver of fees for the Southern Utah Down Syndrome Association Buddy Walk.

City Manager Gary Esplin recommended approval.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Shakespeare to approve the special event permit and waiver of the fees.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Almquist.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Pike - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Consider approval of the minutes of the November 5, 2009 City Council meeting.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Pike to approve the minutes as presented.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Bunker.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

RECESS:
Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a 15 minute recess. Upon conclusion of the recess, the meeting continued. Mayor Pro Tem Allen invited several more students in the audience to introduce themselves.




St. George City Council Minutes
November 19, 2009
Page Five

PUBLIC HEARING/AMEND GENERAL PLAN/ORDINANCE:
Public hearing to consider amending the General Plan Land Use Map to change the land use designation from Low Density Residential to Medium Density Residential on 5.92 acres located on Mesa Palms Drive north of Tonaquint Drive. Sunwest Development, applicant.

City Planner Ray Snyder presented an aerial vicinity map, zoning map, and general plan designation map of the site. He advised that in 2006 a final plat for this site was approved with 23 single family homes. A year ago a general plan amendment for a different property owner which would have allowed 46 dwellings was denied. He presented a conceptual layout and advised that the layout would be looked at later if the land use was changed. Each unit will have a garage. He presented a cross section of comparative house sizes and photos of the site. A letter from a traffic engineer indicates that vehicle trips will increase from 230 a day to 296 which is not a significant increase. He reviewed several e-mails received in opposition to the amendment. The Planning Commission recommended approval based on traffic not being an issue but it was not unanimous. Single family homes are proposed for the perimeter of the project for feathering with higher density to the inside of the project. The smaller units will be 1300-1500 sq. ft. There are two less units than last year?s request but narrower footprints. Because of the soil conditions, piers will be used.

Scott Bowler, Sunwest Development, representing the landowner Kent Heideman, advised that the units will be built on piers due to the blue clay and some of the single family homes will be as large as 2800 sq. ft. Mr. Heideman looked at the reasons the request failed last time and went to great lengths to remediate all problems. The narrower footprints mean shallower roof lines with smaller pitches and less blockage of view corridors. Traffic will be open to both Dixie Drive and Tonaquint Drive. Mesa Palms Drive is designed for 600 trips per hour at peak.

Councilmember Bunker commented she felt the area should remain in single family homes.

Mr. Bowler commented that feathering is being used. Beehive Homes is a high density project. The proposed project will be low density on the outside and medium density on the inside. There is significantly more yard in this plan than the two previous plans.

Councilmember Shakespeare commented her biggest concern was balance within the area without too much high and medium density in this particular area.

Mayor Pro Tem Allen closed the public hearing.

Councilmember Bunker commented it bothered her to have that much high density in the area.

Councilmember Pike commented there is a fair bit of separation because of the hill and he did not see the project negatively impacting the existing neighborhood. The project is designed with the highest density in the middle of the project.

Mayor Pro Tem Allen commented mixed density projects provide a variety of ownership and families.

Councilmember Almquist inquired about ownership of each lot and if there will be a HOA.

Mr. Bowler replied each lot will be individually owned and there will be a HOA.

Councilmember Almquist inquired about the perimeter low density lot sizes.

Mr. Bowler replied that they have not gotten that far yet.

Councilmember Shakespeare commented she was concerned about the balance of housing and what it would do to the neighborhood in time.




St. George City Council Minutes
November 19, 2009
Page Six

Councilmember Pike commented there is blue clay throughout this area and it is very expensive to build properly on blue clay. He stated he liked the opening of the view corridors and this is a good attempt to make the best of a tough parcel to develop.

Dan Steurer advised that a neighborhood meeting was held with most of those attending in favor of the project. Most of the neighborhood concerns were resolved.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that if the area stays single family the City will have little or no control over what is built and how the clay is dealt with. It is cost prohibitive to build properly on clay so a lot of corners are cut and result in failure. If this project is approved, the City Council should require that the developer build the single family units as well as the multi family units so there is control over the building on piers and the landscaping and handling of the clay. Otherwise there is the possibility of failures.

Councilmember Pike commented that the developer has built on piers before.

Mayor Pro Tem Allen commented that the City Council is charged with making its decision not on the economic investment of the applicant, but on the merits of the project.

Councilmember Shakespeare commented this could set a precedent and the City could end up with high and medium density in the entire area.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the City could require more open space with clustering, and whether the area is developed by single builders or one developer, the clay issue must be addressed. A general plan amendment does not mean the proposed plan is accepted.

Councilmember Almquist commented that part of the issue is not so much the zoning, but what is going to be built on the blue clay and how the City can control this for the sake of the neighborhood. It is best to have someone build on the clay who is committed to doing it properly. Sunwest could leave the area tomorrow and the general plan will have been changed to medium density, but as it stands now, this proposed project is a good solution.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the concept of single family homes is something that will have to be looked at when the specific project comes in for approval. It was assumed this is a single family zone, but it is a PD zone.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Pike to approve the general plan amendment as requested.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Almquist.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Bunker - no
Councilmember Shakespeare - no
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The motion carried.

(A roll call vote on this item was taken later on in the meeting. See below)

PUBLIC HEARING/AMEND CITY CODE/ORDINANCE:
Public hearing to consider amending Title 10, Chapter 25, St. George City Code, to require that at least 30% of the front yard area be landscaped for dwellings in single family residential zones.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson explained that presently single family zones are the only ones without landscape requirements. If a home currently has landscaping, it is considered conforming and cannot eliminate the landscaping and become non-conforming. Nearly all homes in St. George have landscaping. The question is if a home does not have landscaping, it if can be made to meet the ordinance. The


St. George City Council Minutes
November 19, 2009
Page Seven

proposed ordinance requires 30% of the front yard to be landscaped, with half of that 30% or 15% in live plants of some kind.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that non-conforming applies to structures, not landscaping. He advised that the City could make someone come into compliance with this ordinance.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson advised there is already a requirement for rental properties in single family zones to have landscaping. There is a gap in the ordinance which does not cover owner-occupied single family homes. The proposed ordinance is a minimal requirement. He advised that many cities have more stringent requirements for front yard landscaping.

Councilmember Pike commented his biggest concern is in terms of existing homes and if they will be made to conform. Also, if someone remodels their home, if a building permit is the trigger for compliance with the ordnance.

Mr. Nicholson replied that if someone is adding onto their home, landscaping the front yard is a reasonable requirement.

Councilmember Pike commented he did not like retroactive requirements although he likes the proposed ordinance and its intent.

Mr. Nicholson replied that zoning changes are not typically retroactive.

Councilmember Allen commented she had no problem with requiring front yard landscaping if someone is remodeling their home.

Councilmember Pike commented he had a problem with such a requirement unless the footprint of the home is being expanded.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that if the ordinance were not applied to existing dwellings, it will not solve the problem. He suggested an ordinance could be passed simply prohibiting the cementing of the entire front yard.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that no one can cement their entire yard now according to the present ordinance. If someone was in compliance and then took out their landscaping, the City would require them to meet the minimum ordinance.

Mayor Pro Tem Allen inquired who would track the enforcement.

Mr. Nicholson replied that it could be caught with the building permit.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented the ordinance allows one year for the landscaping to be put in, and there will be a way of checking this.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented that if a home that is occupied is remodeled, the one year from occupancy would not apply.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson suggested that an interior remodel would not require front yard landscaping but increasing the footprint of the home would.
An awning would not apply either - just enclosed space.

Councilmember Allen inquired about foreclosed homes which were vacant.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman replied that if a certificate of occupancy were obtained but never occupied, the one year time period would apply.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that if the home were occupied and then foreclosed upon, the City would not be able to do anything all across the City.

Councilmember Shakespeare inquired why landscaping could not be required when a property changes hands.



St. George City Council Minutes
November 19, 2009
Page Eight

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the City does not know when property changes hands and has no way of tracking that.

Councilmember Shakespeare commented she felt it was a problem to have one tree canopy take care of the live vegetation requirement and this would not add to the aesthetics of a neighborhood.

Mr. Nicholson reminded that this is a minimal ordinance.

Councilmember Bunker commented that many homes with decorative rock and only one tree can be beautiful.

Councilmembers Pike and Almquist commented they did not want the ordinance to be over-reaching.

Mayor Pro Tem Allen opened the public hearing.

John Bunderson commented he likes the idea of making things green but he does not like the wording of the ordinance and did not want to give up his rights to do what he wanted with his yard. He stated he was opposed to the ordinance.

Gay Boman commented that homes with sculptured sand and boulders may not be green but they can be artistic. She stated that yards with weeds are just as offensive as yards without any landscaping. She stated she objected to the tree part of the ordinance.

Duane Roundy commented the proposed ordinance is taking free agency away from property owners and he does not like to be told what to do.

Georgia Barker commented that she supported the ordinance as it is a minimal ordinance and leaves enough discretion to the property owner. However, there should be the ability in the ordinance to waive certain requirements if they are not a good fit.

John Bunderson commented he feels the ordinance restricts more than it helps and codes that are being broken now are not being enforced, such as doing business illegally out of a home. He stated he could not agree with the proposed ordinance as written.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the City has no way of knowing if businesses are illegally being run out of homes. Landscaping cannot be controlled by the business license ordinance.

Councilmember Almquist commented that the concept of having one tree in every yard started 16 years ago and is not asking too much. The proposed ordinance is minimal and helps with the public health, safety and welfare of the community.

Councilmember Shakespeare commented that a landscape ordinance protects, preserves and promotes nature in the City, which protects the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens.

Kendall Empey commented that citizens used to have water to water trees until the City stole the water for the golf courses, and then to tell the citizens to plant trees is a conflict of interest. The City keeps raising its rates and eliminates more water. He stated half of the trees in town were not growing because there was no longer water in the ditches. He stated there needed to be a lot of thought and consideration where the City wants to go in the future.

Carol Sapp, Executive Director of SUHBA, stated SUHBA supports tree growth and believes the ordinance is fair and supports it as written, but not retroactively. She stated more detail needed to be included in the ordinance. She suggested an ordinance be passed prohibiting 100% concrete in front yards. She stated she believed the City Council will make the right, least intrusive decisions while maintaining the quality of the community.




St. George City Council Minutes
November 19, 2009
Page Nine

Wesley Schmitt commented that landscaping raises property values and he did not think passage of the ordinance would remove anyone?s agency. He stated he felt the ordinance would make people happier and improve homes. He stated he felt it was a good ordinance and would help to make St. George a better place in which to reside.

There being no further public comment, Mayor Pro Tem Allen closed the public hearing.

Councilmember Bunker commented the City needed an ordinance such as this, however, she had a problem with the time limit in which to comply. She also did not believe the ordinance should be retroactive.

Councilmember Pike commented he still was not sure what would be required for remodels and additions to homes and would like to see this in writing.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented he did not feel the proposed ordinance was restricting freedom, but continuing what has been started by the pioneers, which is planting and beautifying the City. The City is not trying to be heavy-handed.

MOTION: A motion to table action on this item was made by Councilmember Pike.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Almquist.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised staff will bring back alternatives for the City Council?s consideration.

RESOLUTION:
Consider approval of a resolution implementing a new residential fee schedule for solid waste pick-up.

Finance Director Phil Peterson advised that effective January 1 there will be an increase in the amount paid to Allied and the amount the Solid Waste District takes for their administrative fee. The proposed new fee is $10.80 a month, up from $9.90 a month. This amounts to a $.70 increase to the City to cover its costs. This is a pass-through and the City does not make any money from this fee. Even with this increase, it is the lowest fee in all of the cities of Washington County.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Bunker to approve the resolution.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Shakespeare.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a roll call vote, as follows:

Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

ROLL CALL VOTE ON GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT BY ORDINANCE:
(Continued from above)

VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a roll call vote, as follows:

Councilmember Bunker - no
Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - no

St. George City Council Minutes
November 19, 2009
Page Ten

Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The motion carried.

ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION:
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Pike to adjourn to an executive session to discuss a land purchase.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Bunker.
VOTE: Mayor Pro Tem Allen called for a roll call vote, as follows:

Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Mayor Pro Tem Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

Upon conclusion of the executive session, the meeting adjourned.




________________________________
Gay Cragun, City Recorder