City Council Minutes

Thursday, February 26,2015

FEBRUARY 26, 2015, 4:00 P.M.

Mayor Jon Pike
Councilmember Gil Almquist
Councilmember Jimmie Hughes
Councilmember Michele Randall
Councilmember Joe Bowcutt
Councilmember Bette Arial
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Christina Fernandez

Mayor Pike called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was led by Councilmember Bowcutt and the invocation was led by Reverend Jimi Kestin.

The Councilmembers toured the City’s Tree Farm. They then returned to the conference room at the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Parks Manager Larry Shane handed out the Southern Utah Guide to Trees. He showed the Council tags that will be put on City trees to give information on the trees and make it known that they are City trees. He mentioned a letter that was sent by Support Services Marc Mortensen to businesses regarding shade trees; the feedback has been good. A $10,000 grant was received and used to mark the trees. He explained that a tree work order gives staff a way to categorize the trees, which is done using Cityworks.

Councilmember Almquist inquired about Cottonwood Cove Park.

Mr. Shane stated that things are doing well there; however, a number of trees were lost during last year’s winter.

Councilmember Almquist inquired about the new Cottam Cove wall along River Road; he asked if the developer brought in the tree plan. He believes they are all under sized.

Assistant Parks Manager Shane Moore stated that he believes so; he will look at the plans.

Mr. Shane commented that boy scouts have been replanting trees that died last winter.

Mayor Pike mentioned that the DiFiore Center has a tree along Main Street that is close to being in the right of way.
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February 26, 2015
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Mr. Moore explained that Tim Hopkinson felt it was not in the right of way and spoke to the owner.

Mayor Pike asked how that is determined.

Mr. Moore stated that he is not sure; he believes you would go with the slope.

Councilmember Almquist explained that a surveyor would not go to the slope to determine property ownership.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that it also depends on the hillside. It may not be the City’s and it may not be theirs. State law prohibits the City from going onto someone’s property to prune trees.

Mayor Pike asked Councilmember Almquist to look into that. He then inquired about the businesses on Bluff Street.

Mr. Shane commented that some of the business owners have come to the Shade Tree Board meeting and rectified the situation.

Wastewater Manger Ben Ford mentioned water samples that were on the table. He explained where they were taken from.

Water Services Director Scott Taylor stated that staff monitors nitrogen and phosphorus levels.

Mr. Ford explained that the phosphorus levels are approximately 1.5; however the target is 1.

Mr. Taylor showed a photo of the plant and explained the treatment process.

The Councilmembers then toured the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Wayne Pace explained that the objective of the project is to open the Sandstone Quarry for visitation. The quarry is where most the stones came to construct many historical buildings. He showed a copy of a survey completed by Rosenberg Associates. There are two critical issues, one of which is the trail itself. There was concern with his initial proposal because of the golf balls that may hit over in that area. He and Councilmember Almquist toured the location and identified a more appropriate one. Although it is clearly designated as City Property, what happens in the area is decided by the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. They object to this proposal as it would create disturbance to the property. He meets with their technical committee in a week.

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City Manager Gary Esplin stated that his concern is who is going to accept liability when a person walking on the trail is hit by a golf ball. On each City golf course, there are signs along the cart path stating that a fee is required and visitors are not allowed to walk on the path.

Mr. Pace suggested putting a notice at the fourth tee that reads “Do not hit golf balls off the fairway when individuals are walking on the quarry path. When walkers have moved out of your line of sight, please feel free to drive a golf ball toward the sixth green.”

City Manager Gary Esplin stated that it is a timing issue as people walking on the path are not visible from the tee. The City has the obligation to mitigate risk. Although he believes this is a great idea, there is a liability risk. He stated that golfer to golfer is different than golfer to hiker that has been introduced after the golf course has been built.

Mr. Pace commented that he is convinced that with the sight he is suggesting, if a golfer is alerted, it would minimize any problems.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised notes are put on plats when they are next to a golf course for a reason. A sign will not work with regards to liability. If someone gets hit, it is tough to defend. If a trail is in its natural state there is immunity; however once a trail is improved, there is liability. He does not see how to avoid liability if it is approved for the area.

Support Services Marc Mortensen explained that the issue with the HCP is any trail. Their preference would be to have no trails in this area as it is considered critical habitat. They do like the alternative proposal of erecting an interpretive plaque on Owens Loop overlooking the quarry.

City Manager Gary Esplin stated that a permit would not be issued if the golf course was proposed to be built today. He advised the property is not owned by the City, it is owned by the BLM with the City having a Recreation & Public Purpose grant to use the property.

Mr. Pace explained that he met with the BLM and the Tortoise Reserve; they say it is City property.

Councilmember Bowcutt commented if the HCP does not want a trail, it is a mute point to know where the access is.

Mr. Pace commented he does not think there will be an issue.

Mr. Mortensen explained that Bob Sandberg told him if they want to access the quarry that is not in the reserve; that is okay.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested they make their application to the TAC.
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Mr. Pace stated that he is meeting with them next Thursday. He commented that parking is not an issue.

Councilmember Almquist stated that ultimate compromise is to take a piece of standstone with pictures at the top as an example of what they would see if they went down the hill.

Richard Koehler asked if during the day, times can be reserved to make it available for walkers to be on the trail

City Manager Gary Esplin asked who pays for the loss of revenue when players are not allowed on the course. There are golfers on the course all the time all year long. He asked why not do what Councilmember Almquist suggested. The proposed trail is introducing people to the maintenance shed.

Mr. Pace commented that the trail will not interfere with maintenance.

Mayor Pike mentioned the first step is the meeting next week. Nothing can be done without their okay.

Mr. Pace commented that they have the funds for the preparation. In the original plan he presented, the City would build a few steps. Additionally, the City would build the switchback out of natural stone.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman explained that the yard would need to be fenced in. That was done at Southgate. He does not know if you can net for that.

Mayor Pike commented that Legal and Golf Course staff would have to determine where there would need to be protection for walkers and to avoid a lawsuit.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the notice Mr. Pace suggested would put the liability on the City. There are other ways to explain the Temple Quarry.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that people are not allowed to walk on golf courses because of liability issues.

Councilmember Almquist mentioned that Mr. Pace has put a lot of effort into this proposal. He feels that can they can recreate a location without it being exactly where it happened, letting people know of the historical value.

Mr. Pace read a portion of the minutes from the HCP meeting. He explained that the other issue is the entrance. He proposes to create a park-like entrance to the area which they would not be able to cover the cost to build.

The consensus of the Councilmembers is for Mr. Pace to obtain permission from the HCP and return for further discussion.

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February 26, 2015
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Councilmember Bowcutt commented that the Council’s decision is contingent on what the HCP says.

City Manager Gary Esplin stated that prior to approval; liability and intrusion on the golf course would have to be figured out. The entrance that Parks Planning has planned would be a nice area to have a CCC monument with pictures.

Melynda Thorpe introduced members of the Downtown Merchants Association and handed out an information packet on the George Streetfest on Main. She read the event purpose as stated in the information packet. The event will focus on Main Street, St. George Boulevard and Tabernacle. After meeting with City events staff, it would be important to start on lower Main Street and grow into moving the stage near George’s Corner. She outlined the event map. The event is proposed to start in June.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the event may conflict with the Electric Theater when it opens.

Ms. Thorpe stated that her goal is to recreate the environment of the community when it was first settled. The pioneers gathered downtown. She spoke about branding for the event. There are two programs that go along with the event. One of which is Passport, which is a booklet that will have coupons in the back. Participants will receive stamps for visiting shops and get a prize for turning in the Passport. The second program is the Jazz Garden at Ancestor Square, a wine, cheese and beer garden with a jazz music. They will also have a children’s treasure hunt. She has been collaborating with Southern Utah Live to live stream the concert and upload an archive. This will provide additional marketing. Currently, she is producing a show called George that will be filmed on the first Friday of every month at George’s Corner. During the show, the host will interview the band and talk about this event as well as community issues. She showed a poster that they will use for the event.

Mayor Pike commented that he would like the Electric Theater to be a hangout for Dixie State University.

Ms. Thorpe stated that they will occasionally bring in a band that identifies to high school and college students.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that there is not a lot of retail variety downtown right now.

Nicki Richards explained that all of the downtown merchants want more vibrant energy. They have all agreed to stay open later for this event. The biggest problem is that there are not a lot of retail shops downtown.

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Ms. Thorpe asked for the City’s support with the following:
• Block off Main Street from 200 North to St. George Boulevard to Tabernacle. For the first six months, they propose keeping the event on Main Street between St. George Boulevard and Tabernacle.
• Blocking off the street and provide traffic control.
• Provide stage and PA sound systems as well as flood lighting at the stage.
• Provide power to Main Street for vendor access.
• Provide fire barrels during cold months with firefighters to supervise.
• Provide promotion on the City’s website and digital billboard.
• Sponsor the event with a contribution of $2,000 per month.

Their goal is to create an event that becomes self sufficient in one year; not be reliant on the City long term. They have requested funding from the Convention and Visitors Bureau; they are assisting as is the Downtown Merchants Association. Additionally, they will need help with porta-potties.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that there is a problem with the request for power; the City cannot provide power on both sides of Main Street. He commented that the downtown is the most critical area of the city as far as trying to save areas. Another issue is that Tabernacle is dark, lights are needed there. The cost for City assistance is at least $4,000 a month for the City to sponsor this event. He is not opposed to the request. This is a lot like First Night and more funds were budgeted for that. Because the City sponsors events 46 weekends throughout the year, he cannot commit to funds tonight. Staff is working on a list of sponsored events that will show what the City’s involvement is. He believes the white lights on the trees should remain on all year. The City has spent a lot of money on downtown to generate traffic in the area. There have been numerous requests from groups that want to use the Electric Theater.

Mayor Pike stated that if the Council is supportive of this proposal, they could start something now.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that funds for downtown can be looked at during the budgeting process.

The consensus of the Councilmembers is to support this event.

Mr. Mortensen explained that it takes four hours to put up the stage. The street would have to be closed at 2:00 p.m.

Ms. Thorpe commented that they will return to request approval for the Jazz Garden as they would like to start in April. They created a plan that could be independent of City resources.

Mr. Mortensen stated that there is a problem with timing. It does not seem to work out with the Division of Alcohol and Beverage Control, timing is too tight.

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Councilmember Hughes mentioned that City Attorney Shawn Guzman secured $2,500 from Randy Fields to train animals at the Animal Shelter. He asked if the Councilmembers knew of a citizen at large that could be appointed to the Animal Shelter Board.

Mayor Pike mentioned that he attended the MPO meeting. A decision has to be made on the Mall Drive underpass. He explained that there are less expensive ways to do the underpass if federal dollars do not have to be involved.

Councilmember Randall mentioned emails she received on the signs on the Sheffield properties on River Road advertising commercial and the Red Hills Golf Course clubhouse.

City Manager Gary Esplin stated that it will cost approximately $500,000 build a new clubhouse. It cannot be upgraded; a new one would have to be built.

Councilmember Almquist stated that he is concerned with the zone change that was approved for Mall Drive near the bridge. He is worried about the height of signage.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that the Planning Commission approved two signs. The developer wants a large, tall sign on Mall Drive and 3000 East and monument signs next to the roadway along Mall Drive. It is a PD; therefore, the Council does not have to allow it. Another developer is coming in for a zone change to build a Smith’s; they will probably have to do a development agreement.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman stated that the Planning Commission struggled with the fact that 3000 East is a different roadway than Riverside Drive because of the homes.

The meeting then adjourned.

Christina Fernandez, City Recorder