La Verkin City Council Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 6:00 p.m.

Council Chambers, 111 S. Main, LaVerkin, Utah


Present:  Mayor Pro Tem Ken Hooten, Council Members:  Randy Reeve, Micah Gubler, Richard Hirschi, and Chantelle Browning; Staff: Kyle Gubler, Derek Imlay, Troylinn Benson, Kevin Bennett, Officer Amber Crouse, and Christy Ballard; Public: Maureen Hersh, Deborah & Shirl Morrill, Adrienne & Bob Jahns, Ray Justice, Patty Wise, Kevin Allen, Humberto & Roseanna Alba, John Valenti, Russ & Lisa Chidester, Amy Curtis, Rose Cowan, Andradawn Hardy, Georgia & Chester Hardy, and Blair Gubler.


Mayor Kerry Gubler has been excused.


A.       Called to Order – Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was given by Humberto Alba at 6:00pm.  


B.        Appointments:

Planning Commission: Hugh Howard reappointment, Gary McKell-Alternate 1 and LaMar Gubler-Alternate 2.

Board of Adjustments: Bryan Bracken reappointment.

Water Board: Alan Olsen reappointment.


Motion was made by Councilmember Richard Hirschi to accept the names recommended for the various Boards and Committees, second by Councilmember Randy Reeve.  Browning-yes, Hirschi-yes, Gubler-yes, Reeve-yes.  Motion carried unanimously.


C.     Consent Agenda: (Items on the consent agenda may not require discussion.  These items will be a single motion unless removed at the request of the Mayor or City Council.)

1.       Declarations of conflict of interest

2.       Agenda

3.       Minutes: January 4, 2017 regular meeting minutes

4.       Review Invoices and Checks:  $115,781.14


Motion was made by Councilman Micah Gubler to approve the consent agenda as written, including the January 4, 2017 regular meeting minutes and checks and invoices for $115,781.14, second by Councilman Randy Reeve.  Roll Call Vote:  Browning-yes, Hirschi-yes, Gubler-yes, Reeve-yes.  Motion carried unanimously.


D.      Committee Reports:  

1.      Planning Commission-Councilman Hirschi reported the Planning Commission is working on an ordinance to allow RV Resorts in the Tourist Commercial Zone.  The public hearing for this item will be February 8, 2017.  They are also discussing a zone change from General Commercial to Residential per property owners request.  The draft Affordable Housing Plan is almost ready for City Council approval.     

2.      Water Board-There has not been a meeting.    

3.      Sewer Board-Blair Gubler reported the pipe is almost all in the ground for the Confluence Park project.  It should be ready for irrigation water by the time the water is back in the system.      

The crew will move to the project at the Lagoons once the Confluence Park project has been completed and from there move into the spring cleanout project.  This year it will begin in Hurricane.  La Verkin will be next year. 


Councilman Hooten asked how the rainfall was affecting the winter storage.


Blair replied there has been a drastic rise in the water.  Ash Creek SSD is a lagoon system so when it rains the ponds increase.  The bottom pond is winter storage.  They will start irrigating the fields within a week.    

4.      Fire District-Councilman Hirschi reported Hurricane and Washington City will be building a fire station at Coral Canyon.  Construction should begin shortly. 

The Fire District will be hiring 12 full time employees. 


Kyle reported the plans for the La Verkin Fire House expansion is at the engineering office. 

Once the remodel is complete La Verkin will house two full-time fire fighters 24-hours a day.   


E.      Citizen Comment & Request for Future Agenda Items:

Maureen Hersh-Lives at 140 North 500 West.  This is a continuation from the last time she spoke to the Councilmembers.  She had asked Kyle Gubler to drive her road and he did.  He was able to get an eye-opening view of what 500 West looks like.  She also passed around pictures for the Councilmembers to see.  She does not want the Councilmembers to forget about her, the road is bad.  She also included an extra copy of the petition from the last meeting.   

The citizens that live on 500 West don’t want curb and gutter, they only want the City to tear up what is there now and put black top down.  They just want to live on a road where they don’t have to do yearly repairs on their vehicles from the pot holes. 

One other item she would like to discuss is something Councilwoman Browning brought up during the last meeting, shade canopies for the equipment at the park.  She has two little boys she home schools and they go to the La Verkin City Park all the time.  Shade structures are a brilliant idea and she wondered if we could do a Go Fund Me account.  She is not sure what the City Council needs for approval so she looked up the information on it.  There is a website with a video explaining how it works.  There is also a 7.9% service fee.  The City could also go to local companies to see if they could accept donations.


Kevin Allen-There are engine brake restrictions coming down SR17 from Toquerville but coming down SR9 from Virgin there are no engine brake restrictions and they are needed.  The trucks coming down from Virgin and Springdale are construction vehicles and are going up loaded and coming down empty.  Most of the trucks he sees making all the noise using their engine breaks are locals.  We all know Interstate Rock hauls around junk trailers with broken trailer brakes.  Something needs to be done about all the noise they are making, it’s ruining the peace in our little valley. 

Subject two is the saturation of vacation homes in Zion View Estates.  How many homes are you going to allow to be vacation homes in the subdivision? 


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten suggested Mr. Allen go to the next DOT meeting that is in our area about the engine brake restrictions.

Kyle mentioned if the City brought it up to UDOT he thought it could be addressed.


Rose Alba-She moved into Zion View Estates six years ago, it was zoned single-family homes.  This was to be her forever home.  She was a single woman and it took every penny she had to purchase the home and she is now saturated with rentals.  Rentals are everywhere.  Hypothetically, next door to her three families could come in every two to three days with three families per home for how many people are allowed.  She doesn’t have a list of the rules and regulations for these rentals.  They just started popping up all over very secretively.  The gentleman was supposed to give the City her address and Kevin’s address to mail them notifications even though it had already been done.  It is amazing that neither her nor Kevin received notification but all the other neighbors within 300 feet did.  She feels really betrayed by this City and now they are looking at proposing an RV Park behind her.  She wants to live in a city that she can say she is so proud to be from and she is not proud to be from this city.  It feels like she is being raped and robbed of everything she has worked so hard all her life as a single woman for.  She thinks that eventually it will push her out.  They have built up their neighborhood to where anyone of them can go to each other and ask if they need help or share a meal with them.  They won’t even know the people next door to them and they are saturated in their area.  She feels the City needs to look at putting a limit on vacation rentals.  St. George doesn’t allow them, Hurricane has put a limit on them, Springdale has outlawed them.  There is a reason.  It is not all about the tax dollars.  She knows vacation rentals are taxed at a higher rate and she expects the City to make some money but think about the community.  She loves her little area.  Please don’t ruin it.


Russ Chidester-lives at 147 E 615 N.  He is in the same area as Mrs. Alba.  About four months ago, he went to the City to find out the regulations of putting a mother-in-law apartment in his garage, which is already there, slash bed and breakfast and he was denied.  He figured he was not zoned for that then suddenly he gets a letter in the mail saying the zoning is going to be changed for some guy that bought a house up the street and the RV Park.  He wonders what changed. 

Kevin explained there is not a zone change happening with the RV Resort.  Also, accessory apartments (mother-in-law) are not allowed in the City.  It is different from a bed and breakfast.  Vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts are allowed in virtually every zone in La Verkin City.


Lisa Chidester-She would like to talk about the alleged RV Resort.  She wondered if the land has already been purchased.  She had done extensive research for the Hurricane Valley Journal when it was running and Karl Wilson was the mayor.  She is going to request putting the RV Resort in Confluence Park.  Most of the things suggested for the Park is camping, picnicking, touring, bike trails, all kinds of things that people could be down there and enjoy.  It would be a nice RV camping spot with no homes around them to be bothered with.  She would like the City to think about proposing to the person wanting to open the RV Resort to use the 364-acres down there where there are no homes to be ruined. 


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten pointed out Washington County owns Confluence Park.  There is a Board that meets periodically to discuss things, it is an open meeting and the public is welcome.  There is currently a proposal for camping in the area conducive to the Master Plan for Confluence Park.


Debra Morrill-She lives in Zion View Estates.  There are two concerns she would like to address.  One is vacation rentals.  It is her understanding the City does not have an ordinance capping the number of vacation homes.  She would like to see the City pursue that.  Maybe compare it with the other communities around La Verkin.  She is surrounded by rentals.  While the rental homes are usually maintained a little bit better, she is concerned with what she is going to see as neighbors. 

Two, she will be attending the Planning Commission meeting next week for the RV Park.  She will be right next door to the RV Park and she has lived here long enough to see the previous RV Parks and how trashy they were.  She knows there are plans to make this Park an upscale one but what happens when it changes owners?   What guarantee does she have, being right next door to it, that it will be maintained and not be a public nuisance and safety hazard to her and her family.

She would like the Councilmembers to consider putting these items on a future agenda. 


Councilman Reeve suggested the people with vacation rental concerns attend Planning Commission meetings and bring up these items.


Debra asked if her voice would be recognized at Planning Commission meetings and Councilman Reeve assured her it would. 


Councilwoman Browning mentioned she heard a good idea of not just capping the number of vacation rentals but dividing the City up into certain areas and allowing only a specific number of rentals in each area.  This would prevent what is happening in Zion View Estates from happening in other areas. 


Rose Cowan-She lives at 700 N 16 E.  There are five homes that are vacation rentals in her area.  She doesn’t have very many neighbors.  She purchased a new home hoping for neighbors.  She asked what the limit was.  Is her entire neighborhood rentals?  It is not fair to her, people have already established what they are doing and she gets a letter in the mail.

She is also concerned about the RV Park as well.  If you drive around other areas in La Verkin there are no other ordinances going on, no clean up.  It’s just trashy.  It is not good. 

La Verkin City needs a dog park.  It would be good for our community.  There is plenty of area where our big park is.                  

It just needs a chain link fence, a stand for the plastic bags and some water.  It would be really simple.

She asked if any restaurants were coming into town.


Patty Wise-She lives in Zion View Estates as well.  This is the fourth or fifth council meeting she has attended and has noticed it is hard to hear when you are in the audience. 

The Councilmembers are so familiar with the issues that certain things have been discussed in passing, voted on then the meeting moved on.  She understands that is the nature of a city council meeting but she would like the Councilmembers to make more of a reference to what is being discussed on the agenda for the citizens so they can understand.  She has gone to the website to view the minutes and they are not always up to date.  She would like to know what is happening in her city.  Like the Confluence Park project, she hikes there all the time, she knew something was happening but wasn’t sure what it was.  This is something she would be interested in. 

She is interested in the City and would love to know what is happening. 


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten said he hoped people could understand what was being talked about during the meetings and mentioned there are certain items that are just routine.  He explained the reports are a good source of information.  The entities that report each have their own meetings and the public is welcome to attend. 

Citizens are also able to contact any of the Councilmembers if they have any questions. 


Chester Hardy-He has lived in La Verkin his entire life.  He lives on property that his grandpa owned.  He sees the new picture of the zoning and sure he is for any of it but the City needs to finish what gets started.  He saw a beautiful picture the City had and they convinced him the City was going to build a dog pound right in his driveway.  They were going to put in a nice asphalt cul-de-sac and a view area for picnics.  He still has the pictures that were presented to him at a city council meeting.  It hasn’t been completed.  They are hauling dirt, gravel, asphalt, and large pieces of cement over there and dumping them off.  Spreading them out and hauling the dirt back off.  They have been doing this for about 5 years now and they haven’t completed what they started with that project.  He would like to see them complete it.  It is still dirt over there and when it rains it gets very muddy and the mud gets all over his cement driveway. 

He would like to see stuff down around his property.  He can see making the property commercial but he feels the land owner should have something to do with it. 


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten pointed out La Verkin is a small town with limited funds to work with and with projects like that it always comes down to the money.  


Amy Curtis-She has little kids and in the evenings during the summer they do not go to the La Verkin Park.  The sun has been beating down on the equipment all day and there are no trees to shade them.  In the evenings they go to parks in Hurricane because the kids have been in the house all day.  It would be nice to utilize our Park more, even if it had only a partial shade.  The equipment gets too hot.  The shades have lifetime warranties, she knows this because the PTO has talked about getting them for the school.   

Is there a place online where meeting information is posted?  She knew about Council meetings but not the Planning Commission meetings and she would like to attend.  She suggested placing the information on the bill. 


Kyle explained the information is posted on the La Verkin City website and the Public Notice website. 


Andradawn Hardy-lives at 207 E 630 N in Zion View Estates.  Are vacation rentals approved or not approved?

She is for restricting the semi-truck brakes. 

Another suggestion for UDOT is, the kids like to cross the road there and one day a child will die there. It is not safe, it is a 40 mile an hour road. 

She would also like a water park or splash pad for the kids at the Park area.  There is plenty of space.     


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten replied there is a process through the City to obtain a business license for vacation rentals.  As far as zoning, it is his understanding limiting vacation rentals is an issue before the Planning Commission.  Once they have a recommendation it will come to the City Council for approval. 

He appreciates everyone voicing their concerns but would like them to know this issue is one the Councilmembers are aware of.

He stated he agrees with the danger of the children crossing there and mentioned if there are enough people that voice their concerns to UDOT, something may be done about it.   


Kyle explained vacation rentals are currently allowed in the City if they follow the process.


Adrian Jahns-she lives on Main Street.  She has addressed the City Council twice asking for the emails to begin again.  She used to receive an email once a month about all the things that were happening in that month.  It was a simple email listing things like dumpster days, when the different meetings were and special events.  She knows the information is posted in several different places but she also knows most people don’t know that.

She has lived in La Verkin for 5 years and loves it.  They have set up a neighborhood watch and within that neighborhood watch they have representatives that attend City Council and Planning Commission meetings.  It has been awesome because they know what is going on.  She recommended Zion View Estates do something similar along with other areas of La Verkin.  She would like to see more publicity and public input, there are important things at every meeting.


Someone from the audience asked who controlled how many vacation rentals there are?  He feels it is getting out of hand in Zion View Estates. 


Councilman Reeve responded the ordinances control that and right now there is nothing restricting them.  That is what the Planning Commission is discussing.  He mentioned vacation rentals were discussed in the Planning Commission for a year and a half then the City Council discussed it for several months and very little was said by the public.    


F.      Business:

1.       Discussion and possible action regarding Founders Day.   

Martha Gubler suggested combining Founders Day with Pioneer Day.  Founders Day is a great thing to celebrate our town and the founders of it.  She hopes it helps bring pride to our City and seems to go along with Pioneer Day.


Kyle explained the City has had Founders Day for two years.  Mayor Gubler suggested combining it with Winterfest.

The options are; not having a Founders Day celebration, leaving it how it is, combining the celebration with Winterfest or combining it with Pioneer Day. 

He agrees with Martha that Pioneer Day makes more sense to combine with.

The LDS Church oversees the Pioneer Day celebration.  He has talked with the local leaders of the LDS Church and they are in favor of collaborating with the City. 


Councilwoman Browning mentioned Pioneer Day is one of the few holidays staff has off and she would not want to take that away from them.  There are already issues with comp time and flex time.


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten thought it would require less work for the staff because the LDS Church would still oversee the celebration. 


Councilwoman Browning stated if it does remain volunteer based and was completely taken care of without any staff man hours she is in favor of combining it with Pioneer Day because it does go along with the theme.  Otherwise she is fine with not having a Founders Day.   


Councilman Hirschi agreed with Councilwoman Browning.


Councilman Gubler said the idea of combining Founders Day stemmed from reducing the cost and all the man-hours it was requiring.  He feels the two choices need to be either combining with Pioneer Day or cancelling Founders Day.


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten is in favor of combining Founders Day with Pioneer Day.  He explained the events during Pioneer Day would continue but one of the City’s founders would be honored. 


Kyle said City staff helps very little, if at all, with the Pioneer Day Celebration whereas they handle all of Founders Day.  If the Council would like Kyle to direct the committee over the Pioneer Day/Founders Day celebration to handle the entire event, he would do that.  


Derek said combining the holidays would be beneficial to his crew. 


The Councilmembers agreed to combine Founders Day with Pioneer Day and directed Kevin to amend the Founders Day Resolution.   


2.      Discussion and possible action to approve Ordinance No. 2017-01; An ordinance amending the Zoning Code and the Zoning Map of and for the City of La Verkin, making minor clarifications in the Tourist/Resort Commercial zone, and establishing or revising the boundaries of the existing commercial zones.  

Councilman Reeve suggested a presentation on this item so the citizens attending the meeting are aware of what is being discussed. 


Kevin explained there were some concerns with how some of the properties in the downtown commercial areas were zoned.  The Planning Commissioners felt some of those parcels would be better as Retail Commercial instead of General Commercial and vice versa. 

The public hearing was held for this item at the same time as the proposed Transition Zone and a zone change on 480 S from Residential to Tourist Commercial.  There was a lot of negative input for the Transition Zone and the proposed Residential zone change.  Those items are not part of this ordinance.

            The other item this ordinance addresses is a concern the Planning Commission had over the vagueness of some of the language of allowed uses in the Tourist Commercial Zone.  Particularly automobile and rental agencies.  The Commissioners didn’t want a car lot in a tourist zone.  This ordinance will allow sales and rentals of items conducive to and support the tourist industry in the Tourist Zone.            


Motion was made by Councilman Richard Hirschi to approve the Ordinance No. 2017-01, an ordinance amending the Zoning Code and the Zoning Map of and for the City of La Verkin, making minor clarifications in the Tourist/Resort Commercial Zone, and establishing or revising the boundaries of the existing commercial zones, second by Councilman Randy Reeve.  Roll Call Vote:  Browning-yes, Hirschi-yes, Reeve-yes, Gubler-yes.  Motion carried unanimously.


Mayor Pro Tem Ken Hooten will abstain from voting for this meeting.       


3.      Discussion and possible action to approve Resolution No. 2017-01; a resolution approving the designation of two representatives to serve on the Administrative Control Board of the Ash Creek Special Service District for calendar year 2017 and for such time thereafter until successors thereof have been designated and appointed.

Councilwoman Browning talked to Mayor Gubler about changing committees and was told no.  She wondered what committees the other Councilmembers were on and how many years they have been there. 


Councilman Hooten and Mayor Gubler sit on the Ash Creek SSD Board.  Councilman Hooten has been on that Board for 1 year.  Councilman Hirschi has been on the HVFD Board for 1 year.  Councilman Randy Reeve has been on the WCSWSSD for 3 years and Councilwoman Browning has been on the Mosquito Abatement Control District for 3 years. 


Councilman Reeve mentioned all the assignments were on the agenda in the past.  He would like them listed again. 


Kevin suggested listing the assignments as a statement after the agenda so each item would not need to be reported on. 


Councilwoman Browning would like to change boards/committees to have more of an understanding of how the different aspects of the City work to help make an informed decision. 

She would like to be on either the Water Board, HVFD or Ash Creek SSD and wondered if any of the Councilmembers would like to switch with her. 


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten mentioned he thought the assignments would need approval from Mayor Gubler. 


Kevin explained Ash Creek SSD is the only entity that notified the City they needed the resolutions. 


Blair explained the mayor from each city in the District’s limits is on the Board for Ash Creek SSD.  The councilmember is chosen by either the city council or the mayor of each community.


There was a discussion on whether to table business items 3-6 or vote on each item.        


Motion was made by Councilwoman Chantelle Browning to table Business item 3, 4, 5, and 6 for the next City Council meeting, second by Councilman Randy Reeve.  Reeve-yes, Gubler-yes, Browning-yes, Hirschi-no.  Motion passes.


            7.  Discussion and possible action on the Capital Improvement Priority List.

Kyle separated the Capital Improvement List into different categories based on where the money comes from.


Councilwoman Browning would like to move shade structure for Wanlass Park from item 4 under Parks & Recreation to item 2 with everything moving down one number.  The other Councilmembers agreed.   


Kyle stated moving forward, the City will include a shade structure for all new playground equipment.  


Councilman Gubler suggested moving the Irrigation System from item 5 to item 4 under Roads & Infrastructure.  The irrigation system affects the entire community.  500 West will require more than asphalt, the entire infrastructure will need to be replaced. 


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten would like to leave 500 West as item 4.  It is a health and safety issue, especially for the children on that street.


The Roads & Infrastructure list will remain as listed.  


              8.  Discussion regarding employee wages.

Kyle stated he was not able to get all the comparisons.  He found a company that completes this type of comparison, it does require an annual subscription. 

Kyle will get more information on the company. 


G.     Mayor & Council Reports:   

Director of Operations-Derek Imlay

Derek emailed his report to the Councilmembers.  It included pictures of the different water breaks they have been dealing with.  His overall budget is still fine but the maintenance line item is about $10,000 over from all the breaks. 

The meter read system is not working on about 100 meters.  The City is trying to replace those but until that has been completed the crew is manually reading the meters.


Browning-Nothing to report. 


Hirschi-Nothing to report.   


Gubler-Would like the Planning Commission to move forward with re-evaluating vacation rentals. 


Reeve-Nothing to report. 


Hooten-Reported vacation rentals were discussed when he was a new councilmember.  He would like to mention that times are hard financially for certain people, specifically senior citizens who need extra income to keep their homes. 

La Verkin does not allow for boarding but as a people, we should be looking at that and deciding what we could do to help them.  Providing them with opportunities is a good thing.       

He did have a vacation rental on his street and never had a problem with it.  He has talked with Chief Lee about vacation rentals and Chief Lee reported he has not received any complaints regarding vacation rental property.   


H.  Adjourn:

Motion was made by Councilman Micah Gubler to adjourn, second by Councilman Richard Hirschi.  Hirschi-yes, Browning-yes, Gubler-yes, Reeve-yes.  Motion carried unanimously at 7:53pm.



            Minutes were taken on behalf of the City Recorder by Christy Ballard.

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