Regular Meeting

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 6:00pm

City Council Chambers, 111 South Main Street

LaVerkin, Utah 84745


Present:  Chair Anna Andregg; Commissioners: Allen Bice, Hugh Howard, Sherman Howard, and Karl Benson; Staff:  Derek Imlay, Kyle Gubler, Kevin Bennett and Christy Ballard; Public: John & Rose Valenti, Doug Stewart, Gwen Moon, Rich Murset, La Mar Gubler, Rita Bice, and Sharon Wise.


I.             Call to Order:  Chair Anna Andregg called the meeting to order at 6:00pm.  The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance was given by Rita Bice.


Hugh Howard arrived at 6:02pm


II.          Approval of the Minutes:

Motion was made by Commissioner Allen Bice to approve the March 8, 2017 regular meeting minutes as written, second by Commissioner Sherman Howard.  Bice-yes, Hugh Howard-yes, Sherman Howard-yes, Andregg-yes, Benson-yes.   Motion carried unanimously.


III.       Approval of the Agenda:

Motion was made by Commissioner Hugh Howard to approve the agenda as written, second by Commissioner Allen Bice.  Bice-yes, Hugh Howard-yes, Sherman Howard-yes, Andregg-yes, Benson-yes.   Motion carried unanimously.


IV.             Reports:

1.      Beautification/Trails Committee-Commissioner Bice reported current projects were reviewed along with the remaining 2017 Dumpster Days.      

2.      City Council-No one to report.     

3.      Director of Operations-Nothing to report. 


V.                 Business:

1.      Discussion and possible action to set a public hearing for the preliminary and final plats for a proposed one lot subdivision of property with the Tax ID # LV-136-F-1-A located at the north end of 400 West and 400 South, for April 26, 2017.

Commissioner Bice stated he is involved in this property so will be abstaining from the discussion and voting. 


Kevin explained the address is listed wrong, it is 400 West and 400 North. 


Derek reported staff is in favor of the setting the public hearing.  However, there are a few corrections that will be made to the plats.  The final mylar is missing the water authority signature line.  The city council line will be changed to La Verkin City Council and a fence line detailed on the mylar that will be removed.


Motion was made by Commissioner Hugh Howard to set a public hearing for the preliminary and final plats for the proposed one lot subdivision of property with the Tax ID # LV-136-F-1-A located at the north end of 400 West and 400 North for April 26, 2017, second by Sherman Howard.  Sherman Howard-yes, Hugh Howard-yes, Andregg-yes, Benson-yes and Bice-abstained.  Motion passed. 


2.      Discussion and possible action to set a public hearing for the preliminary and final plats for a proposed one lot subdivision of property with the Tax ID # LV-159-C-1-A located east and west of 101 E 500 N, for April 26, 2017.

Derek explained this item will separate an 11-12-acre parcel on the east side of the 101 E 500 N (La Quinta hotel) from a 2.7-acre piece along Main Street. 

The road from Main Street will not be included in the split.   


Motion was made by Commissioner Hugh Howard to set a public hearing for April 26, 2017 for the proposed one lot subdivision of property with the Tax ID # LV-159-C-1-A located east and west of 101 E 500 N, second by Commissioner Allen Bice.  Benson-yes, Bice-yes, Andregg-yes, Hugh Howard-yes, Sherman Howard-yes.  Motion carried unanimously. 



3.      Discussion and possible action to set a public hearing for the amended subdivision preliminary and final plat of Crestview Village No. 3 providing for a one lot split of property with the Tax ID # LV-CR-3-13 and the address of 585 N 120 W, for April 26, 2017.  

Derek reported the property would continue to meet the requirements for the R-1-8 zoned subdivision. 


Motion was made by Commissioner Hugh Howard to set the public hearing for the proposed amended subdivision of Crestview Village No. 3 providing for a one lot split of property with the Tax ID # LV-CR-3-13 and the address of 585 N 120 W for April 26, 2017, second by Commissioner Allen Bice.  Sherman Howard-yes, Hugh Howard-yes, Andregg-yes, Bice-yes, Benson-yes.  Motion carried unanimously. 


4.       Discussion on possible allowance of a tent only campground and on-site manager residence in the General Commercial Zone.

Commissioner Andregg stated she does not feel it is an appropriate use for the property. 


Commissioner Bice is in favor of a tent campground but doesn’t feel the middle of a business district is the best place for it.     


Commissioner Benson agreed. 


Commissioner Hugh Howard said he too is in favor of a tent campground but also questions the location.


Commissioner Sherman Howard reported he is neutral.  There are both pros and cons to the project. 


Gwen Moon-This property has been her front yard for over 30 years. Whatever happens there affects her privacy and peaceful lifestyle.  She finds the prospect of having a well monitored, open, natural, park like environment quite comforting.  She understands those in opposition to the project may be remembering the old KOA Campground and the ghettos near the junction many years past.  These unsavory situations were the direct result of slumlords who owned and were allowed to operate.  Rich Murset is no slumlord.  His properties are an attribute any community would be proud of.  They are squeaky clean and beautifully maintained, a reflection of his hospitality, kindness, and respect for his neighbors as well as his guests.

Campers of today have evolved with the times, they are no longer the subculture.  Today’s campers are rather elite.  They are well educated, financially secure, environmentally conscious, respectful, world class travelers. 

There is an untapped source of revenue here that is environmentally safe, clean, healthy, and lucrative.  It would bring a fresh infusion of energy to our community.  Why wouldn’t we want them?  Are we so afraid of the past that we miss the opportunities of the present and the future?  Maybe we need to reconsider this matter.


Sharon Wise-She lives next door to one of Mr. Mursets rentals and kiddy-corner to the property.  She wishes all her neighbors kept their yards as clean and neat as he does.  She has never had any problems from the people.  She understands the Commissioners are discussing tents but she wants to tell them how great Mr. Murset is.  He always asks her how things are going or if there are any problems with his renters.  She usually only sees them in the evenings and they are off again in the mornings. 

She knows Mr. Murset will have this thumb on the tents and not let things go awry.  It will be well maintained and a nice addition to our community.  She thinks it is well needed.  There are a lot of people that come to the area to hike and they want a place to stay that is nice, clean, open, and friendly.  She feels it would be a nice asset to our community. 


Doug Stewart-He is a neighbor of Rich and is in the short-term rental market.  He hasn’t heard any specific objections to the tent campground other than just not being for it.  All of us as kids camped.  He is not sure what people are fearing from campers.  It’s not like there is a thriving industry there that would be upset with a campfire. 

Getting back to the property manager and property rights, the individual that holds the license is responsible for the behavior of the people.  If the City doesn’t like what is happening they can fine the property owner. 

He doesn’t understand what they have in their minds that qualifies as a camper today.  If you go to Zion, there are people from all over the world that have the money to stay where ever they want and they prefer to be outside. 

He has been to several meetings and hasn’t heard any legitimate reason why campers are somehow less than any other short-term rental person.

He knows Rich well and knows he takes care of stuff.  He wonders if this isn’t a semantic issue more than a real one based on any kind of knowledge or a medium of fear of something that may not be what you really think it is.

If the Commissioners don’t feel like this is a good area for a tent campground, where in the City do they think is? 


Commissioner Andregg said the property has a narrow dirt road that is almost a one-way road and is in the middle of the Commercial Zone they are trying to develop. 

The Commission had denied a tent site previously. 


Commissioner Bice pointed out the way La Verkin looks right now isn’t how it will look in 20 years.  We are right at the cusp of change.  If it were 10 years ago, it might not be inappropriate in the middle of our town but what we zone there now will be there for a long time and it is not what he sees the future of La Verkin State Street looking like.

Commissioner Andregg stated the decision stands at 4 not in favor and 1 undecided.


5.      Discussion on vacation rentals in La Verkin City.

Kevin explained there was an email sent to staff, Commissioners and Councilmembers listing some concerns with existing vacation rentals in town.  He looked at only the coversheet of the email and there were some good points made.  It was discussed internally with staff in attempt to deal with enforcement and to make sure enforcement was proper.

Attached to the email was a list of supposed vacation rentals obtained from VRBO, Airbnb, etc.  He did not look at the list and has asked staff to refrain from looking at it as well.  The reason being there was a State Statute adopted and signed by the Governor that will go into effect May 1, 2017.  While it doesn’t govern cities right now it would not be good to go into court having done exactly what the Legislature said not to do. 

The bill states if there are violations of the code it can be reported.  We can investigate, we can site and we can enforce the code.  What we cannot do is go to an internet advertising site to find who those people are or use the site as the basis of the intent to operate a business.  The City also cannot pass an ordinance prohibiting people from advertising on those various sites.

Kevin included a copy of the statute in the packet. 

            Kevin mentioned staff is concerned about some of the commercial part of La Verkin.  When the ordinance was originally passed, the feeling was it would be okay in the commercial areas however, now vacation rentals are free to take over large sections of the income producing areas of our community with little guidelines and regulations. 

There should be some discussion on if that should be tailored to Tourist Commercial, since that is a tourist oriented activity. 


Commissioner Hugh Howard asked if La Verkin had penalties. 


Kevin answered a zoning violation is a class B misdemeanor.  A business license issue can be brought before the City Council and possibly have the business license revoked.  Operating without a license is a $50 fine and the police can site them. 


Commissioner Hugh Howard feels the ordinance needs to have some teeth to it regarding penalties for operating without a license.     


Commissioner Andregg reminded the Commissioners the last meeting ended with the discussion of the percentage amount for each area.  Derek included in the packet a breakdown of the areas with total number of houses and the different percentage amount totals.  There is also a breakdown of different zones within the areas if the Commissioners would like to adjust the percentage for each zone.   


Kyle mentioned people have contacted him concerned with the number of vacation rentals La Verkin is getting.  One person suggested making a requirement of people owning a vacation rental in the residential areas of

La Verkin need to be a resident of La Verkin.                         


Commissioner Hugh Howard asked about the number of new vacation rental business licensees.


Christy replied there has been several people concerned with the possible changes and have turned in a business license application.     


Commissioner Hugh Howard is not against putting a limit on the number of vacation rentals in La Verkin but would hate to see people get a license just to secure a spot. 


Commissioner Bice would like the percentage set at 5% per area mentioning area 1 at 5% would allow 14 homes versus 28 at 10%.  He doesn’t feel separating the zones in each area should affect the percentage amount.


Commissioner Hugh Howard stated he is fine with 5% if the number of allowed vacation rentals will increase if a new subdivision is added to an area. 


Commissioner Sherman Howard stated he is fine with 5% and feels the market will regulate itself. 


Kyle mentioned the percentage does not need to affect the commercial zones.


Kevin said the Commissioners may want to look at which commercial zones they feel vacation rentals are appropriate in.


Commissioner Bice pointed out the map in the packet has excluded the commercial zones.  The Commissioners may need to revisit the commercial zones but for the percentage amount, they have been removed. 


Kyle suggested allowing vacation rentals in the Tourist Commercial zone so they are around similar things and not allow them in General Commercial. 


Kevin said the percentage number can be changed in the future but he suggests starting low and increasing if necessary. 


Commissioner Benson said vacation rentals are only an issue in one area, La Verkin doesn’t really have a problem.  If the Commission feels there needs to be a cap then he agrees to start small at 5% and increase later.  Economics will drive it to some degree.


Kyle mentioned we saw what economics could do ten years ago when the housing market crashed.  We could potentially see all the vacation rentals become long-term rentals.


Derek stated that is one reason we may want to consider where we allow it in commercial areas. 


Doug Stewart-Asked if the lots were proportioned in the different areas.  He was curious to know how many homes were in his area versus other areas and what the number of allowed homes would be for his specific area with a 5% cap.


The Commissioners answered the areas are all similar and his section (section 2) has 251 lots and would allow 13 homes at 5% and 25 homes at 10%. 


Rich Murset pointed out not all lots are on the map.


Derek replied the map is the 2017 Washington County map.  If some of the lots are not listed on the map, the percentage system should still work.    


Commissioner Bice would like to get an ordinance to the city council as soon as possible.   


The Commissioners all agreed with 5% and would like it an action item at the next meeting.  They also agreed only allowing vacation rentals in the Tourist Commercial Zone was appropriate and to include them in the Mobile Home Zone and single family dwellings in the R-3-6 Zone.   


Kevin explained all changes to the current code will need an ordinance and public hearing. Those changes can all be done at the same time.

He will try to have an ordinance ready to set for public hearing at the next Planning Commission meeting.    


VI.              Adjourn:

Motion was made by Commissioner Hugh Howard to adjourn, second by Commissioner Sherman Howard.  Andregg-yes, Hugh Howard-yes, Sherman Howard-yes, Bice-yes, Benson-yes.  Motion carried unanimously at 7:03pm.



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

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