LA VERKIN CITY PLANNING COMMISSION
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 6:00pm
City Council Chambers, 111 South Main Street
LaVerkin, Utah 84745
Present: Chair Pro Tem Allen Bice; Commissioners: La Mar Gubler, Hugh Howard, and Karl Benson; Staff: Derek Imlay, Kevin Bennett and Christy Ballard; Public: Patty Wise and Louie Lundin.
I. Call to Order: Chair Pro Tem Allen Bice called the meeting to order at 6:00pm. The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance was given by Derek Imlay.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Commission may approve the minutes of the May 10, 2017 regular meeting.
Motion was made by Commissioner Karl Benson to approve the May 10, 2017 regular meeting minutes as written, second by Commissioner Hugh Howard. Hugh Howard-yes, Gubler-yes, Bice-yes, Benson-yes. Motion carried unanimously.
III. Approval of the Agenda
Motion was made by Commissioner Karl Benson to approve the agenda as written, second by Commissioner La Mar Gubler. Bice-yes, Hugh Howard-yes, Gubler-yes, Benson-yes. Motion carried unanimously.
1. Beautification/Trails Committee-The City has asked the Beautification Committee for input on a new park.
2. City Council-No one present to report.
3. Director of Operations-The 300 West Improvement Project had started. The project will widen the road, put curb and gutter along both sides of the street with sidewalk on the east side. There will also be a retaining wall on the east side as well.
The project end date is the first of September; however, they are hoping to be completed by the beginning of school.
1. Discussion on possible changes to the Vacation Rental Ordinance.
Kevin passed out a section of the municipal code that deals with ethics. This will be part of the upcoming OPMA and GRAMA training. It is a reminder for board and committee members to disclose any information that could be affected by what is being discussed.
Kevin explained the packet included the same memorandum from the last meeting with the changes discussed during that meeting. He was not able to attend the last meeting so there were a couple of items he wanted to clarify. First, vacation rentals in the commercial zones. He had several concerns with that. One of which is there are not standards or regulations for them. Two is the staff recommendation of allowing vacation rentals in the Tourist Commercial Zone only removing them from General Commercial and Retail Commercial zones. The Tourist Commercial Zone takes up approximately 15% of the commercial areas in the City. He worries that it may cause that zone to convert to a vacation rental zone, that the other uses may be edged out, leaving the City without places for the tourists to shop or eat. The other concern is that it could put pressure on the Commissioners or the Councilmembers to keep expanding the Tourist Commercial Zone which would eliminate the purposes of the other zones.
He suggested instead of removing vacation rentals completely out of those other commercial zones or allowing them but with no regulations, to find a middle ground. Such as allowing them in General Commercial but putting limited acreage or spacing requirements for that use in that zone.
It could also push the vacation rentals back into the residential zone. Forcing vacation rentals into residential at the same time limiting the amount of vacation rentals in a residential zone run contrary to each other.
Second, is the existing home requirement. That is already a law, a vacation rental can only be licensed if it is an existing home. What it does not state is how long a home must be occupied before it can be converted to a vacation rental.
Third, is a vacation rental cannot change the character of the residential zone which means there cannot be multiple families in one house. That does impact the parking as well as the occupancy which is why he indicated the limit would be provided by the building inspector (which is a current requirement) and added the occupancy be no more than 15 in a residential zone.
The items were lined out in the packet but not purged until he had the opportunity to explain his concerns.
Derek explained the R-3-6 Zone and Mobile Home Zone had been added to the section requiring vacation rentals be in existing single-family dwellings.
There was some concern with the required parking spaces for a bed and breakfast and vacation rentals that would need to be resolved.
The last item he mentioned were the concerns with the area boundaries. Staff proposed moving the lines of those areas to follow streets. He will prepare a new document to discuss at the next meeting.
Kevin pointed out the 1.1 parking requirement has been law since 2015. It was changed from 1.5 for all transient lodging facilities when it was determined the hotels did not need that much parking.
Commissioner Bice stated the 1.1 requirement made sense for the hotels to have a few extra parking spaces but was not sure a 3-bedroom vacation rental would need 3.3 parking spaces.
The confusion came from the bed and breakfast requirement of 2 owner parking spots plus an additional 1.1 per room. A three-bedroom bed and breakfast could potentially require 7 parking spaces if the number was rounded up. If the number is rounded to the nearest whole number, it may not need to be changed because 3.3 would still be 3.
Kevin mentioned a gentleman voiced his concern at the last meeting about the number of trucks and trailers parked along his street from a vacation rental. Parking is allowed on a public road, it is a public way and enforcement is not an issue the planning commission deals with.
Parking requirements are in place so if on-street parking is an issue often enough the City may be able to do something about the owner booking that many people. It is also why there should be a limit on the occupancy.
Commissioner Benson pointed out off street parking can only take 40% of the property so that limits the number of vehicles also.
Previously the Commission was unanimously in favor of prohibiting vacation rentals in the commercial zones so he feels it should move forward.
Kyle reported staff had several people suggest allowing a multi-use zone where the first level is retail commercial with residential above. The Planning Commission discussed this idea in the past but nothing was approved.
Commissioner Gubler stated he is not in favor of vacation rentals in the commercial zone unless it is in a multi-use zone.
The Commissioners decided to move forward with removing vacation rentals in the General and Retail Commercial Zones.
The Commissioners all agreed with allowing vacation rentals but not bed and breakfasts in single family dwellings in the Mobile Home and R-3-6 zone.
Section 3 on page 2 discusses the Tourist Commercial Zone as the only commercial zone to allow vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts.
The Commissioners decided if the traditional rounding rule applied, they would leave the 1.1 per room parking requirement.
They also agreed to allow staff to adjust the area boundaries for the percentage cap.
Commissioner Howard would like to discuss increasing the 5% cap. He does own vacation rentals and the lower amount is better for him as an owner but feels it could make people rush to secure a license. He feels the market will regulate itself.
Kevin said that is the reason he added the provision the license may lapse if not used.
Commissioner Bice feels 5% allows La Verkin to have plenty of vacation rentals but he would be fine with 7.5%.
Louie Lundin-He has had a home in La Verkin for almost 10 years and has been waiting for the opportunity to do vacation rentals. He couldn’t get rid of his house, couldn’t sell it or rent it so as far as everyone talking about now is the time to sell because the market’s up. You wouldn’t want to have sold 10 years ago, you would have lost money. Everything is fluid.
He agrees that 5% is too low, people will grab their spots and set on them. That gives no one an option. Basically, the City is controlling property in a different way.
He has talked to Christy about transferring the license when the property sold. Hurricane has a waiting list, I’m sure the City doesn’t want to deal with that but it would take out the I’ve got it, I’ve got to use it. People had it then sold their house and now a spot is open. It’s not set in stone.
He doesn’t want to see the whole city vacation rentals but he likes the commercial use. He has lived in Hurricane his whole life and La Verkin City has had the same commercial area his whole life. Without changing it to something like the multi-use or forcing someone to develop it for you, it’s going to be the same. Hurricane and La Verkin are both pass through towns. There is a ton of tourist traffic but he drives to St. George for work. There are no jobs except for the ones that deal with tourists. He does not understand why the commissioners are not building the city around that.
A commercial zone is great, if you can get something to go in there. If vacation rentals want to go in, the City just adapts the plan to make both happen at the same time.
As far as the percentage cap, 5% is a pretty low number. He wouldn’t want 20% for sure but 7.5-10% is still low.
His first home was in Harrisburg Estates, they went through something like this. They had the community as 55 & older even though it wasn’t zoned for it. It is an HOA. He had his daughter and was the only person who had a child. Every year they tried to get it a 55 & older community, discussing it back and forth. Nothing ever changed and the community is still majority 55 & older retirees but now they have the ability to sell property without all of the restrictions.
He agrees with not allowing the entire city to become vacation rentals and that there needs to be some controls.
He likes that La Verkin controls them by business license. The City should have enough teeth that if there is an issue the license could be revoked. He feels the enforcement side has more to do with what is being discussed than the zoning.
He agrees with the multi-use commercial and with the 7.5% cap.
There was a discussion on how many vacation rentals would be allowed in La Verkin City with a 5% cap.
Commissioner Howard commented La Verkin has had a vacation rental boon and is bringing a lot of tourists in and he feels the commercial will follow. It may take a while but people will begin to bring in restaurants and shops to accommodate the tourists.
Kyle mentioned Zion National Park reported an increase of 10% last month from the year before and the year before set a record. The hotel owners in La Verkin have told Kyle people are booking 3-5 days, they get here, spend one day in Zion get frustrated and cancel the remainder of their stay. Vacation rentals may experience the same thing. This has a lot of cities concerned and they are trying to come up with other things for tourists to do other than Zion.
Kevin asked if the Commissioners would like to remove the requirement of only licensing an existing home as a vacation rental and explained that prevents someone from purchasing sections of residential land and building homes on them specifically for commercial use.
Commissioner Benson said he was not in favor of that requirement because it would preclude a vacation rental development from coming to La Verkin.
Commissioner Bice would be okay with leaving the requirement. He would not want to have half of a street commercial while the other half was trying to live in a residential area. However, if a vacation rental development were to be interested in La Verkin, a vacation rental zone could be created to allow it or the property could be rezoned to Tourist Commercial.
Commissioner Howard said he feels the requirement allows developers to build vacation rentals but precludes an average person from building one home for a vacation rental. But if that requirement already exists, he is okay with leaving it.
Kevin explained the current code allows only an existing building be licensed as a vacation rental in the residential zone. Section g of the proposed changes does give a safety valve for residents with extenuating circumstances to use their home as a vacation rental.
The Commissioners decided the percentage cap should be 7.5%.
Staff will try to have a draft copy of the ordinance along with the revised area boundaries map ready for the next meeting.
Motion was made by Commissioner Hugh Howard to adjourn, second by Commissioner Allen Bice. Gubler-yes, Hugh Howard-yes, Bice-yes, Benson-yes. Motion carried unanimously at 7:15pm.
Minutes taken on behalf of the City Recorder by Christy Ballard.