The majority of staff and students of the DayStar Academy leave for the holidays and some of them were not back for the first day of school last Monday. As of Tuesday, some were still not home, including the school’s principal, Alexa Hernandez. She was attending a convention in Orlando, Fla., with her family and a few students after vacationing in Tennessee for the holidays when they got caught up in the storm.
Another family was returning from New York, but their flight from Denver to Moab was canceled and they ended up diverting to Grand Junction and arrived there at 2 a.m. School director Jerry Harris was there to pick them up at 10 p.m. and after they found their lost luggage they got home at 5 a.m. Monday. Another student arrived at the Denver airport at 8 a.m. and didn’t leave on her connecting flight until after midnight. And she was probably one of the lucky ones.
A public hearing by the Castle Valley Planning and Land Use Commission on draft amendments to Castle Valley’s general plan will be held next Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 6:30 p.m. This hearing will be held at the Castle Valley Community Center, 2 Castle Valley Drive.
The general plan for the community must be updated every five years by law and much of that plan is derived from a survey, which was conducted last year to gauge the community’s beliefs and values about land use and what they envision for the future. Long-range planning using the general plan helps the town council to set town goals that reflect the desires of the residents and property owners, anticipate and prepare for the future, set sound policies for land use, assure efficient use of limited public funds, promote health, safety and welfare for town residents, and formulate appropriate land use ordinances.
During the last Castle Valley Town Council meeting, which was held Dec. 18, several items of business were discussed. The council approved all of the community’s conditional use permits and business licenses for the new year, with the exception of the Castle Valley Inn Bed and Breakfast. That issue was covered during a later agenda item when the council passed an amended zoning and compliance contract for the inn.
The council reached an agreement on a contract with the inn on an amended contract and an agreement on fines after several months of negotiations. The fines of $3,500 were levied for an additional unit that was built without a building permit. The parties settled on a $1,000 payment immediately followed by a $1,200 payment and a final payment that is due by June. Other issues centered around the total overnight occupancy, allowable units, further development of the primary residence, terms that allow a manager to act as primary resident and requirements upon sale of the property along with other minor ambiguities in the need of clarification.
On the issue of the town participating in the National Flood Insurance Program, Castle Valley Mayor Dave Erley urged the council to read and understand the program and be able to ask appropriate questions for an upcoming meeting in February. That meeting will be with John Crofts, a FEMA representative, and Utah State Hazard Mitigation Officer Brad Bartholomew. There are a number of Castle Valley residents that are involved with flood problems and they are not able to buy flood insurance at this time. Mayor Erley said the town really needs to get involved with this program to help those residents and he wants to open it up to a public meeting so as many people as possible can be involved.
The council also adopted an ordinance to officially establish a Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee. The town recognizes that the community can be adversely affected by natural hazards and wishes to mitigate the effects of such hazards and reduce vulnerabilities of such natural hazards. A large majority of participants in the general plan survey, which was conducted last year, responded in favor of such action but probably more importantly, the adoption of a hazard mitigation plan meets the requirements of FEMA and other agencies required to receive funding from the agencies in the event of a disaster.
A group of residents have been meeting for the past several months to identify hazards in the area, which are composed of representatives from the town council, planning and land use commission, the road department, and the Castle Valley Fire Protection District. It is also open to the Grand County Emergency Services management, surrounding communities adjacent to the Town of Castle Valley who are interesting in participating and representatives of other interested agencies, organizations, association and interest members of the general public. An open public meeting was held last month, which brought several ideas and information to the group.