Residents raise concerns about townhomes on 400 North
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
Mar 27, 2014 | 2588 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Despite local residents’ concerns about noise, traffic and storm water issues that would result from overnight rentals, the Entrada townhome development will continue to move forward as planned. The Moab City Planning Commission voted March 13 to recommend the preliminary plat to the Moab City Council.

About 20 concerned residents attended the March 13 public hearing regarding the project. Most of those who spoke live close to the development to voice their concerns.

The development, located at 720 West 400 North, includes a plan for 45 two-story townhomes placed on 4.6 acres. Additional phases include a clubhouse area and a pool.

One of the most common complaints about the project centers around storm drainage issues in the area. Gilbert Flynn, a nearby resident, said the current drain system is already problematic.

His concerns were echoed by Marc Thomas, who owns a unit in Orchard Villa.

“I’m very concerned that having more cement and pavement will make storm water drainage worse,” Thomas said, adding that Orchard Villa already has problems with flooding during big storms.

Moab City Engineer Rebecca Andrus said she has reviewed the plans for storm water drainage, and she feels that the current plans are sufficient to prevent further issues.

“They went above and beyond in some of the areas,” Andrus said. “At this point it all drains in the northeast corner, but the [developer’s] plans directed it all to the front of the property.”

Reinhart said that developer Josh Richards has agreed to replace the storm drain in the area if necessary.

Other residents said the development is simply too big for that area of town and will result in traffic problems and an increase in noise.

“I think a small development would be appropriate. Like 10 units,” Theresa Butler said. “The overnight scenario, we’ve seen it on Williams Way. You can’t get down there 70 percent of the summer.”

“People coming in with their jeeps and trailers have so many vehicles, they’re going to be parked all along 400 North,” Flynn said.

“My experience living here just with the hospital alone was horrible. It was so busy and noisy,” he said. “I can’t imagine how bad it will be with all of these units.”

Richards said that he bought the property in an attempt to help the hospital, which was in “real financial stress.”

Richards noted that he could have packed up to 68 units that were up to three stories tall on the property.

“People are coming in with this attitude that it was our intent to squeeze as many units in as we could,” he said. “It wasn’t all about a developer wanting to do the best for themselves.”

He also said the plan includes over 4.5 parking spaces per unit.

Richards also said that renters will be expected to abide by a series of rules, including an enforced quiet time.

“Fines will be levied if people don’t follow the rules,” he said. “Privacy is a two-way street.”

Planning commission member Jeffrey Davis said he appreciated all of the people showing up to speak. “People need to understand that this is private property that has to abide by the zoning and code that we’re bound by,” he said. He urged residents to get involved in the local government if they are interested in changing the code.

Commission chairwoman Kelly Thornton agreed. “I’ve been here almost 20 years, and I share some very deep concerns that we’re pricing people out,” she said. However, Thornton said since the development met all of the code regulations that governed it, there wasn’t much the commission could do.

“Our hands are tied when someone is following the rules of their zone,” commission member Laura Uhle said.

Thornton encouraged residents to take a greater role in crafting the Moab City General Plan, which will help guide the direction the city government takes in upcoming years.

“Moab is not static,” commission member Jeanette Kopell said. “That whole section is going to change in the next ten years.”

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.