Council members heard virtually no opposition to the project planned by Moab Zip Line Adventures applicants Casey and Emily Bynum of Boulder, Colo., during a public hearing Tuesday night.
“You guys have jumped through a million hoops,” said council member Audrey Graham. “I have no problem with the project.”
Council members Chris Baird and Chris Conrad echoed her statement. A vote to approve a conditional use permit – thus authorizing construction – is set for the Nov. 7 council meeting. Public comment on the proposal will be taken until Oct. 24.
The lone citizen who spoke during the hearing was Sandy Freethey, chairwoman of the Grand County Trail Mix, a non-motorized trail committee and advisory body. She said the group’s only concern is that access might be blocked to future hiking and biking trails nearby.
The council has approved those trails in its 2011 non-motorized trails master plan, Freethey said.
Grand County Community Development Director Krissie Braun said the zip line course would occupy 100 acres on the Steen family parcel surrounded by Sand Flats Recreation Area to the west, north and east. Seven lines are planned, ranging in length from 290 to 1,240 feet.
Access to the site would be via a two-mile ATV trail, much of which would have to be built. The applicants have agreed to provide dust suppression on that trail.
Each zip line would have two steel poles, from 7 to 24 feet high, to support a single line.
Braun noted that Slickrock Bike Trail is part of the National Trails System, a network of federally designated scenic, historic and recreational trails. In addition, the popular Hells Revenge Jeep Trail, a Jeep Safari route, is also nearby.
“Both trails represent a significant economic and recreational resource to Grand County, Braun wrote in a staff report.
She said during an interview that the line running above a portion of the Slickrock Bike Trail is “conservatively estimated” to be at least 20 feet above the trail. About 200 feet of the Slickrock trail would be re-routed to keep it at lest 34 linear feet away from the nearest zip line, Braun said.
Council member Jim Nyland moved to suspend council rules and vote on the conditional use permit application during the Oct. 16 meeting.
“These people have been working on this project for some time,” he said. “Why hold them up any longer?”
“I do not feel the public has had that much chance to weigh in on this,” Graham countered.
Nyland’s motion did not garner the required number of votes, pushing the resolution to the council’s Nov. 7 meeting.