Portal Vista homeowners push for restrictions on future development
by April Labine
contributing writer
Feb 17, 2011 | 1964 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Portal Vista homeowner’s association (HOA) members told the Moab City Council last week that they support a proposed city ordinance to vacate the undeveloped portion of the planned unit development (PUD) plat but are concerned that future development could create conflicts for existing homeowners.

“I think our concern is to ensure that we are involved and that we do have some say in how that’s developed in the future and to limit what potential conflict there could be in the future,” said Portal Vista HOA trustee Lorri Benefield, during the Feb. 8 public hearing.

According to the city ordinance, zoning in the undeveloped areas of the PUD would revert to R-4.

According to city documents, the developers, Portal Park LLC, were declared in default in February 2010 after failure to fulfill a now-expired improvement agreement.

Benefield said that the HOA sought legal advice and their attorney consulted a title specialist to develop a list of requirements regarding future development. The list included maintaining the HOA’s bylaws, covenants, conditions and restrictions (CCRs); keeping all parcels as part of the PUD unless the HOA consents to a plan that would make the parcels part of another subdivision; and a third-party agreement between the HOA and a developer to protect from construction-related damage to the streets.

“Any future development plans that do not recognize these dynamics will be challenged by the HOA with legal action,” Benefield read from a letter she submitted for the record. “We believe it is in the interest of the homeowners, the HOA and the city to avoid future conflict.”

Maggie Corson, secretary of the Portal Vista HOA said that she is happy that they have finally reached this point after several years working with city staff on the numerous problems with the subdivision. She said whether or not the vacated plat will continue to be a part of the Portal Vista PUD is something that had yet to be addressed.

“We were hoping that at this point in our negotiations in the final legal document it would all be clear so that later on we don’t have to fight some of these same fights all over again,” she said.

Corson said if the vacated plat is developed in the future, the new homeowners should contribute to the cost of maintaining the roads. She said that when the roads in the common area are developed, the HOA then becomes responsible for maintaining them. If the plat remains part of the PUD, new homeowners would be dues-paying members of the HOA.

“We are simply asking that there be a statement as part of the documentation that the vacated plat will remain part of the Portal Vista PUD. Period,” Corson said.

Council member Kirstin Peterson said that the HOA might find it more beneficial that the vacated plat is not tied to their current CCRs, and future development would have to be negotiated through the HOA.

“I think that you have an excellent position to work everything out so that all of your concerns are met in the future should any development happen,” Peterson said.

Corson also sought assurance that piecemeal development would not occur and that tracts of land would be developed in their entirety.

“We don’t feel like we have protection against that possibility,” she said. “There’s some implication that if any development occurs then all this other stuff needs to be done but there’s sort of a little slippage in there.”

In June the HOA warned the city council that a lawsuit might be filed if action was not taken to rectify ongoing problems with the PUD developers. According to city documents, in 2007, six years after the city approved the official plat, several problems remained unresolved at the subdivision, including incomplete landscaping in open spaces, storm water conveyance, weed and trash removal; maintenance of open space parcels, trail construction and the dedication of open spaces as a conservation easement.

Moab City Engineer Jeff Reinhart said city staff continues to work with the developers to address the remaining issues.

“We still have one [problem] that is quite large and I have not heard from the developer at this point if he’s going to complete the extension of a storm drain system at the very opening of the development,” Reinhart said.

There were no Portal Park LLC representatives present at the public hearing. The city council will accept written comment on the matter until Feb. 22.

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