City denies hotel’s request for larger signs in RC zone
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
Jan 30, 2014 | 1470 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Holiday Inn Express north of Moab will not be getting a bigger, more prominent sign. At least not right away. Moab City Council members on Tuesday, Jan. 28, unanimously voted against a proposed text amendment that would have allowed significantly larger signs in the resort commercial zone located on the north end of town.

The text amendment request came before the Moab City Planning Commission in November. At that time, Jeramy Day, the hotel’s general manager, told the commission that customers of the hotel regularly complain about not being able to see the sign, which is just less than 9 feet tall.

Current city zoning regulations limit signs in the RC zone to 8 feet tall and 24 square-feet overall, Moab City Planning Director Jeff Reinhart said. Denise Dragoo, an attorney for the Holiday Inn Express, said that the limits are unfair, pointing out that outside of the RC zone, code allows signs up to 28 feet tall and 160 square-feet in overall size. The planning commission recommended against approving the amendment.

City council members acknowledged that the current sign code might be somewhat problematic, however they did not feel that the proposed amendment was the appropriate way to address the issue.

Council member Kirstin Peterson said that the council is planning on re-examining and reworking the sign code in the near future.

“That may be the time to bring this up as opposed to a text amendment that really just benefits one property,” she said.

Moab City Engineer Rebecca Andrus said that one of the problems the hotel faces is the fact that they are located off an unnamed frontage road.

“The hotel is addressed as being off the highway,” she said. “So you think you’re getting a hotel that’s right on the side of the highway. It’s confusing from the start.”

Moab City Manager Donna Metzler agreed.

“You’re not missing the sign,” she said. “You’re missing the road.”

The frontage road is currently owned and maintained by the property owners, but Metzler said there has been some discussion about the city taking the road over and dedicating it as a public right-of-way, which would enable the city to name it. Andrus said that could potentially help clear up some of the confusion.

Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison suggested approaching the Utah Department of Transportation about adding signage north of the Colorado River bridge to help travelers locate the frontage road.

“I think there are some options that could probably temporarily address this issue,” he said. “We have three other properties along there that will end up being developed at some point. Let’s look at a comprehensive approach.”

Council member Gregg Stucki said he understood the concerns brought up by Holiday Inn Express management.

“I see a need, and I totally understand where the Holiday Inn Express is coming from,” he said. “Their sign is dwarfed by the signs around them.”

However, Stucki thought there was probably a better solution.

“I’d like us to make sure that we address the issue in the best way possible now,” he said. “I hope that maybe we can find something better.”

Reinhart said the code in the RC zone was dictated by the Gateway Plan, which was adopted by the city in 2002. The Gateway Plan was part of the city’s General Plan.

“The intention of the Gateway Plan was to present visitors coming in from the north with a nice front door,” Reinhart said.

Day said that the hotel’s management is willing to work with city staff to come up with a reasonable alternative.

“We want something that everyone is on board with,” he said. “We definitely want to reach some sort of consensus.”

Though the council defeated the proposed amendment, council members directed Moab City staff to start looking at suitable alternatives. Metzler said it would be several months before the staff would have that opportunity.

“We’ll figure something out,” Sakrison told Day.

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