Save Old Town...
Oct 09, 2008 | 748 views | 2 2 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If you feel that the look and character of “Old Town Moab” is an asset to our community, then help save it from high density commercial style development. Please contact City Council members requesting that they vote “no” on the proposed ordinances affecting the R-3 and R-4 zones.

These ordinances, developed under the guise of affordable housing, will primarily benefit developers. The ordinances are blanket overlays that would institutionalize spot zoning for high density developments; and the determination of where these “spots” occur is based only on the funding/contractual conditions. Planning is eliminated and the location of high-density spots becomes a random process involving availability of land and the desire of a developer to sign a contract with the housing authority. The city should not relinquish its ability to plan appropriately for high-density developments.

The city staff use words like “tweak” or “adjust” when referring to the increased densities that the ordinances would allow; this is misleading. The increases would not be a factor of two or three; they approach an order of magnitude (a factor of 10) increase in density. For sub-width lots that are currently limited to one residence, the increases are well over an order of magnitude. The lot at 367 East 100 North would go from one unit to 18 units. That is not a “tweak,” that is change on a grand scale that would radically alter neighborhoods and create huge inequities. One set of rules for one lot, a different set of rules for the lot next door.

I question the need for government interference in the housing market. People may be advocating in favor of government-assisted housing based on old data. Over the past several years, land prices in Moab and across the nation rose rapidly. Now, every month sets another new record for declining home sales and declining house prices, according to the national news.

When you look at the local real estate advertisements, ad after ad says “price reduced” and realtors say that properties are selling very slowly or not at all. This is a trend that will continue for years given the national housing glut and tight credit situation. It may not be an easy transition for everyone, but the market (wages vs. housing costs) will adjust without the need for government interference.

In summary, please request your elected council representatives to vote “no” on these proposed spot zoning ordinances.

—Jeff McCleary


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