Moab Happenings Archive
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Southeast Utah
Real Estate Happenings

March 2019

Grand County Community & Economic Development
by J.D. McClanahan
In early February, both the city and county councils passed six month moratoria on new overnight accommodation development in Moab and unincorporated Grand County. These regulations mean that local government staff cannot issue any new land use permits for development of hotels, bed and breakfasts, or other overnight accomodations. Any developments that have already submitted complete land use applications will be allowed to continue through this period. In addition, existing structures located in overnight accomodation-allowing zones and in need of business licenses will still be able to apply for these licences.
Both councils cited a variety of reasons for instituting the moratoria. Housing was a primary concern, with both pointing to the BAE Urban Economics study of our area which concluded that demand for affordable housing was in-part driven by overnight accomodations. In addition, both described the rise in housing prices in Grand County, partly driven by overnight rental conversion, with a significantly smaller increase in wages. Related to this was existing employee shortage due to low wages and high cost of living in the area. The councils also pointed to the preservation of limited resources (including water and buildable land) for the use and benefit of county residents, as well as the strain placed on existing infrastructure, including roads and emergency personnel, by increasing tourism. In a directive to the planning commission and staff, the county council encouraged examination of the zoning regulations surrounding both overnight accomodations and other commercial development, and revising the zoning code toward these uses, with the goals of balancing of commercial uses throughout the county, encouraging economic diversification, and meeting the essential needs of the county.
In the coming months, the councils, planning commissions, and planning staff will all be working on creating a long-term approach to overnight rentals in the city and county.
Community members with suggestions for these long term solutions are encouraged to attend public meetings, email staff or elected officials, as well as calling or visiting government offices with questions. For city concerns, citizens can visit 217 E. Center Street, contact planning staff at 435-259-5129, or email all city council members at For the county, citizens can visit 125 E. Center Street, contact planning staff at 435-259-1343 or, or email all county council members at
Both of our local governments look forward to working with our citizens. We believe that, together, we can create policies that acknowledge the important role of tourism in our economy, while also looking out for the best interests of the citizens of our community.

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