The July 23 Kane County Commission meeting opened with a visit from Michael Herder, the Arizona Strip District Manager. He was joined by Lorraine Christensen, also with Strip management. The discussion centered on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Kane County and the Arizona Strip District, who are partnering through the MOU in land planning on common interests. The two most important were the possibility of the Lake Powell Pipeline route and permits in the Paria/Vermilion Cliffs Project sites shared by the two entities, such as The Wave. The final MOU was approved and signed.

A public hearing was held for a budget opening led by County Budget Director John Livingston. The budget is opened whenever an increase in spending is needed on any item. Typically money already allotted in the budget is simply moved from one fund to a new, separate budget line. In this case, a grant of $175,000, obtained by Kelly Stowell, was added for trail creation and maintenance. An additional $1,250,000 was added to the fund for building the new Kanab Center, and $700,000 was moved to the fund for remodeling the Kane County Jail. Money was also delegated to hiring one or two sheriff’s department security officers to be assigned to our schools. A salary increase for dispatch officers was approved. It is becoming difficult to keep those people who handle the 911 calls because the wages are low, and this is an effort to remedy that.

Finally, the county is purchasing 70 acres in Duck Creek to house needed county buildings there, such as a sheriff’s office and fire department building. This will cost $375,000.

The budget changes were unanimously approved as Resolution R-2019-17.

The third item regarded the Sugar Knolls parcel of land east of Mt. Carmel and RS2477 rights. The land is currently owned by SITLA, but is being sold to a private buyer. There are roads going in to this relatively remote area, and the question is whether the private owner can close off the roads that go into the land and whether the land can be zoned commercial. The commercial zoning is possible, but the county has concerns about the roads being gated at the property line. Commissioner Clayson said “It’s a county road, and you can’t lock it. If the question is keeping cattle in, the county will build a cattle guard.”

There are some popular slot canyons on that land, and so there is hope of getting a hiking easement from these roads as well. These issues will be looked into and final decisions will be made.

Approval was next given to donate $1,000 to the Five County Association of Governments Transportation Plan Fund.

Kane County Attorney Rob Van Dyke presented Ordinance O-2018-8, an ordinance to amend the Kane County Procurement and Financial Codes. This addresses how and when an approved county purchasing agent can make purchases. While any purchase over $5,000 already requires an approved purchase order, the question at hand was bringing the county ordinance into agreement with state code, which includes an “Encumbrance System.” This requires that when there is less than $25,000 in a budget, all purchases, regardless of amount, require an approved purchase order. Unanimous approval was given to this amended ordinance.

Ordinance O-2018-9 establishes a daytime curfew for minors in Kane County. Most cities in the county already have one, but a county wide curfew will help the sheriff’s department by defining how law enforcement can handle minors who are not in school or should be elsewhere during daytime hours. This was unanimously approved.

Another amended ordinance, O-2018-10, addresses requirements for business licenses and exemptions to needing a license. The exempted businesses include agriculture, any business operated solely within an occupied home other than a vacation rental or other short term rental business, and any business operated only occasionally and by any individual who is under 18 years of age. However, any business not required to have a license may still apply for one if they wish. Some home businesses, such as haircutting, are still required to comply with any state laws. This received unanimous approval.

Resolution R-2018-15 established an updated, complete list of all fees for county services. This includes everything from licenses to copying fees.

Another amendment to the Kane County employee manual handbook, specifically addressing sick leave benefits being used for Parent Time for up to a total of 12 weeks for mothers of a newborn or newly adopted child under the age of two, was approved. It allows paid leave for three weeks during the first three months of Parent Time. The amendments also addressed retirement benefits, use of county equipment and vehicles, and travel benefits (meals, etc.) in order to bring county policies into agreement with recent Utah State Code. The changes were unanimously approved.

The ongoing progress of “glamping” is problematic. Land Use Authority Director Shannon McBride gave a presentation of problems, most of which are in the Little Ponderosa Subdivision near Zion. Her office noticed complaints on short-term rental websites regarding listings in this area, and the short-term rentals are popping up quickly overnight. Owners of lots in the subdivision are setting up simple tents and other non-compliant structures and renting them out, but the sites are badly under code. Many of the problems have to do with a lack of proper sewage. Many times the bathrooms, if there are any, are not policed and are overflowing. Available culinary water is sometimes in a 50 gallon drum. Photos taken at these sites graphically illustrated why there are complaints on websites, which is not good advertising for “magically unspoiled” Kane County.

Further, there are questions whether the owners are reporting their income and paying the required TRT taxes. A software program is being looked at that is designed to trace owners and their rental income.

Meanwhile, McBride requested funds to create a new full time zoning administrator position to allow constant oversight of these “glamping” sights. This was unanimously approved.

Finally, related to the glamping issues, Ordinance O-2018-7 was approved, which establishes that “campground/glampground and RV Park” are not permitted uses in all residential zones.