A crowd of over three dozen residents forced the Kanab Planning Commission (KPC) to move their Feb. 3 meeting to the courtroom chambers in the city complex.

The issues motivating the majority of citizens to attend involved the KPC’s review for approval of the site plans for the new Comfort Suites (CS) and Hampton Inn (HI) motels scheduled to be built this year in downtown Kanab.

The plans for CS prompted few concerns- the only one initiating discussion was the color of the stucco. A photo of the owner’s preferred color was circulated to the commission members and the “golden yellow,” appeared as a fairly bright yellow.

Project manager, Bud Myers, interjected that the color was much more subdued as the photo was taken with his cell phone, and the KPC should not be overly concerned with it being too yellow.  “The owner didn’t want the color to be like all the rest in town”, said Myers.

Commission member Joan Thatcher was uncomfortable with the color and wanted to see an accurate color swatch before approving the site plan.  However, this was not to be, as a motion was made and seconded to approve the plan without any further formal review. Thatcher’s was the only nay vote.  Myers did offer to bring the KPC a better photo of the color choice, and consider other choices.

Controversy surrounded HI’s site plan with several residents weighing in on the motel chain’s requests for variances, which began when Hampton requested and was awarded permission for a fourth story a few months back.  The site is the now vacant lot next to the Hospital Thrift Store on 100 East, which is just over an acre in size.

The addition of 20 rooms the KPC and Kanab City Council approved with the fourth floor, required more parking than the original plan for 69 spaces. In order to fulfill the parking requirements, HI obtained permission from Kane County Hospital to utilize 14 parking spaces adjacent to the store and also came to an agreement with Nick Ramsey to use 14 spaces in their lot, across 100 S. from the front of the HI.

The 69 spaces incorporated into the original footprint were seen to be cramping the corridor between the spaces with the existing 20 foot length specification.  HI asked that the current 9X20 feet parking space requirement be changed to 9X18 feet, so the corridor could be widened by 4 feet to a 24 feet width.

The building’s size and height, it’s design scheme and the parking issues, prompted many in the audience to comment on HI’s site plan.

Cyrus Mejia, a Best Friends Animal Society founder, stated, “I feel the building design is inconsistent with the city’s western heritage theme.  I also oppose the variance in the parking size requirement and question if landscaping covers 10% of the site.”

Local architect Robert Kaczowka noted, “There is nothing in the building design that promotes a western heritage theme. The fascia is plain and needs more than a rock base.  Kanab deserves something more unique.”

Caralee Woods felt the exterior color choice was not accurately represented on the color photos presented, and the “Indian White” color found on so many other HIs was not appropriate for Kanab.

Sky Chaney voiced, “This is one ugly duckling building that has been rubber stamped and given the red carpet treatment by the KPC and City Council.  The money these corporate big boxes make mostly goes out of town to corporate headquarters doing little to further the local economy.  It will also have a negative effect on our existing local motels.”

Jeanne Hogseth felt like she was becoming more a citizen of a corporation than a citizen of Kanab.  “It’s just too big and will block views of the surrounding Vermilion Cliffs,” said Hogseth.

Her husband Steve added, “Both motels have about the same number of rooms (approximately 84), yet CS sits on 2.9 acres and the HI on 1.1 acres.  It’s a shoe horned project that has required various ordinance changes to accommodate it.”

James Page was concerned with the storm water runoff from the building and asphalt covering the now virtually bare ground lot. “The amount of water running off of the site will potentially overwhelm the nearby drains down Hwy 89,” Page commented.

This generated some apprehension from commission member, Arlon Chamberlain, and discussion of installing some onsite below ground holding chambers ensued, and Young agreed to look at some options.

JoAnne Rando-Moon felt that a traffic study should be done when the number of vehicles accessing the motel and thrift store off Hwy 89 will more than double the current traffic into the thrift store.

With the HI site plan vote pending, Levi Roberts, a planning consultant, said he found in his review of parking size requirements in a random sampling of Utah cities that the 9X18 feet size was nearly universal.  With that, the KPC voted to accept the HI site plan, including the parking space size reduction. Only Thatcher voted against the space change and the overall site plan.

At the end of the meeting, Young assured this writer Kanab’s residents will find the HI’s final appearance appealing.