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Kanab City Council passes updates to “Dark Sky” ordinances

The meeting of the Kanab City Council held on November 14, 2023 was a dense one. Many members of the public were present, along with representatives of the businesses and properties lined up for the various zone change appeals on the docket. With an agenda with more items than average, many of which required extensive discussion, the meeting would last for close to five hours.


During the liaison report, the council credited the Kanab City Police Department, in conjunction with Best Friends, with the reward they’d received for having a no-kill shelter at the city pound, and reminded the public of the upcoming open house at the new police station; the open house will be November 20, from 4 - 7 p.m., with K9 units at 5 p.m.


As a part of the liaison report, councilmember JD Wright commented on the state of youth sports, with a few victories for fifth and sixth grade football, as well as some major concerns over the Junior Jazz youth basketball league - the league is struggling due to limited gym space in the local area, and while compromises were found, Wright stated, “It just goes to show the importance and the priority we have for more gym space. It would be a shame to shut down those programs - Junior Jazz, little league wrestling, dance - and we’re hurting right now.” Following a brief update from Mayor Johnson on progress being made on the new rec center and cooperation on that front with Kane County, the meeting was able to set in on its agenda.



Per tradition, the meeting began in earnest with public comment, which was utilized by multiple members of the public on this particular evening. Mayor Johnson set a time limit, stating, “We will go till ten minutes after the hour, that’ll give us about twenty minutes … we have eighteen items on the agenda tonight.” The Mayor estimated that most comments would be on either the lighting ordinance or land use ordinance amendments, an estimate which proved correct, as the majority of public comment was dedicated to the lighting ordinance.


Following the public comment period, the meeting proceeded to the actionable items on the agenda, starting with a series of plat amendments and lot line adjustments - most of which were straightforward and unanimous approvals. One such item that called for some more discussion were some additions to the land use chart to allow for spas, car washes, vehicle repair and restoration and body art - body art, that is, of the human variety including tattoos, piercings and microblading. After some discussion and refinement, this motion too was made and approved unanimously.


However, one of these, a zone change around 900 E. Highway 89, required in-depth discussion as the council considered a change from RA to C-3 in the area, along with a conditional use permit. There was a lengthy debate on the topic, covering traffic congestion, visibility of the landscape and road access. There were enough concerns that there was a moment when the council questioned whether a motion could be made on the issue at all - ultimately the issue landed on a compromise of sorts, with some of the plots within the request being rezoned to C-3, with some staying RA with the possibility of further conditions being discussed later. This item ultimately required about a quarter of the meeting’s lengthy duration.


As the meeting’s duration wound on, the Mayor made the call to move up agenda item 16 - the outdoor lighting ordinance - for the sake of the public’s time, as many of the members of the public were there for that specific item. The ordinance was put under scrutiny, as the council discussed the possibility of enforcing “dark skies” ordinances and the requirement of an expert consultant for such an issue.


As expected, the council discussed this item at length, breaking down how best to shield and direct bright lights, what bright lights were necessary and where, rules governing automatic lights and so on. The standards for many of these were called to be more specific so they were more enforceable. As the discussion concluded, there were a series of approved changes to the ordinance too specific and technical to be covered in brief here - the amendments were made to Kanab City Land Use Ordinance 22, and can be found on Kanab City’s website, in the Planning and Zoning section for in-depth review. Additionally, as always, the meeting’s full duration was posted on Kanab City’s Facebook page, and the audio minutes and agenda are posted on the Public Notice Service’s website.


The last few items on the agenda collectively took a fraction of the previous one item, and authorized work updates and changes to water use and spring redevelopment projects, exploration of further water rights, updated the Ranchos Park Irrigation Plan and plans for expanding the Kanab Cemetery, as well as updated the council on water usage. Funds were authorized to repair the public works’ department’s D5 engine, a machine that could help clear waterways and clean up silt.


The public portion of the meeting was resolved after four and a half hours of meeting time, with the council continuing into closed session to discuss “the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual,” per the agenda.

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