I took notes yesterday on the key claims made during the commission’s discussion of the High-Density Housing Overlay. A lot of what Grand County Attorney Christina Sloan said during the meeting was false or misleading. Some of what the commissioners said was the same way. The previous meeting had more aggregious offenses in this respect.

I want to follow up with a fact checking article that drills down on what Sloan, the commissioners, the developers and others have said about the HDHO to demonstrate that the county has a lot of what it is saying and doing wrong.

One quick example is that Grand County Commissioner Kevin Walker proposed during this week’s meeting that developers interested in creating remntal housing simply seek outside investment to buy into their partnerships or corporations.

I was a bit baffled by this suggestion when he made it. Does he think this wasn’t already a consideration developers made? Does he think this would have any effect different from allowing the outside investors to buy directly?

I even asked a developer a few weeks ago about this prospect. Here’s what Cortney Kizer, owner of the Murphy Flats development, said:

This is actually where we started about on our project - we intended for it to be an all rental property with some help from outside financiers. We had several investors interested but they wanted massive % ownership on the project. We decided this was not the best route for us and more importantly for our community as we would lose the ability to make decisions that we know are right for Moab locals.

Instead, we decided that condominiumizing would allow for local ownership as well and keep a larger percent of the project in Moab hands. (It is certainly possible that the large investors we would team up with would turn out to be great, who knows!)

This may be a route we end up needing to take if the rules and regulations are passed. It is higher on the priority list than single family development if at all possible and if we can find interested investors after all of this mess.

Courtney Kizer, Moab developer approved for HDHO; Feb. 15, 2021

I have not yet called Walker to hash out this apparent misunderstanding.

Somewhat related, here is a video of the public hearing regarding applying the HDHO to the Murphy Flats property: Applying HDHO to Murphy Flats expansion.

The video is actually the second time the couple went before the Grand County Council for HDHO approval; they had previously received approval for a smaller development under the plan and went back for seconds.

In other news (outlets)

The New York Times: The Latest Case of Vaccine Alarmism

What’s the bottom line? A single Johnson & Johnson shot may indeed allow a somewhat larger number of mild Covid cases than two shots of Moderna or Pfizer. It’s hard to be sure. And it isn’t very important.

“The number that we should all truly care about is what are the chances I’m going to get this thing and get really sick or die,” Wachter said. After any of the three vaccines, he added, “There’s essentially no chance you will die of Covid, which is breathtaking.”

In related news, the U.S. has sped up vaccine delivery such that, if it maintains its current pace, 90% of the population will be fully vaccinated on or before Oct. 6.

KSL: Green River hoping to draw in more tourists as multimillion-dollar hotel opens

Change happens slowly if you give it enough time. Not only are the bends and flow of the Green River an example of that, but so is the small town of Green River.


However, to capitalize on the strengths, Black admitted the city needs to focus on its weaknesses.

Namely, the appearance of the town. There are many older run-down buildings with broken windows up and down Main Street.

Black knows that first impression might keep visitors from spending time here.

“Eventually we’ll get it cleaned up and looking better and make it a place where people want to come,” she said.

I’ve only ever driven past Green River (unlike Moab, the highway runs next to rather than through it), so I can’t speak to its ugliness, but it would be totally unsurprising to me if the city is that ugly.

With Moab continuing to grow fast, Johnson said she has seen more people looking to stay overnight in Green River because it’s usually cheaper for a hotel room.

Moab is about 45 minutes south of Green River.

“We have seen some of the overflow here,” said Johnson. “We have a lot of guests that come and say it’s a little bit cheaper and less congested.”

I’m sure Moab couldn’t be happier for Green River.

The Salt Lake Tribune: Utah domestic violence shelters seek more state funding to meet need during COVID-19

This story is from Feb. 4, so it’s a bit stale but related to the Seekhaven story from earlier this week.

“This is a perfect storm,” said Abi Taylor, executive director of Seekhaven, which serves Grand and San Juan counties. “There happens to be a big budget cut in the midst of our services being demanded more than ever before.”

Seekhaven is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021, and it is hoping to build a new facility in Moab. But that will become more difficult with the decline in VOCA funding.

That quote would explain why Taylor sent me the article. Zak Podmore has the second byline on the story.

Taylor also gave me a copy of a letter that a state agency sent to organizations like Seekhaven regarding the funding mechanisms that are presenting the challenge. It’s a bit opaque; I can’t tell what are flaws in program design, what is random misfortune, and how much is suffering by design.