Moab and Grand can’t freeze housing policy over fear that residential housing becomes second homes, but if you’re so worried about that, you know what doesn’t become second homes? Apartment units.
At the end of the day, the market runs the housing show; the government just sets the rules. Walnut Lane might end up being a good project, but it’s not a sustainable solution for the city or county to be a major housing provider — administratively or politically. We’re in Utah.
Private interests need to be served if housing is to get built. Fortunately, there is no shame in letting developers benefit from building housing.
Not every developer is going to build second homes. The market won’t support that, but if the competition to build second homes is so great, why not make them also compete with apartment developers? We’d get more apartments, and that’s great.
We might also get more second homes, and you know what? That’s also great! That’s more property tax for us, off the backs of rich Salt Lake City residents. We have out-of-town investors building housing in Moab? Great, more money pouring into rather than out of our economy!
Price controls don’t work; that’s part of why PAD is a failure. Locals are pulling out of Murphy Flats and other developments; limiting ownership to locals in the HDHO is just slowing that construction.
We need more housing, so we need to zone for more housing, especially inside city limits. “No growth” is not an option, and I am still amazed that we even entertained that idea during the lodging moratorium.
All this talk of educating constituents about what the Travel Council really does or visitors about OHV noise — Why not educate constituents about the inevitability of growth and why development is shared prosperity rather than shared burden?
The county needs to stop talking about high-density housing development as a “burden.” The fact that elected official have talked about high-density housing in those terms is regressive and makes no appeal to the huge upsides of development. It’s a totally whiffed opportunity.
The city needs to accommodate a growing workforce with inclusive zoning, lest it allows its working class to continue breaking its back over the lack of ownership and rental opportunities.
If we want a more diverse population of visitors or locals, we need more diverse offerings in terms of housing. We have plenty of single-family housing; we need apartment buildings, let alone four-, three- and duplexes.
The best way to diversify our economy is to make growth in non-tourism sectors outpace growth in accommodations, and the way to do that with a carrot (incentives) rather than a stick (lodging development moratorium and protective zoning) is to create more housing opportunities in all zones and loosen parking, setbacks and other requirements.
Those rules serve a purpose, but they also detract from the greater purpose of using the limited land we have efficiently. We do not have a parking problem; our streets are plenty wide; we’ve made it far too hard to build ADUs.
We cannot freeze Moab in place. Elected leaders need to build coalitions around growth (more housing, new businesses, transit, “pitching in” i.e. taxes, passenger rail) rather than stagnation (no bypass, no lodging, no MAPS, no outside investors, no noise, keep Main Street parking, keep density the same).
If we could get some more YIMBY and pro-growth energy going, that would be super. There’s also a whole conservative constituency in Moab not represented on the county commission and city council that is ripe for the courting by any elected official willing to make a name for themself as a doer and a listener.
There is so much potential for growth in this valley. We need to harness rather than stop it, and I really want the county (and certainly the city) to think and talk big about their next steps on housing Moab.