01.09.24 Council Minutes


At the City Council
In and For Said City
January 9, 2024

Minutes of the Richfield City Council meeting held on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Richfield City office building located at 75 East Center, Richfield, Utah. Mayor Bryan L. Burrows presiding.

  15. OPENING REMARKS were offered by Michele Jolley.
  16. PLEDGE OF ALLIENGENCE was led by Councilmember Hansen.
  17. SWEARING IN. Brayden Gardner, Kip Hansen, and Kendrick Thomas were sworn in as Councilmembers for four-year terms.
  18. ROLL CALL. Present: Bryan Burrows, Brayden Gardner, Kip Hansen, Elaine Street, Kendrick Thomas, Tanner Thompson, Michele Jolley, Tyson Hansen.
  19. APPOINTMENTS. Mayor Burrows recommended that the Council appoint Branden Anderson and reappoint Lisa White to the Planning Commission. Motion: Appoint Branden Anderson and reappoint Lisa White to the Planning Commission, Action: Approved. Moved by Brayden Gardner, Seconded by Elaine Street. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yes = 5). Yes: Brayden Gardner, Elaine Street, Kendrick Thomas, Kip Hansen, Tanner Thompson.
  20. MINUTES APPROVED. The Council reviewed the meeting minutes for December 12, 2023. Motion: Approve the meeting minutes for December 12, 2023, Action: Approved. Moved by Kip Hansen, Seconded by Elaine Street. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yes = 5). Yes: Brayden Gardner, Elaine Street, Kendrick Thomas, Kip Hansen, Tanner Thompson.
  21. EXPENDITURES APPROVED. The Council reviewed the December 2023 Warrants. Motion: Approve the warrants for December 2023, Action: Approved. Moved by Tanner Thompson, Seconded by Brayden Gardner. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yes = 5). Yes: Brayden Gardner, Elaine Street, Kendrick Thomas, Kip Hansen, Tanner Thompson.
  22. PUBLIC HEARING – ZONING CODE AMENDMENT. Public hearing to receive comments on various text amendments to the zoning ordinance. Mayor Burrows opened the hearing at 7:06 p.m. Kendall Welch from Jones and DeMille Engineering discussed the changes being made. She indicated that the changes are being made to increase consistency and compliance with certain statutory requirements. It is also to address clarity and correctness issues such as internal inconsistencies or conflicts, grammatical errors, elimination of redundant elements, which they did a lot of, and most importantly, to relocate and integrate the City’s zoning ordinance into the City’s Municipal Code. This will improve administration and enforcement aspects and increase transparency. The Planning Commission has been involved throughout the process and voted unanimously to recommend approval of the amendments to the City Council for adoption. Hearing no comments, Mayor Burrows closed the hearing at 7:11 p.m.
  23. PUBLIC HEARING – GENERAL PLAN FUTURE MAP. Public hearing to receive comments on an amendment to the City’s General Plan Future Zoning Map changing the zoning designation for the property located along 500 West between 1300 South and 1500 South from general commercial to RM-11 multi-family residential. Mayor Burrows opened the hearing at 7:12 p.m. Mark Jensen stated that this property is close to his commercial property. The City keeps allowing residential developments into that commercial area, and he can see that there may be future problems there. He also stated that the City moved them because of the Airport and the safety zone, yet multi-family is being considered right in what he calls the crash zone. There is a height restriction because of the Airport. Mr. Riches stated that he has applied and been approved by the FAA for the height. This is a boutique resort so it will be open for rentals. He indicated that people will be able to purchase shares in the rentals. Some people want to buy full units.

He indicated that it will be run like a hotel. He was asked if he was concerned about the noise from the Airport. He said if he were putting families there, he would be concerned.

Councilmember Hansen clarified that the only thing that was keeping him from developing the project as a commercial project was the requirement for retail space.

Councilmember Thompson stated that the City has been burned by developers coming in and changing the zone for a project, and then they change their mind because they cannot make money doing it. Mr. Riches stated that he is the owner and that other investors will purchase some units.

Mayor Burrows closed the hearing at 7:20 p.m.

  1. MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS DISCUSSED. Corey Morrison gave the Council a petition opposing the bike trails. He stated he is here because the City sponsors the bike trails and has spent tax money helping with that project, which he has some major concerns about.

He stated that when this was created, we might not have realized many of the problems that would come with it. There are human feces problems there because there are no toilets available. A large number of campers and bikers have started to use the lower portion of the mountain. He felt that this should have been taken care of before the trails ever came. He also felt this came under the radar because he did not know anything about it until they were there. He has talked with many people who have signed his petition, and they did not know much about this until they came in. He felt like this had been a one-sided thing.

This is all driven by the people interested in biking, who have made most of the decisions and had the support of Richfield City, Sevier County, and the Forest Service. He does not blame the Council because they did not hear the other side of the story. Many people are against this, and not necessarily the trails down low, although it has turned into kind of a disaster up there. There are some areas hunters and outdoorsmen are very concerned about.

Mr. Morrison stated that the road was dangerous and knew there would be an accident. It is overused and not built for that many people up and down it, especially in the fall when there are side-by-sides, hunters, and now we have added a crazy amount of bikers to that mix. A lot of people are coming from the City and driving like they are in the City and going up and down that road at a crazy speed. There have been a lot of people who say that they have had close calls on that road.

He also stated that the top trail starting in Cottonwood was built right through elk and deer bedding areas and feeding areas. Now, bikes are flying through some pretty important habitats, so they do not use this area. He has seen some significant changes up there.

The petition he presented was just thrown together in two weeks, and if he had a longer period, he guaranteed that there would be a lot more people signing it. People are concerned about this spreading to other mountains in our area. They want to see the upper trail shut down. They are fine with the lower trails, but issues such as restrooms and a campground need to be dealt with. They are not so concerned with the lower trails, but they would hope that their side would have some say now as we start spending our money and making decisions as Richfield City and the Forest Service. They would hope their side would be brought into the conversation about adding new trails that need to take place.

Again, they would like to see the upper trail closed, but they would compromise and agree to close it in September and October to limit traffic and danger issues. That way, it limits dangerous situations on that road and would allow the animals to use that area more during those critical months when they are getting ready for winter. At least that would limit people traveling here from going down that trail during a critical time of the year for safety purposes and some habitat issues that he thinks are going on up there.

Also, he talked to Councilmember Gardner about finding a building lot, and there are not any lots in Richfield for single-family homes. He hopes the Council could address that problem and help encourage that, even if Richfield City has to dig in and build some subdivisions and make it more accessible to build homes in our area.

He thanked the Council for their time, and he knows that the bikers disagree with him, but he knows many people agree with him. We need to compromise. We cannot just be one-sided with this. He knows it brings tourism, but that is not the most important thing. Our way of life, to him, is the most important thing. He hopes that our way of life will be considered as we make more decisions like that one and how it might affect us when we build trails and bring in a crazy amount of people to the area, and it will affect an area like it has that one. It will never be the same, so it is a big deal for him and others.

Councilmember Hansen stated that this is really up to the Forest Service, but Mr. Morrison said they listen to Richfield and the County. His side is willing to compromise. If shutting it down completely is not going to work, then we should at least shut it down for September and October.

Councilmember Thompson felt that the time for compromise is during the planning stage, not after. We have accepted grant funds for a project, and we cannot shut it down because we agreed to terms when we received the funds. The agreement states that the project will be kept open, accessible, and safe for public use. We would be in jeopardy of the State requiring us to pay back the money they granted to us if we shut it down. Mr. Morrison did not think they would and gave the example of ATV trails being shut down during certain times of the year for wildlife because of the winter range.

Councilmember Gardner stated that this situation is different because that road was not funded with grant money. Mayor Burrows said they shut the roads down to prevent them from destruction. Mr. Morrison stated that there are seasonal trails.

Councilmember Thompson is concerned that if we shut down more areas for wildlife, this is a super left-leaning, liberal policy that they have started to do in Moab. He does not think that we should get in the habit of shutting down public land to people who come to use the trails.

Mayor Burrows does not want to see the community get into a battle because we are not that kind of community. He understands Mr. Morrison’s frustration because he has hunted up there forever, too. There are parts of it that he does not like, but it is public ground. The last thing he wants to see is people getting to fighting, so the feds come in and shut everything down. The only people up there who have dollars invested are the cattlemen. They pay for those permits.

Mr. Morrison stated that he is in the process of connecting with them because he understands that they have the same opinion.

Mayor Burrows stated that we are supporting the people who are doing the trails because the City had to participate in order for them to receive funding to build them. It was not the City’s idea to build the trails. There was a group of individuals who brought the idea to the City. There were public hearings, and the Forest Service did their studies; this was a long process. Perhaps Mr. Morrison was unaware of this, but he did not know how to invite every person who that might impact. All we can do is put the information out there, and then it is up to people to come and voice their opinions. He sees that if this gets really heated, they will shut the ATV trails down because that would be the easiest.

Mr. Morrison is asking that both sides be considered because that is important. Just because some of the businesses in town that have a lot of money are pushing for this does not mean that there are not other people who are not very concerned with this.

Mayor Burrows does not want to see a divide in our community because we will all have a difference of opinion. What is going to be the next? Are the bikers going to come in and say that there is cow crap on the trails and they want the cattle off the mountain? At what point does it stop? We all have to live here and have the right to use that.

Mr. Morrison is not the type of person to just sit back when he does not agree with it, and many people in the community do not agree with it. He will not sit back and say it is okay to continue developing this and the trails through this area. Councilmember Thompson was not aware that we had any trails planned. Mr. Morrison stated that he understood that restrooms, campgrounds, and more lower trails are proposed.

Councilmember Hansen stated that the County is branded as Trail Country, and the City rebranded itself as the Heart of Trail Country to market our community. We have made a great commitment to market our community, and sometimes that is a mixed blessing, but we have done a pretty good job of it. People have come from all over, so what we hoped to happen happened.

Mr. Morrison hoped the Council would consider how their decision would affect the community. There are good and bad things in all we do, so he hopes they will consider this. He loves where he lives. Mayor Burrows agreed with Mr. Morrison that we need a balance. It cannot be one way or the other. Councilmember Thompson noted that hunting is a big part of our culture here, so that needs to stay. He pointed out that before the trails were built, the Forest Service had to do a study about how that trail would affect the animals. They found it to be okay.

Mark Jensen stated that he hunts on that mountain, too. During hunting season, if you are hiking in the woods, you have to wear orange. The problem he sees is that the bikers are up there during hunting season and have no idea they should be wearing orange. With a white shirt on, going through the brush is like a deer running through the brush. He knows that because he put his scope on a biker last year. They need to be aware that there are hunters with rifles up there during that time.

Edward Nielson stated that he was in the area by the parking area north of Flying J. He did not see any feces, but there was a lot of trash.

Brian Thompson stated that the local mountain bike team had been up there cleaning up for a service project, and he said that most of the garbage was coming from the freeway and not the bikers. He has been up on the road, and it has never been a car flying up the road, but some local ATVer is always going way too fast. He thinks there should be speed limit signs and some enforcement on those ATVs that are going too fast.

Mike Snow addressed the petition that Mr. Morrison stated that he was not advocating for the bikes. Still, he suggested that before Mr. Morrison hit send on that petition, remember that it becomes a public record as soon as you hit send on that petition to the Forest Service. Any environmentalists can get a hold of that petition. Anybody who wants to shut down anything on that mountain can get a hold of it. He stated that this would be a case of unintended consequences. There are plenty of people who want to shut down everything.

  1. PLANNING COMMISSION REPORT. Josh Peterson reported on the Planning Commission meeting on January 3, 2024. They discussed removing the RM-24 zoning from the future zoning map of the general plan. That would give us more of a case-by-case control instead of being in a position where we cannot deny it.

A conditional use permit was approved for a home occupation. A conditional use permit for a drive-through window at the old Pizza Hut was tabled until more definitive plans were presented.

A conditional use permit for Ryan Baker to expand a non-conforming use was tabled until he provided a plan. It looks like what he is doing is demolition and new construction.

The Planning Commission discussed the requirements for canopy size restrictions at convenience stores. They have discussed this a lot but have never acted on it. They are going to remove the canopy size requirements for convenience stores and let the setbacks dictate the size of the canopy that can be built.

They requested that the rear setback in commercial zones be changed from 20 feet to 10 feet. The Planning Commission decided that they were not going to change that.

  1. MATCHING FUNDS FOR SEWER PROJECT APPROVED. Consider committing sewer funds to help pay for the $120,000 match for the $600,000 Rural Community Opportunity Grant the City receives to put the sewer line under the freeway to connect Utah Beef Producers to the City’s sewer system. Mayor Burrows stated that we were awarded a $600,000 grant with a match of $120,000. We were the only applicant that received the maximum amount.

He discussed the matter with Henry Barlow, who told Mayor Burrows that he would pay half of the match and the overage. The County has agreed to pay $30,000 for the match, and then the ask is for the City to pay another $30,000 toward the match.

Henry Barlow stated that they had just hired a kill floor manager. They have 40 applications for an administrative assistant and are looking to fill another 15 jobs. Councilmember Thompson asked how many people this will employ. Mr. Barlow stated that once they are up and running, they will employ 100 people.

Councilmember Hansen stated that this would be an economic benefit to the community, but also educational benefits. He needs a specially trained workforce for this type of business, and he had a very productive meeting with the CTE people at the School District and Snow College. He supports Mr. Barlow’s vision and trusts what he has represented to the Council at this point.

Mayor Burrows stated that we still have feedlots in our valley, and what Mr. Barlow is doing could very well shore that up. Two of the auction houses in the State of Utah are right here in our County, so he thinks it is a good fit.

Councilmember Thomas declared a conflict of interest because Jones and Demille had been involved. Motion: Approve the expenditure of $30,000 for the match to run the sewer line under the freeway, Action: Approved, Moved by Kip Hansen, Seconded by Tanner Thompson. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yes = 5). Yes: Brayden Gardner, Elaine Street, Kendrick Thomas, Kip Hansen, Tanner Thompson.

  1. AIRPORT GROUND LEASE APPROVED. The Council reviewed a ground lease agreement with JJ Lund for space four on the east side of the Airport. Mr. Robinson stated that we need to make the power available. He does not want to give up the 3-phase power, so we should consider options to keep that. Mr. Robinson stated that Mr. Lund had received the FAA’s paperwork and purchased a building. Motion: Approve a ground lease agreement with JJ Lund for space four on the east side of the highway, Action: Approved, Moved by Tanner Thompson, Seconded by Elaine Street. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yes = 5). Yes: Brayden Gardner, Elaine Street, Kendrick Thomas, Kip Hansen, Tanner Thompson.
  2. OTHER BUSINESS. Mr. Hansen told the Council that he is working on an exit strategy and finding someone to sit in his chair. Mayor Burrows told Mr. Hansen that he appreciated him and hoped his future endeavors would work out for him. It is a tough job, and Mayor Burrows stated that Mr. Hansen has done a great job.

Councilmember Thomas felt that we have great momentum with fundraising for the pool. He has gone around to different businesses and given out our booklet that we made requesting donations for the pool, and it has been well received. For the public, we are trying to raise as much money as possible to go back to the Community Impact Board and request whatever remainder is needed to get a grant and loan to fund a new pool. The more money we can raise as a community, the better chance we have of money to build it. We have talked about sending out more information via text to all the water users so that they can access the information and a link to put their names down to pledge or donate money.

Mayor Burrows noted that this has been a hard, hard project. We are not getting what we all want, but we are getting what will suit our community at this point in time. Unfortunately, it costs a lot of money, and we are at the wrong time right now for oil and gas. Mineral lease monies are crucial to our area, especially our little community and the communities up and down this valley.

It was reported that the Rural Water Association of Utah has chosen Richfield to receive the Outstanding Water Service Customer Award.

The carpet for the library is coming next week so they will be closed for two weeks. They have volunteers coming to move books. They will move the books from downstairs to upstairs and then move them downstairs to carpet the upstairs.

  1. MEETING ADJOURNED. At 8:27 p.m., Motion: Adjourn, Action: Adjourned, Moved by Brayden Gardner, Seconded by Tanner Thompson. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yes = 5). Yes: Brayden Gardner, Elaine Street, Kendrick Thomas, Kip Hansen, Tanner Thompson.

PASSED and APPROVED this 13th day of February 2024.