Minutes – 09.13.2021

COUNTY OF SEVIER 

CITY OF RICHFIELD

                                                                                    At the Planning Commission

                                                                                    In and For Said City

                                                                                    September 13, 2021

         Minutes of the Richfield City Planning Commission special meeting held on Monday, September 13, 2021, at 6:00 p.m., Chairman Kendrick Thomas, presiding.

1.      Roll Call

2.       Public Hearing (6:00 p.m.)

         A.   Receive comments regarding a proposed amendment to Section 1706 of the

               Richfield City Land Use Code setting requirements for internal accessory dwelling

               units (IADUs) as a permitted use in all residential zones with the exception of the

               R1-6 zone.

3.      Action on Public Hearing

         A.   Consider recommending that the City Council approve a proposed amendment

               to Section 1706 of the Richfield City Land Use Code setting requirements for internal

               accessory dwelling units (IADUs) as a permitted use in all residential zones with the

               exception of the R1-6 zone.

4.      Zoning Code

         A.   Consider proposal to amend the Richfield Land Use Code defining motel/hotel/

               Extended stay, and regulations to be adopted pertaining to the same.

5.       Adjournment

1.      Roll Call.  Roll call was answered by Kendrick Thomas, Greg Bean, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wes Kirschner, Blaine Breinholt, and Josh Peterson.

City Staff Present:   City Manager Michele Jolley, Chief of Police Trent Lloyd, and Deputy City Recorder Michelle Curtis.    

Others present: No others were present. 

2.     Public Hearing  (6:00 p.m.)   

         A.     6:03 p.m.   A public hearing was held to receive comments regarding a proposed amendment to Section 1706 of the Richfield City Land Use Code setting requirements for internal accessory dwelling units (IADUs) as a permitted use in all residential zones with the exception of the R1-6 zone.

There were no public comments.  The hearing closed at 6:04 p.m. 

3.      Action on Public Hearing

         A.   Internal Accessory Dwelling Units (IADUs)

Discussion:

The language in item number 1 is somewhat confusing where it states that an “IADU cannot be rented, leased or sold separately form the rental, lease, or sale of the primary dwelling unit located on the same lot or parcel.”   The interpretation of that is that if a person sells or leases the main property, then they could not lease or rent the IADU to someone different than who is renting the main dwelling. The property has to be owner-occupied in order to rent or lease an IADU. 

Lisa White suggested that it might make more sense to say that the owner has to be the primary resident in order to have an accessory dwelling unit. 

By State Code, IADUs have to be allowed in all residential zones but can be prohibited in zones with properties that are less than 6000 square in size; therefore, the Commission will recommend that IADUs are not allowed in the R1-6 zone.

Greg Bean motioned to recommend that the City Council adopt the changes to Section 1706 of the Zoning Code as drafted, allowing IADUs in all residential zones with the exception of the R1-6 zone.  Blaine Breinholt seconded the motion.  Those voting aye:  Kendrick Thomas, Greg Bean, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wes Kirschner, Blaine Breinholt, and Josh Peterson.   Those voting nay:  None.  The motion carried

4.      Zoning Code

         A.      Consider proposal to amend the Richfield City Land Use Code defining motel/hotel/extended stay and regulations to be adopted pertaining to the same.  City Manager Michele Jolley and Chief of Police Trent Lloyd were present to discuss amending the Land Use Code to address and define motel/hotel/extended stay, and regulations to be adopted pertaining to the same.

Michele Jolley explained that the purpose for her and Chief Lloyd being present is two-fold:  (1) By having this matter on this agenda, it give the public notice that the City is going to do some amendments to this ordinance, and (2) in doing so, it is almost like putting it on a moratorium, giving the City the opportunity to get something in place regulating motels and long-term rentals.   

There are several motels that are operating as extended stay or apartments rather than motels.   It is in violation of the Zoning Code.  It is creating a lot of issues for the police department.  City staff has been looking at this issue and working with the city attorney see what can be done.  One of the things they have discussed is limiting the number of rooms that can be used for extended stay, maybe 25% of their rooms.  That is just a figure they have come up with.  The Commission and Council might think that 50% or some other number is more reasonable.   There is a need for this type of accommodation in our City.  For example, there is a handicapped couple staying in one motel and there is nowhere for them to live.  They are on a waiting list for Eagle View.  On the other hand, it appears there are a lot of people being transported from other areas because they are able to collect the rent from Covid funds.  Chief Lloyd explains that is through Utah Rent Relief which is Covid money.  As long as they produce a lease agreement and a W-9 from the landlord, their rent is paid for. 

Michele Jolley said in the Zoning Code, the definition of “motel” needs to be increased, defined better, and made more specific as to what a motel is.   Also, under the building code, an individual can only rent a room for up to 30 days.  If it goes beyond that 30 days, then they have to sign a new lease.  Staying for a longer length of time triggers building code requirements such as having a kitchenette.  Some of these rooms only have a little fridge, a microwave, and a hot plate.  None of these motels are set up to be extended stay.   

Chief Lloyd stated that this problem has increased dramatically over the summer.  Greg Bean said our Code prohibits this, but Chief Lloyd said there are no teeth in the Code.  The only recourse is a business license violation.  Mr. Bean said then the City can enforce the business license and take it out of service.  Michele Jolley explained that it is a little more difficult than that.  If they prosecute under the Zoning Code, then it is a class B misdemeanor which carries some weight, but what is in the Code is a little bit antiquated and vague as to what we expect.

Greg Bean wondered if this is a bad enough problem that we would take away their business license.  Chief Lloyd said there is one location where the police were called  9 times from January 1st until June 1st.  Since the location started having long-term housing, police have been called there 57 times in three months.  That is just one location.  There are several other locations.  The calls are not for just the same people, but multiple people.  There are at least five of these with all but one of them being on the Main Street corridor. 

Chief Lloyd said he isn’t against apartments, but the people need an actual place to live and deserve some protection.   These are set up as a motel but running as a straight-up apartment with 26 to 30 units on an acre.

Kendrick Thomas commented that people are being transported to the community which is exacerbating the problem.  Lisa White wonders if the problem will solve itself when the Covid money goes away.   Chief Lloyd said after Covid money goes away, they won’t have a way to leave.  Wes Kirschner said these places create lots of problems for the post office as well.  The property owner doesn’t want to receive the tenant’s mail, but the tenant can’t get mail because it is a single-business address. 

Lisa White wonders how we balance that?  If houses become STRs which creates a rental shortage, do motels become apartments buildings?  How do you provide the community service of providing affordable housing in the form of apartments while limiting this issue being discussed?  Chief Lloyd said we need to come up with a Code that addresses the living conditions so that they meet a certain standard such as having a kitchenette.  In order to do that, they need a building permit and they need to go through that whole process.  There are business owners now refusing to go through the process and just doing it anyway because they can make more money.      

Michele Jolley pointed out that a lot of people come here for tourism and those dollars are important to the City as far as collection of transient room tax.  If those become apartments, then the transient room tax goes away.  There is a shortage of motel rooms when there are events here.    

Lisa White said there is also have a shortage of housing.  Chief Lloyd said long term we are trying to address that, but we are just starting to address this problem. 

Greg Bean wonders how this can be implemented in a timely manner.  He doesn’t think we should reinvent the wheel and should maybe see how other cities and towns are addressing this.  Michelle Jolley responded that the City Attorney has been doing that.  He has been researching and reaching out to other communities to find out what they have done.    

Chief Lloyd said our first step is to better define what a motel is and add in a definition for long-term stay. 

Again, extended stay is a stay for not more than 30 days.  If a room is occupied for longer than 30 days, then the building code is triggered.  Under the building code it becomes a dwelling after 30 days.  Once it becomes a dwelling, then it triggers the need for a kitchenette and other issues that aren’t required for a motel.  They will also better define what the word transient means.     

Kendrick Thomas said the integrity of Main Street needs to be preserved.  Greg Bean wonders if there is a basis for allowing 25%.  Is there data to justify it?  Michele Jolley said the loss of transient room tax is one reason.  There is also a finding that for rooms are rented for periods exceeding the transient term, the City police have noted an increase in police calls to such locations, criminal activity in and about such locations, and disturbances in and around such locations.  Greg Bean wonders about allowing 25% to be extended stay.  Maybe it should only be 10%.  Michele Jolley reiterated that there is a need for some individuals to have access to this type of extended stay. 

Susan Jensen believes this is a good starting point and if it doesn’t work, it can be readjusted.  Chief Lloyd said this would make a big difference.  Even just making them transient for only 30 days would make a big difference.   

Greg Bean wondered if there can be a penalty on this to make it enforceable.  Michele Jolley said that is why they are starting this process, by noticing this on the agenda for tonight, and then City Council tomorrow night, that starts the process.  Then the City fully intends to prosecute the two businesses who do not have business licenses.  This new ordinance will allow the Police Chief to go in and see who is renting rooms, how long they are being rented for, and he can actually inspect rooms. 

5.      Adjournment.  The meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.

PASSED AND APPROVED on the 6th day October, 2021.

/s/ Michelle Curtis

       Deputy City Recorder