After nearly one year of putting new overnight accommodation development on pause, Grand County is now officially accepting applications subject to new and rigorous standards.
“If they reach the standards that we are asking for, Grand County is going to have a project to be very, very proud of,” said county council member Mary McGann.
New hotels, motels, and campgrounds in the county must produce most of their energy needs onsite, install transportation infrastructure, re-use rainwater for landscaping, and limit impacts to Moab’s red rock viewshed.
Elected officials first took a hard look at overnight accommodations with a six month moratorium early last year. At that time, citizens described feeing “overwhelmed” by rapid growth in the hotel sector at the expense other commercial needs.
“The citizens were the drivers in many, many ways. It was the citizen’s outcry and concern,” McGann said.
Elected officials said these new standards are about balance in Grand County’s economy. Their new process asks hotel developers to weigh their project against issues like economic diversification, job creation, and housing demand.
“I’m very excited that we have finally gotten to this point where we can approve something that – I think it will give us a good product,” said council member Jaylyn Hawks. “It’s the single issue in my five years on the council that I have viewed as so nonpartisan. It’s basically got support across the community.”
Moab City is currently working through their own separate but similar process of creating development standards for new overnight accommodations.
Thanks to Molly Marcello from KZMU in Moab for covering this story. Visit kzmu.org for more of her coverage.