City Council OKs bonds for Mall Drive Bridge construction, addresses cargo container zoning ordinance

Cargo containers at Kustom Container, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The St. George City Council approved a resolution for the sale of $10 million worth of government bonds to help finance the construction of the Mall Drive Bridge in a council meeting Thursday night. The City Council also heard recommendations for a proposed ordinance regulating the use of storage containers.

Mall Drive Bridge

St. George City Manager Gary Esplin recommended the City Council approve a resolution which would allow the city to sell $10 million worth of 15-year-term bonds for the purpose of providing funding for the Mall Drive Bridge. The proposed bridge, which has been in the works for the last seven years, would be a part of an extension of Mall Drive that would span the Virgin River and intersect with 3000 East in Washington Fields.

Proposed Mall Drive Bridge | Image courtesy of City of St. George,
Proposed Mall Drive Bridge | Image courtesy of City of St. George,

“The need for finishing the Mall Drive Bridge is extremely important to the master plan of the city,” Esplin said, in that he believes it is the only viable alternative to alleviate traffic issues on River Road.

The bonds will require $750,000 annually and are supported by franchise tax revenues. Esplin noted there is already $750,000 in the current 2013-14 budget to apply to the bonds.

“I’d like to see this go as quickly as we can while the market is still in our favor,” he said.

Timing surrounding the bridge is critical due to market and other factors, Esplin told the council. It is also anticipated that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will soon give the OK for construction in the Virgin River. While waiting on that approval, the city will call for open bids for the bridge construction around Oct. 8.

The city is also currently working with two separate property owners who have land that the projected road will run through.

If the federal agency gives the thumbs up on the project and everything falls into place, work on the bridge could begin in January 2014 and possibly be completed within a year, Esplin said.

If the Fish and Wildlife Service does not give approval in the near-future however, the next window of opportunity for the city will be in August 2014.

The council unanimously passed the resolution for sale of the bonds.

Storage container ordinance

The city council also heard recommendations from the planning commission for zoning regulations regarding storage containers that had been drafted into a proposed ordinance.

Cargo containers can be from 20-to-50 feet long and weigh several tons empty. Due to the security and durability they offer, cargo containers have become popular means of temporary storage at construction sites, or places of long-term storage in commercial and agricultural settings.

Concern over the use of the containers in residential areas is a different matter, however, and led to the creation of the proposed ordinance.

Cargo container rented by Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
Cargo container rented by Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

Scott Roper, owner of Kustom Containers, told the city council during the meeting that the cargo containers are much more resilient and secure than a standard shed. Due to its weight as well, a container isn’t likely to be blown apart by a strong wind.

About the only drawback to a using a cargo container for storage, Roper said, is the fact it’s not always aesthetically pleasing to the neighbors.

“I’d hate to see any regulation on containers,” Roper said, although he said he understood the needs for potential aesthetic requirements if a container were placed in a residential area –  something his company actually discourages.

The planning commission held a public hearing in May concerning the containers. Until this year, the city has had no formal standing on where a cargo container could and could not be kept within the city, or how they should be maintained. The only reason the city officials started to look into the matter is because someone approached them about putting a container on their property which was in a residential area.

While various recommendations were made by the planning commission concerning the containers, the city council voted to continue the public hearing to a later date. Both members of the council and the public wanted more time to review the ordinance and the differing sets of regulation it proposes.

“We’ve got some work we can do on this,” Councilman Jimmie Hughes said.

In the meantime, Mayor Dan McArthur said the proposed ordinance would be set up on the city’s website for public review and a future public hearing.

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Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Cargo containers at Kustom Container, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
Cargo containers at Kustom Container, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

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  • Richard September 20, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Perfect example why people are tired of this city council! I can’t leave my nice looking boat parked in front of my house for more then 2 weeks or whatever time frame, yet it’s perfectly ok to put these hideous boxes of metal anywhere you like. I guess I didn’t pay my 10 percent!!!

    • Joe September 20, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Richard, not really sure what the principle of tithing has to do with you being able to park your boat in front of your house. There was not reference what so ever to the LDS practice or anything LDS at all. Do you just blame everything on them if it doesn’t fit your ideals? WoW. Anyway, if you are parking your boat on the road in front of your house, it becomes a safety hazard and an eyesore since it blocks part of the road. If it is front of your house in a driveway, I have no idea what the problem would be and that is a city issue you need to discuss with them. I do understand the ugly box issue. I wonder if there is a way they can alter these boxes and make them look more like sheds so they are more pleasing to have in the yard. They are wonderful storage boxes, but look hideous. Wonder if they can attach an A frame room, that may help.

      • Richard September 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        Golly gee Joe, please show me anywhere I said anything about it being LDS or a Mormon thing! I’m sorry that you think everything is about you and the LDS! Thanks for playying but your way too easy!

    • Chuck September 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      Provide one example where a member of the LDS was allowed to park a boat in front of their home like you wish to do, and was allowed to get away with it.

      • Richard September 20, 2013 at 7:55 pm

        Chuck are you and Joe like attached at the hip? Once again please show where I said anything about LDS or Mormon!Take your time and read all my comments and quote me. This is about cargo containers and not the LDS issue you want to make it. This is getting too easy. Take your time and read all my comments and quote me.

        • Jake September 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm

          “I guess I didn’t pay my ten percent!” There’s your quote. Moving on.

          • Craig September 21, 2013 at 7:59 am

            Are the LDS the only cult that exploits their membership to the tune of 10%? I believe most church/cults expect 10% from their members….unless the talking rocks in the hat tell them otherwise….

          • Betty September 21, 2013 at 9:33 am

            Gentlemen, first of all, I am NOT Mormon – never have, never will. But I would like to remind all of you that tithing IS a biblical practice and not something the Mormons came up with. I think the Mormons may be one of the first organized religion’s to keep track of each persons giving account. Nevertheless, I do tithe to my church, not because it is expected but because I choose to. I’ll take 90% with me and God than 100% of me alone!

  • DoubleTap September 20, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Speaking of code enforcement rules and regulations….has anyone seen the mess at the Mayors place of business (Interstate Steel & Supply) on Telegraph on the border of St. George and Washington?
    Junk piled way above the fence and scattered all over the place that is “viewable” from the “public right of way, (aka: street). I know residents of St. George who have been contacted by code enforcement officials for having old fencing stacked on the side of the house that is “viewable” from the “public right of way” (aka: street). Why is it that the Mayor of St. George gets a pass from code enforcement officials?….because he is the Mayor? Since when is a Mayor above the law of his own city? Sure sounds like it is time for a new Mayor who would adhere to the same laws he pushes and enforces.

    • Dan Must Go September 20, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      You forgot the scrap yard mess downtown just off St George Blvd? The funny part of article is the mayor promised to make this available for public review and public hearing. Bet that non-transparent mayor never did that before.

  • Dan Must Go September 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    See what others have to say about how selective Dan is on enforcing code violations. BTW, why hasn’t anything been done about those condemned buildings above Bluff St? Did the Dan regime allow/permit them to be built? What about that abandoned apartment complex just off 100 south, east of Bluff Street? Nobody has lived there for years, weeds grown up, junk strewn about. C’mon danny mac, quit singin’ dixie and do your job!

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