Council considers giving DSU control of campus roads, plans for Little Valley development

The St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, Jan. 3, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News.

ST. GEORGE – City council met for a work meeting Thursday and talked about their long-term plans for the city.

Two items were on the agenda last night: a request from Dixie State University for the city to grant the university ownership of the streets on the DSU campus, and a discussion about development in the rapidly growing Little Valley area of St. George.

Road Scholars

Dixie State University has requested that the city transfer ownership of many of the streets within its campus to the university.

“They want to be able to control their own accesses, and whatever else,” City Manager Gary Esplin said. “The college would like to control the parking on their streets,” he said, “and we don’t want to get in there to issue parking citations and get in their business.”

If the city approves the transfer of ownership, DSU would then be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the roads.

Esplin anticipated that the university might block access to some roads on the campus. “The college doesn’t want the public running through the middle of the college.”

Councilman Jon Pike asked if DSU could ensure that emergency vehicles would be able to access the campus. Esplin said that the city would have control of “peripheral roads” and that DSU would have to agree that they maintain open access to the campus in case of an emergency.

The council agreed to ask the university to make a proposal and the council would then discuss terms for the transfer.

Stuck in the mud

The Little Valley area of St. George has undergone rapid development over the past several years, and residents have been pressuring city officials to take measures to more closely regulate the shape and scope of that development.

In one section of Little Valley, a large pool of groundwater rests just beneath the surface. In some places it is only five-feet underground.

Houses can be built in this area only after significantly grading the surface with fill-dirt, essentially raising the foundation of the house by several feet.

The council discussed whether there was a need to pass zoning laws to regulate what sort of homes can be built in the area.

“What happens if somebody decides to build a basement?” Esplin asked. “Should we enact an ordinance that says ‘no basements?’”

The council agreed to further discuss and possibly vote on the measure at a future session.

The council was also concerned about growing traffic concerns in Little Valley. More than 50 permits of building permits in the past year have been issued in Little Valley, said Esplin.

The area south of 2650 South has been especially problematic because 3000 East and Little Valley Road are the only routes connecting this area of Little Valley to the rest of city. However, both roads are only two-lanes wide and a section of 3000 East has not yet been paved, leading to dust complaints due to the heavy morning and evening traffic.

The council discussed completing 3000 East, repaving the entire road to make it suitable for the growing traffic demands; however, that would force all of the traffic through Little Valley Road while the road is being paved. The city will first have to build a third road into Little Valley before they can shut down one of the two current routes.

The council decided to have the streets department to perform a “quick and dirty” traffic study, and to make a recommendation to the council on how to proceed.

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

The St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, Jan. 3, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News.
The St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, Jan. 3, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News.

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