Hurricane wants to hear from the public about the city’s future growth

In this file photo shown for illustration purposes, off-road vehicles traverse Sand Mountain in Sand Hollow State Park, Utah, April 20, 2013 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

HURRICANE — Hurricane City has released a draft of their updated general plan and general plan map for public review.

The plan was discussed Thursday evening during a Hurricane City Council pre-meeting. The purpose of the plan, as stated in the draft, is to articulate the values and vision for the future of the city by identifying initiatives that can be undertaken to achieve and advance focused goals.

During the meeting, Stephen Nelson, the city planning director, said that they have already sent out the plan to several different stakeholders in the community and have yet to receive any significant complaints.

Council member Nanette Billings asked Nelson whether, in relation to the population and estimated populated growth, the updated plan included enough commercial and industrial to have a “tax base” for the needed infrastructure in the future.

To which Nelson said one of the things they are wanting to do in the general plan is not just create commercial districts, but to create commercial pieces throughout the communities that will be developed,. He said that is one of the things they are treating differently with the proposed map.

By creating certain areas where they want to see commercial development, he said, it will allow them an opportunity to be more liberal in the case that someone in that area wants to rezone for commercial or a similar use.

Hurricane Mayor John Bramall at the Hurricane City Council’s Dec. 19, 2019 meeting at Hurricane City Offices | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Mayor John Bramall said he thought it was a good idea to have smaller commercial areas woven into neighborhoods. He said in other places like California, commercial was left to be concentrated along one stretch of road, where getting from one side to the other can take “45 minutes to an hour.”

“Because it’s all commercial, but no one wants to go there,” he said, adding that in other places, such as newer developments in Las Vegas, there is commercial placed in between neighborhoods, which also allows people the opportunity to walk to various amenities.

Council member Joseph Prete said what would be helpful for evaluation would be a comparison of the current general plan and proposed plan that highlights the differences between the two, along with an explanation of why certain areas are being carved out.

Nelson said the proposed plan goes into some of the goals and policies underlying the motivations behind the updates. Preserving open space, agriculture and the “small-town feel” and “rural character” of the historic down are among goals listed in the draft.

Olivia Cvetko, a planner with Logan Simpson, told St. George News that through their review of the prior comments, they discovered that many people were interested in acquiring grants to help the city redevelop downtown.

“To provide a little more vibrancy and a little more placemaking in the area,” she said.

Another thing people were very supportive of was preserving the economical viability of agriculture. Some of the ways they went about planning for this is to allow for some flexibility in uses for agricultural properties, such as allowing for a fruit stand on the property, she said, or even leasing out part of the property for a wedding venue, which would help diversify opportunities for income.

This chart illustrates the proposed future land use in Hurricane, location and date unspecified | Screenshot taken from the proposed plan for Hurricane City, St. George News | Click to enlarge

Cvetko said about 30% of the current plan was implemented into the proposed plan. One of the major changes overall is the breakdown of the general plan map, which provides direction for those interested in rezoning their property.

By breaking down areas into different categories, such as single family or multiple family, she said, this plan will serve as a better guide for the Planning Commission to make decisions, as well as for people looking to rezone a property.

An interesting note stated in the draft is that 70% of land in Hurricane has not been developed. Of that, 30% is undeveloped due to topographical barriers such as steep slopes and floodplains.

Some other interesting aspects involved the workforce. Over 75% of residents work outside the city, while 71% of Hurricane’s workforce commutes into Hurricane from surrounding areas. From a broader perspective of employment in the city, the draft  shows that the number of jobs available in Hurricane equates to 5,294, compared to an estimated 6,700 households. In addition, income inequality is higher than the national average.

Residents and others are encouraged to review the plan and comment here. Comments will be reviewed and changes will be considered. Public comment will close on Jan. 13 and a Planning Commission hearing will be held for the draft on Jan. 14.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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