After months of revisions, Ivins City lighting ordinance receives no complaints at council meeting

IVINS — It’s not often that people go before a city council during a public comment section to tell them what a good job they did, but that was the case with Ivins residents Thursday night regarding proposed revisions to the city’s lighting ordinance.

The Ivins City Council meets on Aug. 19, 2021 meeting at Ivins City Hall, Ivins, Utah | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

All five residents who spoke to the council complimented the work done on the revisions, including Michael Parton, who even surprised himself.

“I’ve looked through this, and I find myself in the unusual position of saying I don’t have anything to complain about,” Parton told the council. “It’s an excellent document. It moves our community in a great direction.”

The council has debated nearly every paragraph of the revised 18-page ordinance ordinance since March. While its approval or denial was expected after public comments Thursday, there were further revisions – mainly on the definition of backlit and halo signage – that warranted a continuance to yet another meeting.

Ivins Mayor Chris Hart told St. George News all of the work has been to make sure there is a balance between safety and maintaining a dark sky in Ivins.

“I took very seriously the fact that we had residents who were here saying, ‘OK, the night sky is great … but we need to make sure that their kids are safe.’ And the council took note of that,” Hart said. “So we had to come up with solutions that preserved the night sky but allowed for safety. I think the reason you heard folks stand up and say, ‘Good job’ is that I think we came really close.”

One of the biggest changes to the ordinance is the mandating of shielding for outdoor lighting fixtures where the light is directed downward and not at adjacent properties or streets. 

Examples of correct outdoor security lighting under Ivins’ proposed revised lighting ordinance put before the Ivins City Council in 2021 | Diagram courtesy of Ivins City, St. George News | Click to enlarge

There is also a limit on the amount of lumens of light strength overall for the outdoor area of residences and businesses, though the ordinance will now allow for whiter lighting – from 2400 kelvin to a maximum of 3000 kelvin, which satisfies International Dark Sky Association guidelines for lighting not to exceed 3000. 

Hart credited the balance between dark sky and safety for avoiding the public outcry seen when Ivins attempted to obtain certification as an International Dark Sky Community in November 2019, when the City Council voted to cease pursuit of Dark Sky designation.  

Hart said the new ordinance doesn’t make such a designation out of the question in the near future, adding that Snow Canyon State Park is actively trying to obtain designation as an International Dark Sky Park, following Zion National Park recently obtaining the status

Also new in the revised Ivins lighting ordinance are prohibitions on video or digital signage, as well as electronic message signs unless they are for traffic control, construction areas or special events approved by the city. 

While the ordinance was expected to receive a final vote Thursday, discussion continued regarding the difference between a halo-lit and backlit sign. Ultimately, with member Dennis Mehr absent, the council tabled passage of the ordinance to their next meeting by a 3-1 vote, with Cheyne McDonald the lone “no” vote.

“It’s only one more meeting folks,” Hart told the council.

“I’m just done with it,” McDonald said jokingly. “But I’m fine. I’ll get over it.”

Height waiver for Black Desert Resort

The council weighed but ultimately tabled a decision on whether to provide the Black Desert Resort at Entrada project an exception to the city’s height limit of 35 feet for buildings. 

Representation from 2020 of the Black Desert Resort at Entrada, Ivins City, Utah | Photo courtesy of Black Desert Resort at Entrada, St. George News

The developers of the resort, Enlaw LLC, are looking for approval to make the hotel on the property 55 feet high from grade for the property’s hotel and 45 feet for other buildings at the resort.
The developers provided the council a video of a computer simulation they said showed the higher height won’t interfere with the natural beauty of the Ivins area as it will be built from a lower grade than the street level. They also showed images of a demonstration using a drone showing how high the hotel would be from street level – showing that from Snow Canyon Parkway, the 55-foot hotel would actually be obscured by the 22-foot-high culinary village structures at the resort closer to the parkway. 

After members of the council requested an in-person drone demonstration, the proposal was continued until the next council meeting. Council members will gather at the resort site this Thursday for an in-person demonstration. 

An exception to the height limit would not be unprecedented, as one was granted to Rocky Vista University before it was constructed. 

Ivins Building and Zoning official Cody Mitchell cautioned the council that it will be important to educate the public, as the hotel will be built before the other structures at the resort.

“This will be the first building built, and we will receive phone calls until the culinary village is built,” Mitchell said.

Ivins may take a Spin

Representatives from Spin made a pitch to the council to bring their e-scooters to Ivins.

The division of the Ford Motor Company has already had an e-scooter partnership with St. George.  After the presentation, the council said it will likely consider such a partnership at a future meeting. 

“The council will digest all that,” Hart said. “It sounded like everybody was kind of intrigued by it.”

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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