On second thought, Ivins approves height exemption for Black Desert Resort after changes made

IVINS — After previously rejecting an exemption for the Black Desert Resort at Entrada to the city’s building height limits, the Ivins City Council approved the exemption at their Thursday night meeting after the resort’s developer made changes to their request.

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 council voted down an exemption to the city’s 35-foot limit at its Sept. 2 meeting, with the biggest concerns over the rooftop of the resort’s hotel having a space for parties and events.

Enlaw LLC manager Patrick Manning has removed the 1,000-square-foot event space on the roof and restricted public access there, as well as removing elevator access to the roof area, changes that City Council member Sue Gordhammer said during the meeting were enough to change her mind. 

“My primary concern was preventing public access to the roof,” Gordhammer said during the meeting. “Because that has been removed, I am OK.”

The ultimate vote was 4-1 in favor of the exemption, with Gordhammer and fellow council member Cheyne McDonald changing their previous “no” votes. Dennis Mehr was the lone council member sticking to his “no” vote. Even while voting no, Mehr told those in the council chamber that his “concern has been resolved.”

McDonald told St. George News that the council is not bending to developer’s whims, saying the process with Black Desert Resort shows that ultimately it’s the council making the final decision as to what is best for the community. 

“I would definitely say they have the right to give their input, but they do not dictate really what goes on. We do,” McDonald said. “They show us their vision and we work it out to, ‘Does it fit our vision or does it not?’ Obviously the height didn’t completely fit. So I think by them bringing that down, it was a good thing and a good thing for the community.”

Diagram shows updated design, as of Oct. 8, 2021, for the Black Desert Resort at Entrada with the elimination of public access to the roof of it’s hotel | Photo courtesy of City of Ivins, St. George News | Click to enlarge

The hotel will remain the tallest part of the resort at 54 feet, though the plans show it is being built 25 feet before street level. Manning has said that because its base is below street level, the hotel won’t be visible past the 16-foot resort buildings along Snow Canyon Parkway. 

Black Desert Resort had previously been approved by the council to take out a bond being paid for through higher property taxes for resort residents but rejected more direct monetary aid from the city in April. 

During the Thursday meeting, Manning mentioned that the resort is also making a concession to the drought, eliminating a large water display originally planned for the resort’s entrance after consultation with Washington Water Conservancy District General Manager Zach Renstrom.

“We told our architects to get rid of that and find another way to beautify that corner,” Manning said. 

Ordinance created for 5G wireless facilities

The Ivins Council unanimously approved a new ordinance to cover the installation and use of small wireless antenna apparatuses used mainly for 5G cellular coverage. 

An undated stock photo of a small wireless facility used for 5G wireless | Photo by Pixabay, St. George News

The small wireless facilities have a smaller profile than the traditional cell phone towers of past years but are needed for the expansion of 5G radio signal coverage that provides faster speeds and and reduced signal lag for wireless services. 

Among the stipulations in the new ordinance is that a new pole or small wireless facility cannot be placed on a residential street in Ivins without city approval.

With council members in agreement that “5G is coming,” Mehr said the ordinance gives the city control over the wireless companies, rather than vice versa. 

“We need to be proactive in our approach rather than be reactive and not have control,” Mehr said. 

Also in the ordinance are rules that include the wireless equipment needing to be non-reflective and the same color as the pole or surface it is on and not include advertising signage.

In other business

Undated photo shows a “Disaster Hub Box” that includes radio equipment and other equipment for damage and injury assessment in the case of a disaster, Ivins, Utah | Photo courtesy of City of Ivins, St. George News

The Ivins City Council set in motion a process to request bids for a new art installation for the Snow Canyon Parkway-Snow Canyon Drive intersection roundabout. The new piece will replace the Heritage Sculpture that previously stood in the center of the roundabout, which has since been moved to the front of the new City Hall that is under construction. Ivins Art Commission Chairperson Judith Kapuscinski told the council the process may take up to a year. 

Two city employees were honored by the council with the 2021 Mayor’s Award for community service. Kent Cook and Wilson Jimenez were honored for helping to implement the city’s new disaster plan, including the installation of “Disaster Hub Boxes” that include radio equipment and other equipment for damage and injury assessment in the case of a disaster.

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

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