Blanding City Council agrees on trees

Members of the Blanding City Council approved a tree trimming policy, approved their contract to repair hail damage and received the Healthy Utah Award at their latest meeting.
At their May 10 meeting, Blanding City Council unanimously approved a formal policy regarding tree trimming near city power lines.
The policy lays out responsibilities of customers. Including that residents not plant large or fast-growing trees under or near existing power lines and that customers call Blanding City if they notice any tree within 10 feet of an electric line.
The policy also clarifies that customers should not attempt to trim any tree near a powerline. Blanding Electric will trim trees free of charge if work is deemed necessary, residents can also hire professional service companies to trim their trees for them. 
At the meeting the council also approved a contract with Tri-Hurst to repair damages on city property sustained by a hail storm.
Tri-Hurst’s bid for the project was $13,000 over the amount covered by liability insurance. City staff and the construction company worked through line items on the bid to remove duplicates and brought the price down by $8,400; the remaining $4,800 of work not covered by insurance will be paid out of city savings.
Council approved the contract with a stipulation that they’d like to see a timeline for the work from Tri-Hurst. Informal estimates at the meeting mentioned six months for the work.
Blanding City also released a performance bond held by Tri-Hurst. The nearly $100,000 bond was held by the city as the company created infrastructure improvements, including sidewalks, at the Meadowlark Subdivision.
With city staff signing-off on the work, the bond was released back to the company.
City Manager David Johnson also reported on projects at the city. Including the award of a large grant for an update to the city general plan. The $70,000 grant from UDOT was awarded based on a $10,000 match.
A city's general plan acts as a guiding document to inform policies and ideals for cities to uphold.
Johnson reports the request for proposal will go out in July with public input to follow. 
“They’ll work with the public to get probable surveys, public open houses to get opinions on things such as nightly rentals and addressing maybe gaps in our zoning.”
The discussion about nightly rentals, such as AirBnb and VRBO, was brought to the council via public comment from resident Shadd Christensen. 
Christensen has worked the past seven years in Page, Arizona where he’s seen the effects of too many nightly rentals and not enough housing for workers.
“There are other city residents that are frustrated. If we don’t get something in place we will be a Moab and we will be a Page. The problem with those two locations is the locals are suffering and they get basically ran out of town.”
Christensen also spoke about concerns with noise, trash, and traffic. 
Johnson said discussions about nightly rentals are an example of something that could be discussed as part of an update to the general plan.
“One idea to address what Mr. Christensen talked about, is you could grandfather existing nightly rentals and then select a zone they are allowed in.”
Johnson did add that recently passed state legislation has tied the hands of how cities can restrict nightly rentals and may be a battle between the league of cities and towns and the legislature to come.
Johnson emphasized that the city has not made any moves or decisions on the issue of nightly rentals and that the city ought to seek public feedback regarding the issue moving forward.

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