San Juan County Commission appoints new surveyor, approves Spanish Valley Resort SMP

by David Boyle
News Director
Members of the San Juan County Commission approved a site master plan for a Spanish Valley resort, appealed the centrally assessed value of a pipeline and appointed a county surveyor at their August 8 meeting.
At the August 8 meeting members of the county commission approved the appointment of Brad Bunker as the new San Juan County Surveyor. 
On June 7, longtime county surveyor Kent ‘Sam’ Cantrell passed away after a battle with a long-term disease. Cantrell worked for 20 years in the county survey department and was elected and served as the county surveyor from 2014 to his death in 2023.
Cantrell served his terms as a Republican party candidate. With the remaining county surveyor term running through the end of 2024, the San Juan County Republican party sent in their recommendation that Bunker fill the remaining term.
In the recommendation, County Republican Chair Sheila Stubbs Knight noted Bunker is a registered professional engineer and professional land surveyor
In their unanimously approved resolution members of the county commission thanked Bunker for his willingness to serve in the capacity as county surveyor.
Members of the San Juan County Commission unanimously approved the Spanish Valley Overnight Accommodations Overlay Development and Site Master Plan for the Balanced Rock Resort at their August 8 meeting.
The proposed 72-acre development, located northwest of Kens Lake, has plans for 220 residential units including 94 single-family lots, 42 duplexes with 88 units, 34 condominium units and 130 rooms in a lodge. The plans also include a community clubhouse, playground, and open space.
County Administrator Mack McDonald explained ahead of the commission’s approval that the only step after the site master plan is to finalize a development agreement. McDonald outlined what the site master plan will include.
“It’s supposed to lay out everything that we want in the development. Curb, gutter sidewalk roads, streetlights, trail system, what the water  retention basin looks like, how the look and feel of the overall development plays out.”
McDonald outlined a few changes to the site master plan that the county and the developer had worked on.
Among the changes was an increase from a fifty to a sixty-foot right of way for some main roads in the project. McDonald explained with the general public likely to use those roads the county will likely take over maintenance after 10 years. McDonald also noted the wider length was needed to get equipment in the area including room enough for snow plows to turn around.
Other changes highlighted included parking spots for each unit with single-family, duplexes and townhomes each having two garage parking spaces and two street parking spaces while fourplexes would have one of each for a total of 912 spots for 230 residences. Additional overflow parking will be available including for oversized vehicles.
The updated project also included clarification that if the development did not build the 130 room lodge as planned the project would still keep unused units to be converted to other residential uses. 
The entire 40-page site master plan was included with the commission agenda as well as an outline of the changes to the site master plan. 
At their August 8 meeting members of the commission also approved a cross-appeal for the 2023 centrally assessed Mid-American Pipeline.
San Juan County joins Grand, Uintah, Dagget and Summit Counties in petitioning the Utah State Tax Commission requesting a hearing and petition for redetermination of the centrally assessed value of the Mid-American Pipeline. 
The filed cross-appeal appeals the commission valuation of the property of $207,182,010. With the appeal arguing that the valuation should be at least one million dollars more.
McDonald noted with less and less centrally assessed entities in the county getting the full valuation is important for the county with the tax burden shifted on residents if the centrally assessed appeal rules in favor of Mid-American Pipeline.

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