Horizontal hotel or short-term rentals? Ivins debates developer’s request – St George News

IVINS — The developer calls it a horizontal hotel and residential development. Opponents say it is a way to bring more short-term rentals into Ivins.

Rize Capital Chief Operating Officer Jerry Miyahara speaks at the Ivins City Council, Ivins, Utah, July 21, 2022 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Either way, the Ivins City Council will be holding a public hearing on Aug. 4 to determine whether the developer will be permitted to re-zone 113 acres from low density to allow for 550 homes and townhomes in eastern Ivins at the corner of Puerto Drive and 400 South.

The developer, Rize Capital, said it intends for at least half the homes to be short-term rentals although they emphasize that they would be managing them, rather than established short-term rental providers Airbnb and Vrbo.

While four of the council’s five members have already voiced in previous meetings being unequivocally against the widespread licensing and authorization of short-term rentals throughout Ivins. However, a city ordinance passed in 2015 does allow for short-term rentals in “resort mixed use” zones.

During its meeting last Thursday, the Ivins Council heard a presentation from Rize Chief Operating Officer Jerry Miyahara concerning the development, known as “SITLA 120” as it is on land owned by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). The state-run administration manages land acquired through trusts with real estate earnings going towards state higher education institutions and other state institutions. Rize is developing the SITLA land.

Council member Lance Anderson at the Ivins City Council meeting, Ivins, Utah, July 21, 2022 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Council member Lance Anderson told St. George News that even while being against short-term rentals citywide, the council can’t legally prevent Rize from having short-term rentals on the land but still has a say on how many are permitted. And having a smaller “overlay” zone is better than having the rentals throughout the city.

“If you have an area that you set aside for it, and I’m not saying this is a good area, then that’s makes it so everybody around there knows what you’re getting,” Anderson said. “That’s why I want to keep the short-term overlay so we can define where short-term rentals are. The council is almost unanimous, no short-term rentals here as far as your Airbnbs and the Vrbos. This wouldn’t be Airbnb.”

There are already resort developments in Ivins like Encanto and the Sentierre Resort that offer short-term rentals.

Council member Mike Scott said he understands the confusion some residents may have about the short-term rental overlay. “I was confused myself,” I said. But Scott added that ultimately if the city’s general plan allows for some resort development that includes short-term rentals to bring in revenue for the city, the best the council may be able to do is limit it to areas mostly in the eastern part of the city ​​already zoned for resorts.

“This gets really murky for me. The Planning Commission is going to be sending us some recommendations to potentially expand short-term rentals in the city. But at our last City Council meeting we were all saying, “No, no, no, no, that’s not what we want to do,” Scott said. “But there’s a place for short-term rentals, but it’s not all over.”

During the July 7 meeting, City Manager Dale Coulam expressed concern that Rize has changed the plans for the land from what was previously presented to the city’s Planning Commission in May and earlier this month – notably SITLA stating in a letter of the development being a ” residential community,” rather than a resort.

An area is shaded on a map showing where a developer is hoping to build 550 residences, half of which would be short-term rentals, Ivins, Utah, July 21, 2022 | Photo courtesy of Ivins City, St. George News

“I’m concerned this doesn’t reflect the project presented,” Coulam said. “I’m kind of perplexed with what I see as opposed to what we saw previously.”

Miyahara told Coulam and the council that the plans have not changed, but the developer had not yet included in their written proposal a plan to have a commercial office on site to handle check-ins and other operations of the short-term rentals, calling the property in “horizontal hotel.”

“This plan hasn’t changed. I envisioned this not as a subdivision plan,” Minyahara told the council. “This is a land development master plan.”

Minyahara said he wanted to assure the council the central office and rental plan will be included at the upcoming public hearing.

Coulam noted that in approving a rezoning is not about approving what a developer ultimately puts on a site, but the limits on what they can develop. “The question is ready to move this to a public hearing,” Coulam said.

And move to a public hearing it will – a City Council public hearing that might be as contentious as the one the Planning Commission held on May 17 that had as many as 17 Ivins residents speak out against granting the developer the re-zoning.

(LR) Rize Capital CEO Scott Stowall and Chief Operating Officer Jerry Miyahara speak at the Ivins City Council, Ivins, Utah, July 21, 2022 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Concerns raised included traffic increases, the increase of short-term rentals in the city, water concerns, and a detriment to property values ​​and the “aesthetic beauty” of the city. “This is death by a thousand cuts,” one resident said, according to the minutes of the May 17 meeting.

The water concern, at least, may be out of the council’s hands as it voted unanimously Thursday to approve an addendum for new developments that the city will no longer guarantee a water supply for new developments. Instead, developers will need to go to the Washington County Water Conservancy for approval for water use, then provide the city with a guarantee from the water district that they will have a water supply.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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