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Cedar City declines to back water legislation

CEDAR CITY — The City council declined to publicly back state legislation that would allow the creation of a local district to develop and to implement a groundwater management plan in cooperation with the Utah state engineer.

Senate Bill 20, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan, is intended to address the over-allocation of water rights in Utah basins.

City councilwoman Nina Barnes said she didn't feel comfortable passing a resolution SB20 because the bill has already passed in the Senate and will most likely pass in the House.

City Councilman Steve Wood agreed and said that whatever the council voted on wouldn't be pertinent to what happens in the Legislature anyway.

"We're not saying we agree or disagree," he said. "We are just saying that we don't think the resolution is going to be effective and we don't see a reason why we do it right now."

But Wood and others council members do have concerns with SB20.

In an interview after Wednesday's meeting, Wood said his primary concern is who would be represented on the newly created district board.

City Councilwoman Georgia Beth Thompson said the one concern she had about the bill was whether board members would be elected or appointed.

Her said appointing members who also have taxing authority is a problem because voters could never remove them from office.

Wood and Thompson both said he'd like to see representation from the board from elected people because they have to answer to the public.

"The point of the bill we're apprehensive about is the fact they could have taxing authority and have commissioners who aren't elected," he said.

Wood said he agreed with the rest of the bill.

"Other than that, I think it serves a good purpose," he said.

In other business:

the council considered a resolution to change the impact fee calculation for the Southern Utah University Science Center.

When SUU submitted a building application for the science center, the city calculated the impact fees based on the city's impact fee ordinance. The total amount came to $153,527.

SUU questioned the amount of the fees, pointing out what they perceived as a high transportation fee of $109,119.

SUU Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Dave Tanner said the building would not generate the amount of traffic specified in the impact fee analysis.

The council eliminated the water impact fee because SUU said it would use their water meter credits to offset the cost.

They also eliminated the storm drain impact fee because the university would build a storm water retention pond and retain the water on site.

Cedar City resident Carol Carpenter requested to have a no parking zone on the west side of 100 West at 435 North in front of her home to restrict Toadz Tavern guests from parking along her frontage during their hours of high business.

City Engineer Kit Wareham said the residential permit parking area is possible as long as her frontage met the criteria outlined in the city ordinance.

Cedar City Regional Airport Manager Steve Farmer proposed to the council to approve a grant application of $150,000 from the state Airport Improvement Program.

Part of the money — $40,000 — will go to the Airport Wildlife Assessment.

The mandated assessment is in response to a 2005 incident when a private plane hit a mule deer on the runway.

The remaining balance of the grant would be used to design the apron at the intersection of Airport Road and Kitty Hawk Drive.