Bluff Town Council was busy in November

Enforcement of a light ordinance, a public hearing for a grant and working out details of their new building was all part of a busy November for the Bluff Town Council.

In December 2019, the Bluff Town Council passed an ordinance to regulate exterior lighting in the town. 

The ordinance was passed to limit light pollution, conserve energy, and keep a rural feel in the town.

The 14-page ordinance, available on the town website, details allowable and unacceptable outdoor lighting in the town.

The ordinance states that with few exceptions, all outdoor lighting requires full cutoff fixtures so that no light is emitted from the top or sides of light fixtures.

Additionally, lighting should be placed to prevent illumination outside of property boundaries where they are installed.

When it originally passed nearly two years ago, the ordinance gave December 31, 2021 as the deadline for residents and businesses to be in compliance with the order. 

Now a month away, the town council has granted a six-month stay of enforcement for existing buildings.

Local business owner Diana Davidson petitioned the council to extend the deadline due in part to financial hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Davidson also issued concerns with the complexity of the ordinance and asked that the town get expert opinions and look into possible grants. She also suggested audits for businesses and homeowners.

The council decision to stay enforcement gives additional time for residents and businesses to come into compliance, with nationwide supply chain issues impacting the ability to get needed materials the council may revisit enforcement as the six-month deadline approaches.

During the November meetings, the council also approved an ordinance for off-street parking in town. The ordinance mirrors the San Juan County ordinance which requires a certain number of off-street parking stalls for properties.

For example, one parking space is required for each dwelling unit or home, one stall is required for each hotel room, one stall required for every 100 gross square feet of restaurants and one stall for every 300 feet of office space.

The council also held a public hearing for a possible 2022 Community Development Block Grant. The grant money must be spent on projects benefiting primarily low and moderate-income persons.

Ideas suggested included a pedestrian and bike trail, renovations to make the Bluff Community Center ADA compliant, and installation of a fire suppression system at the Old Bluff Elementary school, which was recently purchased by the town and Utah Diné Bikeyah.

Through November the council had continued discussions about the new shared building. Meetings and emails are working out the shared maintenance of the building between the two entities.

Bluff and Utah Diné Bikeyah are determining how to proportionally split utilities and other bills based on how much of the building each entity uses. Additionally, a fire suppression system is needed for the building at an estimated cost of $100,000 to $150,000.

In the meantime, the town and non-profit have been changing locks on the building and refueling the propane tank. A formula for how to divide utilities may be agreed upon soon.

San Juan Record

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