A series of recent events are bound to make a few Rockville residents very happy and others quite frustrated. Several property owners in town have been challenging Rockville on their restriction of a commercial zoning for several years now. Thankfully, some commercial-use hospitality is finally being allowed in Rockville.
Over the past 10 years, Rockville has sent out surveys to its residents asking what they’d like to have allowed/disallowed in their town. On both surveys, the results show that the majority of residents favor the use of accessory dwelling units on a property that is allowed to be rented out. And for good reason…. Rockville sits on some of the most valuable hospitality land in the entire state of Utah! Allowing residents to Airbnb their property could bring in valuable income to each family.
Last Wednesday, Rockville allowed venture capitalist Justin Mabey to add another property that he is purchasing to his overlay zone. While this property was previously said to only be able to handle 11 long-term occupants (for fire and safety reasons) the town allegedly just allowed Mr Mabey to place up to 55 short-term occupants in the property. In fact, with the various Rockville land the Mr Mabey has town approval to build a major short-term rental resort, our math shows that his total combined resort will have 280 people at any given time, effectively doubling Rockville’s current population.
The new Red Rock Oasis Resort has a very unique offering. Most resorts are in a resort town that caters to its hotel patrons. These lucky attendants will get to experience Zion from a more naturalistic feel. They can take pictures of and walk along the historic Rockville bridge. Drop in float tubes from the bridge and float down the Virgin River, visit the Grafton area, and more.
People from all over the world will have the pleasure of seeing authentic farms and beautiful pastures as they walk along the city back-roads. They have the use of an uncrowded town park, and have a quiet town and serene Virgin river all to themselves.
While most towns would have restaurants or Pizza delivery nearby, these guests will have to either drive to Springdale or use food delivery apps (such as Uber Eats and Door Dash) to have food delivered from Springdale to the resort.
Resort attendees can take pictures of and walk along the historic Rockville bridge and float down the Virgin River, starting at the bridge.
But to handle all of this additional traffic, the town must ensure that the roads are safe and passable. In looking at the town’s 2020 budget (see here) it looks like line 72 shows an increase in CIB road funds from $10,000 to $75,000 to spend on road improvements and maintenance. I believe this should allow us to handle the vastly increased traffic with ease.
I, the editor of RockvilleUtah.com, have always promoted increased commercial in our town and have consistently said that our residents should be having a much higher standard of living due to the income potential of our land. The venture capitalist saw this to be the case. I calculate that with an estimated 40% vacancy rate and a published $4,000 / night / building, the investment group should see a gross income of around $864,000 per year. Multiply that by 5 properties and that number surpasses $4M/year. The transient room taxes on that should provide a nice income for the town.
People from all over the world will have the pleasure of seeing authentic farms and beautiful pastures as they walk along the city back-roads.
As long as we only let a half-dozen venture capitalist or RE investors in to build out their resorts and continue to restrict everyone else renting out their homes or accessory dwelling units, Rockville could feel like a major resort town that continues to have a small-town feel to it. It would be good for the investors and it would be good for the town budget.
I would congratulate Mayor Leach on this deal but it has always seemed like an unethical arrangement between Pam and Justin. However, I do applaud the Town Council for beginning to think about what we want our town to become and executing on that plan.