Ephraim issues permit for condos at old Travel Inn site
By James Tilson
EPHRAIM—A run-down lot on Ephraim’s Main Street is finally getting facelift, as the Ephraim city council approved a conditional use permit for a new condominium project on the site of the Travel Inn.
Developer Michael Hatch spoke to the Ephraim City Council last Wednesday, in support of his application for a conditional use permit for his condominium project at 330 North Main, the site of the now demolished Travel Inn.
“We want to build young family housing, using tasteful and quality materials,” Hatch told the council. Hatch detailed how the condos would have 39 units, 30 with two bedrooms and nine with three bedrooms. There will be 96 parking spaces total, with 43 covered. The units will be constructed with vinyl siding for “a good look and low maintenance.”
Mayor John Scott asked Hatch, “How long until people can begin to move in?” Hatch replied, “We will probably start construction in the spring, which would mean our move-in date would be late 2020.”
The Travel Inn had been an abandoned eyesore for many years before Ephraim finally gave the go ahead to tear down the building last year. The then owner paid for the demolition, although Ephraim did arrange to have the landfill fees waived. Hatch, not the original developer of the site, acquired the property and developed this project.
According to Bryan Kimball, Ephraim director of economic development, the conditional use permit was approved by the planning and zoning commission, and the city staff. “This is the best plan we’ve seen so far for this site,” Kimball said. But there was one concern voiced by neighbors to the project.
Kimball told the council neighbors requested a traffic light at 300 North and Main. Kimball read a letter to the council from Marc and JoAnne Taylor. “We live across from the project, and we’re concerned with the traffic. We already see accidents at that intersection. We want better traffic control.”
The problem with the request, according to Kimball, is that U.S. 89 is controlled by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), and any traffic lights on it have to be approved by UDOT first. “We have studies done every year,” said Kimball, “and we don’t even come close to qualifying.”
Scott concurred with Kimball. “The issue is cross-traffic, not just the traffic on U.S. 89. The city has asked for several years, both there and at the Walmart intersection.”
New councilman Rob Nielson asked, “But more traffic at the intersection [from the new condos] could result in a traffic light?” Kimball said, “Yes, that could be a possible result.”
Kimball explained the city could put up more signage around the intersection, a crosswalk, or could make the intersection one direction exit only. Scott agreed, saying the city will look into all possible measures to improve safety at the intersection