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Westwater Workshop


Introductory Comments:

Over the past fifty years Blanding City has participated in many meetings and invested hundreds of hours to identify resources and
to rally support to develop suitable housing and utilities for our Westwater neighbors. Because of the costly engineering needed to
adapt the Westwater terrain for this purpose, initial efforts focused on finding alternative building sites to which Westwater residents
could move. As an introduction to this evening’s workshop, I would like to frame our discussion with a review of some of our
previous activities.

In the mid-1960s community leaders initiated a program to alleviate poverty. Many meetings were held with active Westwater
community participation. One outcome of these efforts was at least fifteen USDA financed subsidized homes. This program effort
lasted two and a half years.

In 1968 a Work Incentive Program (WIN) was initiated through Work Force Services and over the next two and a half years
approximately fifteen additional homes were constructed in collaboration with UNDC. In 1971 what became the Utah Navajo Trust
Fund (UNTF) entered the equation and over the next decade about 35 more subsidized homes were constructed and again financed
by USDA. These combined early efforts resulted in well over 50 subsidized homes being built.

In 1997, working with UNTF and Blue Mountain Diné, the City annexed the area by the Chapter house as part of a Planned Unit
Development (PUD). This was a Zion Bank issued tax credit project constructed through Gaddis Investments as a 501 C3 with a
UNTF management contract. The project consists of 20 homes that can still be rented at a subsidy – based on family size and
income. This project specifically targeted Westwater residents, who wanted to move into town to take advantage of modern
conveniences. Additionally, four multi-family subsidized units have been developed – Kigalia I, Kigalia II, Juniper Village, and Baus
Butte to serve our community generally.

After over forty years of trying to solve the housing needs of Westwater residents within the Blanding community, it was evident that
some still preferred a solution on the Navajo Nation’s 120 acres across the canyon from the City. In 2004 the City and County
collaborated to create a plan that would extend Center Street across Westwater Canyon with City utilities delivered to the Westwater
community through the road base. After significant efforts were expended to make this a reality, the Westwater residents pulled the
plug on the project.

Now we are on the eve of 2010, and interested parties are seeking to reignite the discussion that was left on the table in 2004.
Given the 2004 experience, the City is reluctant to spend additional Staff or Planning Commission time in this endeavor,
until we have an MOU/Development Agreement signed.​ Minimally signatories should include the City, the County and the Navajo

Mayor and Council welcome this evening’s presenters. The rules of open forum, albeit restricted to designated presenters, pertain.
Council will hear the presentations.

● Blue Mountain Diné – Clayton Long
● Bureau of Reclamation – Roger Hansen & John Sterzer
● DesignBuildBLUFF – Mitch McComb
● Navajo Nation Council Delegate – TBA
● Navajo Nation Hydrologist – Teresa Showa
● Navajo Nation Land Department – Belinda Clark
● Westwater Resident – Harrison Hutchins

Concluding Comments:

The Council’s position is adequately captured on page three of the presentation document. The Council reserves the prerogative of
not responding; however, individual Councilmen may choose to make comment or ask clarifying questions.

Our summary of the City’s position follows:

● An MOU/Development Agreement must be reached in writing with the land owner before Westwater will be
considered for inclusion into the City’s proposed annexation area.
● In order to meet our legal obligation to provide access, utilities, and emergency services the City feels the
development must include extension of Center Street.

Existing Blanding City policies and ordinances:

1) City cannot sell water outside the proposed annexation area.
2) City cannot sell water outside the City to anyone within the proposed annexation area that can annex into the City –
unless they annex.
3) The City cannot annex or provide services to a subdivision that does not agree to and develop to City standards and
follow the development and approval process.
4) The City cannot accept a subdivision that cannot provide the 110% surety to guarantee construction.
5) All homes and other development must be constructed to meet all applicable building codes and city ordinances.