A new redevelopment agency formed this month to promote economic growth in Moab plans to consult with various state, district and school officials before designating project areas.

Tentative plans to discuss potential project areas were set for 7 p.m. Tuesday as part of a workshop prior to regular council meeting, said Ray Pene, city clerk.The City Council passed an ordinance Dec. 20 establishing the Moab Redevelopment Agency and designating the council, as legislative body of the community, to serve as governing body of the RDA, under the Utah Neighborhood Development Act.

The action followed a public hearing.

Under Utah code, the agency can declare an area "blighted" and buy, lease or otherwise acquire property and enter into contracts with developers to improve it or existing structures as the RDA determines appropriate or necessary for the general welfare.

Project areas can be zoned for residential, commercial, industrial, recreational or public use.

The ordinance becomes effective in January.

At the meeting, Mayor Tom Stocks said the agency can target up to 100 contiguous acres of privately owned property as a redevelopment area. He submitted four sites for consideration:

- Five acres of land in the triangle formed between U.S. 191 north and Fifth West, site of a defunct gasoline station.

- An area of undetermined size east of Highway 191 in the radius of 700 N. Main beyond the Elks Road.

- The entire block between Second and Third North from Main Street to First East (including Poplar Place and the Landmark Motel).

- Three acres on the southwestern corner of Kane Creek Boulevard and 600 S. Main, site of a former gasoline station (across from Main Street Broiler).

Stocks said he has heard from a developer interested in the site on the corner of Kane Creek Boulevard and Main, if it is targeted for redevelopment.

"I felt like we needed to have interest from some people with some money to do the development before we formed the redevelopment agency," he said.

Stocks said the corner site could also be affected by a plan he has promoted for several years that would reroute highway traffic from Main Street onto a new state road several blocks to the west.

The conceptual plan is to make the corner of Sixth South and Main the site of an interchange for trucks re-entering Highway 191 from the proposed bypass road.

The council passed the mayor's recommendations on to the city Planning and Zoning Commission.

Moab resident Karl Tangren expressed his concern over RDA's authority to condemn property by eminent domain, and to designate study areas without regard for public opinion.

Stocks assured Tangren that redevelopment area boundaries would first require planning commission approval and backing from the public at hearings.

If the people do not support a proposed area, "I don't think the council should either," Stocks said.

Money for the RDA to acquire property and encourage development is raised by allocating, to a special fund, a percentage of property taxes produced in excess of the assessed value of the property after it is declared part of a redevelopment area.

For example, Stocks said, if a developer built a motel in a redevelopment area that had been generating $10,000 in property taxes, the property value would go up and the RDA would collect on the increased portion.

That money could then be applied toward costs of property acquisition or toward providing infrastructure to entice developers, he said.