Housing and Short-Term Rentals with Hurricane Mayor Nanette Billings


In this episode I talk with Mayor Nanette Billings about what the current housing situation is, her views on density and attainable housing, and what the short-term rental policy is in the city of Hurricane. I’m grateful for her squeezing some time from her busy schedule for this conversation. Hurricane Mayor Nanette Billings

Housing Chat with Former Mayor John Bramall


This episode is the first in a series of three about Hurricane City. Former Mayor John Bramall shares some of his experience and history with affordable housing and short term rental policy in the city. The next two episodes will be with current Mayor Nanette Billings and City Planner Stephen Nelson regarding these same topics.

Photo courtesy of Mayor Bramall and his wife Connie.


Hurricane, UT Food Favorites

I have a confession. I’m one of those people who take photos of their food on their phone. I have at least three pictures of the salad below on my phone. I told my husband that if I didn’t love him so much, I would run away with this salad.

This is the Cobb Salad at River Rock Roasting company, but with no bleu cheese and the Moroccan dressing. I always get this salad because I can’t eat cheese without a lot of discomfort, but I love this thing. The Moroccan dressing at River Rock is a little exotic trip in a cup. This post is a little guide to some of my favorite places and eats in Hurricane.

Food Sensitive 

River Rock Roasting Company is one of the best places in town for the dietarily restricted. They have chickpea sandwiches, a few delicious salad choices that you can ask to have the cheese left off. I have done that a few times, and they always remember. They also have a garlic and mushroom pizza that you can ask to have vegan style, and they will put a cashew sauce on it instead of cheese. One of the added benefits of River Rock is a gorgeous view of the confluence park you can enjoy while you eat. I have heard their coffee is good, and if you like soda they have a fountain that has some different flavors from your standard Coke and Pepsi. You might want to walk past that before you decide on a beverage. The restaurant also often features local artists’ work. They sometimes get pretty busy, and the best way to avoid that is going at times that aren’t the peak food times. For example, meet at 15 minutes before the hour, or go late in the morning or after the lunch rush. 

Quick and Easy

Costa Vida is one of my favorites for that food where it is all a mix of the same Mexican food, but prepared 7 different ways – burrito, salad, etc. all with beans and rice and veggies. I know it is a chain place, but there is a reason these spots are popular. They are not too expensive, and you may wait in line a little, but they have lots of tasty food and options for everyone. 

A Little Quieter

If you want to sit down and enjoy a high quality meal, The Pig’s Ear American Bistro is a little pricier, but they have a fresh mix of American classics and some healthy options as well. I like the superfood kale and quinoa bowl, but they have fish tacos, french dips, and a pretty wide variety of other delicious options. They serve alcohol here as well. 

Mexican Food

If you want atmosphere, Lupita’s will occasionally have live music on weekend nights. If you want a very delicious burrito from a hole in the wall, I love the chicken burrito with green salsa at El Jinete. The building is bright yellow and orange, and the parking is sometimes crowded. 

Local Favorite

Triple TJ’s is my husband’s pick almost every date night. Triple TJ’s serves classic American food. I often get the salmon or the turkey croissant, but they have chicken fried steak, pastas, burgers, fish, and a few steak options. I love their fries because they are a good size with a light batter. I think that Alex likes them so much because they have this dessert—two large cookies with a big scoop of ice cream between, drizzled in chocolate. He will get that even if it’s not a special occasion just so he can enjoy his life more. 

If you have another local place you are curious about, give me a call and I’m happy to share an opinion if I’ve tried it. If you are a local, feel free to leave reviews of your favorite places and why in the comments here. 

This post and all posts on this site are written by a real human without the use of AI software.

Attainable Housing with Toni Foran: perspective of a City Planner


In this episode, Toni and I discuss her experiences as a city planner with Hurricane, Utah. She served for over 20 years in various roles supporting cities, and she has insights on accessory dwelling units, transit-oriented development, and a variety of other aspects of affordable and attainable housing.

One of my favorite quotes from this interview was when we were talking about accessory dwelling units and how they have recently been pulled out of the affordable market by high demand for vacation short-term rentals. Toni said, “Short-term may be more lucrative, but man, I would rather have the people that are renting from me wash their own sheets.” I think there is definitely some wisdom there to consider.

Buying a Newly Built Home

Today I want to talk about the process of buying a new home. There are a few different stages at which you can write a contract on a new home. You may decide to build a custom home right after purchasing a lot. You may find a “spec” home that is partially built, and in that instance you get to choose some of the finishes, depending on what has been ordered and installed by the builder. Right now, in 2022, we are finally seeing builders able to finish homes before people buy them.

In the Southern Utah market it has been harder to find finished homes until just this year when the Covid-19 surge in demand finally slowed down. But even when a home is brand new, there are a few things that need to happen in order for a buyer to move in, so my purpose here is to go through those in detail.

Who says the home is finished? Well, that’s the builder. Builders will complete the home, and then they let a couple different people know. They tell the city, and then the city will come and inspect. If the city inspector finds that the home is up to building code, they give it a certificate of occupancy, referred to as a “C of O,” stating that the home is ready for someone to live there.

The next person the builder tells the home is done is the buyer. The realtor already knows the home is done because she has been over there checking on the house regularly, but she may have waited for the builder to say he has the C of O to tell her clients, because until the city says so, the home can’t be lived in. Once the buyer knows the home is ready to close, there will usually be a buyer review of the home. The buyer can look for anything that may have been overlooked by the builder or inspector, and they usually create a “punch list.” This list needs to be done in conjunction with the builder so they know what needs to be completed. Once the punch list items are completed, the buyer can close on the home.

Pitfalls to Avoid Before Closing a New Home

One challenge I have often seen is that buyers are usually ready to move in as soon as the Certificate of Occupancy is given. This puts a lot of pressure on everyone to get the purchase of the home closed. While under this pressure, it’s important to remember that once the builder has his money, his motivation to finish the punch list is significantly decreased. From a buyer’s perspective, it’s better if you can reign in that enthusiasm to close, and wait to sign documents until the home is in the condition you expect.

On occasion there may be an item that takes longer than the one to two weeks you are willing to wait to complete. If that is the case, you as a buyer can ask the seller to withhold money from your purchase in the event that the lingering punch list items are not done in a timely manner. If that happens, the money can be released to you to complete the items on your own.

Ready to Close?

If all goes well, and both buyer and seller are ready to close, the last few steps can be seen in the illustration above. The buyers bring any monies they have to the title company. If the buyer is using a loan, the lender likewise delivers. Both parties sign paperwork for the sale, and once the paperwork is all correct and the loan is funded, the title company will record the transaction with the county. Once the sale is recorded, the buyer gets the keys to their new home. And then they live happily every after. Or at least for 12 years, which is the “shelf life” of a new home, according to the real estate school I attended.