General Plan




This document was prepared and financed in part through a planning and technical assistance grant from the Utah State Department of Community and Economic Development, administered through the Five County Association of Governments and in cooperation with the Rockville Town Planning and Zoning Commission and Town Council.



The Town of Rockville was incorporated as a municipality on June 30, 1987. This step was taken in order to establish and protect the unique identity of the community and to exercise greater control over the Town’s future growth and development.

In 1988 the Town prepared a general plan. The plan was tangible evidence of the community’s desire to define the community’s goals and how best to achieve them.

Purpose of the General Plan

A general plan must reflect the attitudes and desires of the community in order to be an effective guide for growth.

The general plan is the official statement of the Town’s governing body which sets forth its major policies concerning desirable future development. It is a guide for decision-making and the legal basis for land-use ordinances.

How the General Plan Came About

In 1988 the opportunity was given to all residents of Rockville to respond to a Master Plan survey. Eighty percent of the Town’s households completed the survey. Rockville adopted a Master Plan in 1989 on the basis of the Master Plan survey and town meetings.

In March and April of 1997 the Rockville Planning Commission, with the concurrence of the Rockville Town Council, conducted a review of the Rockville Master Plan, to be known hereafter as the Rockville General Plan. This review was conducted and completed with the assistance of Mr. Curt Hutchings and Mr. Robert Hugie representing Five County Association of Government (AOG) and Mr. Charles P. Klingenstein, an independent professional planner from Park City, Utah.

The review was composed of a survey sent to all property owners (Appendix "A") and a special town meeting to identify the community’s goals for land use planning (Appendix "B"). In the judgment of Five County AOG, the independent planner, and the Rockville Planning Commission the results of the survey and of the town meeting were consistent, represented the consensus of the citizens and property owners of Rockville (Appendix "C") and should therefore serve as the basis for a Vision Statement and revisions to the Rockville General Plan.  

General Plan Review and Revision

The planning horizon for the Rockville General Plan is approximately 20 years. It is recognized that changing conditions and community desires make it necessary to review the general plan continually and to update it periodically. It is recommended that revision of the general plan be considered every five years.

The 1997 review and revision of the Rockville General Plan shall be initiated in two phases. Phase I to be the approval of General Plan revisions. Phase II to be the adoption of a Growth Management Plan, a Housing Chapter to conform with the Utah State statute mandate for December 1998 (Appendix "D"), and updated Land-Use Maps.  

Town of Rockville Vision Statement*

The Town of Rockville is a rural, residential, and agricultural community. Since its founding by Mormon pioneers in 1862 Rockville has maintained the integrity of its historical town plan and has been referred to by historians as "the last treasure in Utah".

The citizens of Rockville have decided that:

It is the intent of this vision statement to guide us in the present and direct us towards the future.

*All of the citizens and property owners of Rockville were invited to participate in the Rockville General Plan review in the spring of 1997. This vision statement is based on the information provided by property owners and citizens during that process and was approved by the Rockville Town Council June 5, 1997.

Chapter 1


1. Existing Conditions

The extent and general location of standard land uses within the Town of Rockville are noted below:

Residential: The town’s residential uses are characterized almost exclusively as low-density single-family detached housing.

Agricultural and Open Space: Approximately 90-95% of the land area within Rockville’s town boundaries is devoted to agricultural uses and open space. These uses predominate south of the Virgin River, although recent years have seen a limited amount of residential growth in this area.

Commercial: There are no commercial or industrial uses in Rockville. There are a limited number of home based businesses in Rockville, which are only allowed on the basis of Conditional Use Permits.

Public Facilities: The old church and adjacent cultural hall, which are located in the center of town, constitute the only public facilities in Rockville.

Historically, the public lands within and adjacent to Rockville have been used for recreation, grazing, and some limited woodcutting activities over the years. These public lands are also the source and location of the town’s culinary water system. Many of the town’s drainages and washes originate and/or pass through these public lands making them important for flood and erosion control and for the protection of properties below the cliffs.  

2. Assumptions for the Future

In recent years Washington County has experienced and is continuing to experience the fastest population growth of any county in the State of Utah. St. George has been the focus of this growth, but increasing pressure is being felt on outlying rural communities as people search for quieter, less urban places to live. It is assumed that these trends will continue into the foreseeable future and that Rockville will be increasingly seen as a desirable residential community. This will bring about greater pressures for residential development, which will have impacts on the existing infrastructure, especially the culinary water system.

The area has also experienced dramatic growth in the numbers of tourists visiting nearby Zion National Park. It is assumed that visitation will continue to rise. Inasmuch as Rockville sits astride the thoroughfare into the park, it is likely that there will be increasing demands for commercial development along the highway.

3. Community Goals

The citizens of Rockville have expressed their views regarding the future of land use within the community. These goals will provide the basis for policies and decisions regarding land use within Rockville.

It is the intent of the Town’s residents that Rockville should maintain the present quiet, small town, rural atmosphere. Only compatible uses should be permitted or conditionally allowed.

Agricultural uses should be encouraged. Prime agricultural land should be identified and preserved for continued agricultural use or for low-density residential-agricultural development.

Residential uses should be limited to low-density, single-family dwellings.

Home-based businesses should be compatible with the rural character of the area. All such uses should be conditional and subject to review and approval by the Town’s governing body.

Uses which cause excessive air, water, noise, visual or other forms of pollution will not be permitted.

Efforts should be made to improve blighted properties.

4. Planning Policies

The following policies will guide the implementation of the stated community goals regarding land use:

Maintain zoning ordinances and a corresponding zoning map which reflect the community goals as stated in the General Plan.

Maintain sign standards which will enhance the town’s appearance and be reasonably affordable and flexible to landowners.

Utilize a development application and review process which includes pre-application checklists for both developers and town officials.

Development proposals must be compatible with the General Plan.

General Plan and Land Use Ordinances will be applied fairly.

Adopt an impact fee structure per Utah State Code.

With regard to household pets, adopt ordinances regarding control of noise, wastes, and numbers allowed.

Encourage and request that any land uses considered for lands adjoining Rockville’s boundaries by Washington County and the Town of Springdale be consistent and compatible with Rockville’s ordinances, goals and policies.

Rockville will request that Federal and State land managers of the public lands within and adjacent to its boundaries manage those public lands in a manner which is compatible and consistent with the Rockville General Plan and ordinances.

Chapter 2


1. Existing Conditions

Single-family site-built houses on large lots is the predominant housing type in Rockville. Mobile homes are present, though considerably fewer in number. There are no multi-family dwellings in the Town. There is a small number of detached rental units. Some single-family residences have been converted to bed-and-breakfast inns.

2. Assumptions for the Future

Rockville has experienced increasing pressures for residential development as a result of population growth in the county as a whole. The anticipated demand will be primarily in the single-family site-built market. However, nationwide and local trends indicate that recreational vehicle parks, mobile homes, and manufactured housing will continue to gain in popularity. It is assumed that there will be increasing pressure to accommodate these housing types.

Because of Rockville’s location, adjacent to Zion National Park, it is anticipated that there will be a growing demand in the immediate area for secondary, or vacation, homes. These may either be single-family site-built structures or multiple-dwelling units and condos. The focus of this market, which has already made itself manifest, will likely be to the south of the Town proper. There will also be pressure for the development of recreational vehicle parks to accommodate seasonal residents. It is also assumed that there will be continuing pressure to convert existing residences to bed-and-breakfast inns.

3. Community Goals

The citizens of the community have voiced the following preferences regarding housing:

Single-family, low-density housing should remain the predominant housing type.

High-quality construction standards should be upheld.

Any new construction should conform to the general character of the existing community.

Encourage energy efficient housing design and construction.

4. Planning Policies

The following policies should be pursued in order to foster community housing goals:

Any development which may occur in Rockville shall be carefully planned, consistent, and phased so that the town’s quiet, rural values are maintained.

Enact zoning ordinances which will ensure the specific density and character of future development.

In accordance with judicial guidelines, manufactured housing which meets Uniform Building Code standards will be considered the same as site-built housing, and will be subject to the Town’s Zoning Ordinance.

Adhere to the Uniform Building Code as the standard by which structures should be built.

Maintain a nuisance ordinance for the preservation of a quiet, orderly community.

Develop a General Plan moderate income housing component which complies with Utah State statute mandate for December 1998.


Chapter 3

P O P U L A T I O N  A N D S E R V I C E S

1. Existing Conditions

Rockville has a population of approximately 225 persons. The population is primarily concentrated within the Town proper along the main highway.

Given the small population size and the limited tax base, the Town can provide only the most basic municipal services.

2. Assumptions for the Future

Rockville can expect to feel pressures from population growth in the surrounding area. The limitations on the available services may tend to slightly inhibit but not stop these pressures. Any substantial increase in population will cause a greater demand on existing services and infrastructure. The major impact is likely to be on culinary water needs. There will probably be impacts on roads and/or the need for an additional bridge.

Recent trends in government finance show less money being available from state and federal programs and greater responsibility being placed on local governments. It is anticipated that this trend will continue.

3. Community Goals

The citizens of the Town have expressed the following preferences:

The town should encourage a limited growth policy. The optimum community size ranges from the present 225 up to 500 persons over an extended period of years.

Taxes should be held to a minimum. The present level of services is preferable over increased taxes.

The Town will work with the existing privately owned culinary water system to ensure that it will be maintained to meet the needs of the community.

4. Planning Policies

The policies by which the above-stated goals should be implemented are, as follows:

Manage the ultimate growth of the community by setting density for land use types. The amount of available culinary water will also be taken into consideration as a managing factor on the amount of growth.

Adopt an impact fee structure which will comply with Utah State statute.

Adopt fiscal guidelines which will provide a contingency within the municipal budget for unforeseen services needs.

Rockville shall live within its financial means by providing a modest level of services to its citizens.


Chapter 4  


1. Existing Conditions

Rockville sits astride State Highway 9, which serves as the main street and has an annual average traffic count of 3000 vehicles per day. The remainder of the town is served by improved and unimproved access roads. The layout of the street system is adequate for present needs.

Certain traffic safety problems exist. These include excessive traffic speed, on-street parking, and illegal passing on the main highway. These problems pose safety hazards to both the residents and the transient motorists.

Another area of concern is the intersection of Bridge Road and Highway 9. The narrowness of the road at this point poses difficulties to entering and exiting traffic. The limited width of the roadway is compounded by the existence of utility poles and a ditch.  

2. Assumptions for the Future

If much of the anticipated future residential growth occurs on the south side of the Virgin River increasing traffic flow may exceed the capacity of the bridge. If this occurs it may be necessary to locate an alternate crossing and to construct a new bridge. Inasmuch as the existing bridge has historical significance for the community, reconstruction or replacement may not be a desirable solution.

There is developable land on the north side of the river adjacent to the town proper. This area is expected to experience development in coming years, bringing with it access problems.

It is assumed that visitation to Zion National Park will continue to rise and that the increasing traffic flow along Highway 9 will serve to exacerbate the existing problems regarding speed, parking and illegal passing.

Increase traffic on residential access roads may result in greater maintenance needs and costs.

An increasing nationwide interest in hiking, walking, and biking activities has encouraged the building of trail networks in various regions. One such trail is proposed to run along the Virgin River from Zion National Park to St. George.

3. Community Goals

The citizens have expressed a desire for the following goals concerning transportation and circulation in Rockville:

The traffic speed along Highway 9 should be decreased and/or enforced.

Ensure the safe accommodation of traffic on all the streets within Rockville through proper maintenance, signage and controls.

Minimize impact of on-street parking and traffic speed.  

4. Planning Policies

The following policies will guide the stated community goals regarding transportation and circulation:

Coordinate efforts with the Utah Department of Transportation in order to ameliorate the traffic problems along Highway 9.

Monitor traffic flow and parking within the town to identify potential problems and trouble spots.

Establish a transportation element within a Capital Improvements Program for the maintenance and phased improvement of roads and other transportation needs.

Despite the assumption of an increased interest in public trails, the citizens of Rockville have chosen to not support or fund such trails.  

Chapter 5


1. Existing Conditions

Rockville is favored with one of the most beautiful physical settings in the region. Detrimental impacts on the physical environment within the limits of Rockville have been minimal. In general, a harmonious relationship between the human and the natural environments exists.

Rockville has varied terrain which includes rugged cliffs, steep hillsides, bench lands, canyons and washes, river plain, and riparian zone. The relatively unmarred nature of these features is an integral part of the character of Rockville.

The human environment also offers special features which are meaningful to the residents of Rockville. These include Grafton, the Old Church and Recreation Hall, the bridge, the trees and irrigation ditch along Highway 9, and the street lights over the highway.

2. Assumptions for the Future

Pressures for development within Rockville could have negative impacts on the quality of the environment if not controlled. Experience in other communities has shown the propensity of new development to encroach on river plains and hillsides, often at the expense of natural systems and to the detriment of the community as a whole. In some cases potential and real natural hazards are disregarded in the siting of developments. For these reasons it is necessary to identify and protect the areas which have environmental and community significance and the features which pose potential natural hazards.

3. Community Goals

The following natural areas and features should be afforded a high degree of protection, and should be subject to sensitive lands ordinances and control:

In general, all elevated areas such as hillsides, hilltops, benches, mesas, and mountains should be protected. Specifically, the following areas should be afforded special protection:

Rockville Bench

Rockville Mesa

Rockville Water Shed

In general, all drainage areas such as floodplains, riparian zones, watercourses, and washes should be protected. Specifically, the following areas should be afforded special protection:

Virgin River floodplain and riparian zone

Horse Valley Wash

Huber Wash

Wire Valley Wash

South Wash

Grafton Wash

Coal Pits Wash

The following historical and cultural features should be protected to the extent that their character is preserved:

Grafton area

Old Church and Recreation Hall

Rock irrigation ditch and the trees along State Route 9

Bridge over the Virgin River

Existing street lighting system

Structures and buildings with historical and cultural significance

Other areas which should be protected and subject to strict development controls are noted, as follows:

Scenic vistas (benches and mesas)

Water supply/aquifer recharge areas

Unstable soils

4. Planning Policies

The following policies will guide the community goals regarding features of natural and cultural significance:

Establish a comprehensive sensitive lands ordinance. The ordinance shall contain provisions for the protection of scenic vistas (e.g. establishing appropriate setbacks from crests and limiting building heights, etc.)

Proposed development projects may be required to include a geotechnical soils report prepared by a qualified professional. In addition, the Town retains the right to require additional studies as it may deem necessary.

Riparian zones, floodplains, and washes should be for flood control, agricultural and recreation purposes.

The Town shall encourage the protection and enhancement of significant historical features through the establishment of an historical preservation ordinance.

Maintain a nuisance ordinance for the preservation of a safe, clean, quiet town environment.

Chapter 6


1. Existing Conditions

Rockville has little economic activity within its boundaries. Existing economic activity is limited to agriculture, cottage enterprises, and a small number of bed-and-breakfast inns. Many of the Town’s working citizens are employed in neighboring Springdale or elsewhere in the county.  

2. Assumptions for the Future

As noted, Rockville sits astride Highway 9, which has an annual average daily traffic count of 3000 vehicles. As visitation to Zion National Park increases so will the pressures for commercial development in the area, primarily on properties with highway frontage. The types of commercial activity most likely to seek development in Rockville are tourism and service-related enterprises, such as curio shops, convenience stores and overnight accommodations. It is less likely, though possible, that light manufacturing or construction-related enterprises will seek location in Rockville. Home-based occupations and cottage enterprises will likely see much greater interest and growth.  

3. Community Goals

The majority of Rockville’s residents have chosen to see no commercial or industrial activities in the Town and to see Rockville as a residential, commuter community.

Activities which may be acceptable under specified conditions are:

Agricultural enterprises

Bed-and-breakfast inns

Home Occupation businesses

Any activity, however, would be generally unacceptable if it were polluting , water-intensive, generated additional traffic, parking, noise, or had obtrusive signage or appearance.

Commercial activity is generally perceived as not being conducive to the character and chosen lifestyle of the community.

4. Planning Policies

The following policies should guide the Town’s dealings with proposed economic activities:

Commercial activities may be allowed only as conditional uses within specified areas.

The Town will maintain a home occupation/cottage enterprise ordinance which defines and regulates the location and conduct of such enterprises.

The Town will maintain a sign ordinance which will limit signage to types and specifications that conform to the character of the community.





1. Existing Conditions

Rockville has a capital improvements plan. The citizens of Rockville have been given the opportunity to voice their opinions on the community’s capital improvement needs and priorities.  

2. Assumptions for the Future

Rockville will be subject to increasing pressures for growth in the coming years. Increases in population will result in increased demands on the infrastructure of the community. The Town should anticipate its needs and plan for improvements in advance. This will assist in the budgeting process and will ensure orderly and thoughtful community development.

It is assumed that the trend of decreasing state and federal funds for local governments will continue. It will be necessary to rely more on local than external resources for funding capital improvement projects.  

3. Community Goals

The citizens of Rockville have identified the following capital improvement needs (in alphabetical order):

Community Center and Town Park

Evaluation of bridge needs

Preserve historical structures

Road improvements

Town cemetery improvements

Town Hall

Upgrade sewage treatment system through cooperation with Springdale

Citizens favoring capital improvements are generally willing to support a small tax increase in order to fund projects with a justifiable need and if approved by the public.  

4. Planning Policies

The following policies will guide the capital improvements planning process:

A capital improvements plan will be formulated and adopted by the Town for inclusion in its budgeting process. The capital improvements plan and funding allocations will be programmed on a five year basis and will be reviewed and updated annually. The public will be given ample opportunity for input and comment on the capital improvements planning process.

The Town will attempt to secure state and federal funds to complement local funds for capital improvement needs.

Tax increases for capital improvements will be sought only if necessary.

Capital improvements needs necessitated by new developments will be paid for by the developer.



1. Existing Conditions

The Town of Rockville, at its incorporation, included over 9 square miles within its boundaries. This provides the Town with a considerable area for potential expansion. It also provides a buffer over which the Town has control, thereby ensuring separation from future adjacent development.  

2. Assumptions for the Future

Although Rockville will experience growth in the coming years, the existing amount of land within the Town’s boundaries is sufficient to accommodate it. However, a key issue is the development of and control over water resources sufficient to supply the community in the future. It may be necessary to consider declaring an interest in the possible annexation of additional land for that purpose.  

3. Community Goals

The citizens of Rockville desire consideration of annexation to protect water sources, provide scenic buffer zones, and to protect Rockville from potential natural and man-made hazards.  

4. Planning Policies

The following policies will be followed as pertains to annexation issues:

Annexation may be considered when justified by overriding community needs such as development of and control over municipal water sources, protection of scenic vistas and open space, and protection from encroachment by commercial development along Hwy 9 corridor on the west.

There may be other reasons for the town to consider annexation, which are presently unknown but are consistent with the above justifications.

As property owners file for annexation to Rockville, plans for extending town services will be included with the annexation agreement.

Costs incurred in extending municipal services to an annexed area will be paid for by the owners of the annexed territory.

All administrative costs incurred in annexation will be paid for by the owners of property to be annexed.



ORDINANCE - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  i

INTRODUCTION - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1

VISION STATEMENT - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2

CHAPTER 1 LAND USE - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - 3

CHAPTER 2 HOUSING - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - 5



CHAPTER 5 ENVIRONMENT - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 11

CHAPTER 6 ECONOMY - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - - 13


CHAPTER 8 ANNEXATION - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 17

ADOPTION - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - 18

APPENDIX "A" – SURVEY RESULTS - - - - -  - - - - A1


APPENDIX "C" – LETTERS OF COMMENT - - - - - - - - - - C1


APPENDIX "E" – LIST OF PARTICIPANTS - - - - - - - - - E1    


The following members of the Rockville Planning & Zoning Commission and the Rockville Town Council participated in the foregoing General Plan Review of 1997:

Rockville Planning & Zoning Commission

Chairman Coby Jordan

Shirley Ballard

Jack Burns

David Hatfield

Neal Takach

Rockville Town Council

Mayor Eldon Walker

Stan DeMille

David Hatfield

Megan Honer-Orton

Lynda Sentker





Councilmember Megan Honer-Orton made a motion seconded by Councilmember David Hatfield to adopt this General Plan of the Town of Rockville, Utah. The plan was PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this 14th day of August, 1997 by the following vote:






Eldon C. Walker, Mayor

Town of Rockville, Utah



Elaine M. Harris, Town Clerk

Town of Rockville, Utah




Following is a summary of the results of the Rockville Meeting on April 23:


Maintain quiet, small town atmosphere

Maintain rural, agriculturally oriented (open space) – Allow for residences without

losing agriculture atmosphere

Growth management to be slow and phased

The existing cottage-based businesses is satisfactory – allow for agricultural-based


Annexation for protection of water shed and as a buffer tool

Control of traffic on Hwy 9


Historic preservation of:





Irrigation Ditches

Mulberry trees

Community Trust

Community events

Community spirit



Fairness in application of ordinances and transactions

Sensitive lands protection

*More community oriented social events at the Community Center


Community Center facility

Grounds protected and enhanced

*Additional comment made at end of meeting but not listed on sheet.




The following members of the Rockville Planning & Zoning Commission and the Rockville Town Council participated in the foregoing General Plan Review of 1997:

Rockville Planning & Zoning Commission

Chairman Coby Jordan

Shirley Ballard

Jack Burns

David Hatfield

Neal Takach

Rockville Town Council

Mayor Eldon Walker

Stan DeMille

David Hatfield

Megan Honer-Orton

Lynda Sentker