The Salt Lake City Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public meeting tonight to discuss a zone redefinition sought by the owners of the JAM at Marmalade. The JAM already serves beer but wants to serve liquor also. In order to get permission to mix cocktails, they need to kiss the city's ring first.
If turnout at the bar's organizing meeting, held at the bar Tuesday night, is any indication, many patrons and neighbors of the bar will be in attendance to demand the zone redefinition.
I wasn't able to attend the meeting due to prior commitments, but those who were there estimated about 60 to 75 people discussed the issue with part-owner Brian Morris for about 20 minutes on JAM's beautiful back patio. People wanted to know, what should we say to the commission if we speak? what are the opposition's arguments? who is this opposition, etc. Read a little about that here.
Morris, I'm told by multiple people, cried during two parts of the discussion. He and business (and life) partner Todd Crofts have maintained this place for more than 18 months like its their baby, and rebuilt much of its beautiful new interior by hand. It's clear they don't want to close up shop, but that is what might happen if the city drags out this zoning redefinition any further, Morris has told several people.
JAM is requesting that the city redefine the MU, or mixed-use zone, so that social clubs can exist within the zone.
Here's the kicker: JAM is not the only building in Marmalade that is within the MU zone. Most of the businesses that face 300 West are zoned MU. JAM is blazing a trail that others may be able to follow with considerably more ease.
Despite the recession, which has stalled many redevelopment plans there, Marmalade is improving, leaving behind its reputation for blight and crime. Against all odds, that neighborhood is changing.
So ask yourself: Do you want neighborhoods that give you a small piece of everything you need--including social clubs that you can walk to--or do you want to have to schlep downtown just to get a martini?
Prepare your thoughts, then come down to room 326 at the City and County Building, 400 S. State St., tonight at 5:45 p.m. and tell the commission what you think!