Affordable Hope | Urban Living

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Affordable Hope

Posted By on June 29, 2022, 4:00 AM

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There's good news for affordable housing coming to Salt Lake City! First, if you haven't been on Foothill Drive across from Research Park and Sunnyside Avenue (800 South), you won't have seen all the construction underway on the west side of the road. It's easy to miss, since the valley is lately filled with cranes, bulldozers or holes in the ground being developed.

This site is where a private entity (the Clark and Christine Ivory Trust), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the state/University of Utah are combining resources to construct four buildings with more than 500 apartments. It was formerly the location of "married student housing" for the school. The church is offering a ground lease for 99 years at the location for the two entities to develop and manage housing there.

Second, the university and "Ivory University House" are in the process of adding roughly 1,700 housing units for students—430 rooms at Kahlert Village, 775 beds in the Impact and Prosperity Epicenter and 504 units in the University West Village. All of the construction should be completed by 2024.

Third, and highly controversial, is Salt Lake City's proposals for affordable-housing incentives.

The city's planning division has done an extreme deep dive into researching housing issues facing the capital city and has put forth zoning amendments to encourage the construction of additional affordable housing by incentivizing developers that include affordable homes in their projects. This wouldn't be a requirement, but if the developer did include affordable housing, they might be able to get waivers on parking, height, setback and process waivers, depending on the designs.

What's controversial about affordable housing? The city is proposing to allow for multi-family units in nearly all single-family neighborhoods.

Picture the Harvard/Yale area around 1000 South and 1500 East, an area of precious, mostly brick homes with historic architecture and landscape. Then imagine one of those homes being torn down and replaced with a four-plex that may have one or two units that could be rented to low income folks—people who earn less than $74,000 for a family of four.

NIMBYs ("Not in My Backyard") hate this idea of rental housing and have been testifying in hearings and writing emails like crazy, trying to stop more generous zoning. They don't want to see greater height, multi-family buildings or a reduction in side yards that might help squeeze in bigger structures.

You'll hear more about this during the summer, as public input is a necessary step in the process of approval. (The city does want you to speak up.)

Also, the city is still trying to create opportunities for more ADUs (think mini-homes). Our laws are outdated here for this trend in affordable housing and, again, NIMBY's oppose greater density in their neighborhoods.

Ivory Homes has been battling Avenues residents for years to build homes at a project they call Capitol Park Cottages at 675 N. F St. The planning and zoning commission approved a rezone for them last week to build 19 single-family homes, with 14 of them having built-in ADUs.

About The Author

Babs De Lay

Babs De Lay

A full-time broker/owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates, Babs De Lay serves on the Salt Lake City Historic Landmark Commission. A writer and golfer, you'll find them working as a staff guardian at the Temple at Burning Man each year.

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