Salt Lake City Council adopts affordable density incentives and Fleet Block rezone | News | Salt Lake City Weekly

Salt Lake City Council adopts affordable density incentives and Fleet Block rezone 

Washington Square Dispatch

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The Salt Lake City Council met as the Board of Canvassers on Tuesday to approve the results of the 2023 Municipal election. Afterward, during its formal meeting, the Council voted on an affordable housing initiative and the Fleet Block rezone, and held a public hearing on a rezone for McGillis School.

Election Results
City reporter Cindy Lou Trishman read the results of the election before the Council—as the Board of Canvassers—voted to approve its results. According to Trishman, 46.5% of registered voters in Salt Lake cast votes for this election.

Incumbent Erin Mendenhall won the mayoral race against former mayor Rocky Anderson by more than 10,000 votes, securing her second term in office.

In District 4, which includes the East Central, Central City and Downtown neighborhoods, the incumbent Ana Valdemoros lost her seat on the council to Eva López Chávez.

Incumbent Dan Dugan kept his seat as the District 6 Council Member, representing the East Bench, Yalecrest, Wasatch Hollow, Bonneville and Foothill neighborhoods. In District 7, which encompasses the Sugarhouse area, incumbent Sara Young also retained her seat.

In District 2, which includes the Poplar Grove, Granary and Glendale neighborhoods, Councilmember Alejandro Puy ran unopposed. Council and mayoral terms are four years long. Newly elected officials will be sworn into office Jan. 2, 2024.

Affordable Housing
The Council voted 6-1, with Councilmember Dugan in the opposition, to adopt an ordinance amending various sections of the Salt Lake City Zoning Code. These amendments will provide affordable housing incentives for property development through modifications in construction requirements, allowing for increased density in the city’s residential areas.

Landowners who use these incentives will be required to enter into a restrictive covenant as approved by the city attorney and offer a portion of their housing units at prices that are affordable based on a percentage of the area median income.

To facilitate the development of affordable housing, this ordinance modified several zones to include a wider range of housing types. In Single-Family and Two-Family Residential Zones, small developments with up to four units will now be permitted, given that the development meets affordability requirements. In some Mixed-Use and Multifamily zones, an additional 1-3 stories in building height could be permitted.

The ordinance also requires property owners who use these incentives to submit a yearly report that demonstrates their compliance with affordability requirements.

Before the vote, Dugan said he appreciated the ordinance but disagreed with permitting three and four-plexes in Single-Family zones. Many of the city’s highest-income, single-family neighborhoods are located in his district.

“That was the one thing that I just disagreed with but overall I think it’s a good ordinance,” Dugan explained.

Councilmember Victoria Petro took a moment to challenge the rhetoric that renters are “a subpar portion of our citizenry.” Many people choose to rent, she said, and the idea that renters don’t care as much about the community cannot stand.

Fleet Block
The Council voted unanimously to rezone the Fleet Block property on 300 West between 800 South and 900 South to a Form-Based Mixed Use zone, establish the southeast part of the block as a public square and require a restrictive covenant to be filed that identifies this part of Fleet Block as a public square.

“It is beautiful to see that we are creating an open space in this area,” Councilmember Puy said before the vote took place. “It is beautiful to see that many of those who had something to say are going to see their input in place in this square.”

Later, during the general comments portion of the meeting, several people commented on the rezone and criticized the lack of a community center in the proposal’s plans.

Earlier this year, the Council held a public hearing for this proposal. Many commenters during that hearing emphasized the importance of using the Fleet Block to give back to the community. The Fleet Block is currently home to a series of informal murals honoring individuals who were killed by members of law enforcement.

“As far as I can tell, as others have already said, there really haven’t been any good faith efforts to address the concerns raised by community members,” Ilana Raskin said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Though she appreciates the designated public square, the family members of those who are memorialized at Fleet Block have repeatedly requested that this space be used to provide vital services to the community, Raskin explained.

Rae Duckworth, who is the operating chairperson for the Black Lives Matter Utah Chapter and whose cousin, Bobby Duckworth, is depicted in the Fleet Block Murals, also commented.

“I know that in the current position I’m in I would not be able to afford the quote ‘affordable housing’ that they are working to describe for this space,” Duckworth said.

McGillis School
The Council held a public hearing on a proposal to rezone properties located at 711 S. 1200 East and 712 S. 1200 East from Single and Two-Family to Institutional. The proposal was petitioned by Jim Brewer, head of McGillis School, so that the school could use the church located at 711 S. as an extension of its campus.

“[McGillis School] is, in my opinion, a stable and long-term tenant, and they have proved their value to the neighborhood with their property on 13th East.” Arla Funk told the Council during the hearing.

Cathy Scott, an East Central Community Council member, told the Council that the East Central community was unanimously in support of the rezone.

After the public hearing closed, the Council voted unanimously to adopt the plan.

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