Category Archives: Development and Zoning

Affordable Housing Development at 750 W. South Temple

A representative of the Vecino Group will attend the next community council
meeting (April 28, 6:30, Northwest Community Center, 1255 Clark Ave) to talk about their project at 750 W. South Temple (just outside our border in Poplar Grove) and answer questions of those in attendance may have. This visit is for informational purposes only as this development has passed the form based
zoning for the City and the City Council voted 4-3 to allow Salt Lake County Housing
Authority to build this structure in Salt Lake City.

The project planned is called Bodhi and will be a five-story building
including 80 units of one and two-bedroom apartments. 60 of the 80 units will be
held for those making 50% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI). 50% of the
area median income for Salt Lake County is $36,100 for a family of 4. Of those 60
units, there will be 5 set aside for the chronically homeless, 9 units for the severely
and persistently mentally ill, and 9 units for those with a long-term mobility
disability. There will be full-time onsite services provided by the Salt Lake
Community Action Program.

This $12 million development is a partnership between the Vecino Group
and the Salt Lake County Housing Authority, and is being funded by Federal Low
Income Housing Tax Credits and $1 million from the Olene Walker Housing Trust
The Fairpark Community Council Executive Committee has been meeting
with stakeholders ever since we first heard about this development. Though we
welcome the higher densities that the Transit Station Area zoning provides along
the TRAX line, we are worried by the concentration of affordable units in this
development and along the TRAX corridor, and will continue to work with our city
council members to ensure that further developments along North Temple do not
have such a high proportion of affordable units.

Zoning Terms Primer

There is a lot of discussion about zoning, but what does it all mean?

Housing terms are often referred to in our discussions and presentations about housing:  Affordable housing, Subsidized housing and Market rate housing. Here you Zoning-Real-Estate-Termcan learn about things such as what “cost burdened” means, the percentage of Salt Lake residents who are cost burdened, how vouchers work, and what market value is.

Affordable housing: Families who pay more than 30 percent of their incomes for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care. An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing. A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the US. In Salt Lake City, 50% of our renters are cost burdened and 25% of our renters are severely cost burdened (meaning they pay more than 50% of their income on rent).

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Fairpark Community Council Hosts SLC Mayoral Candidate Forum

The Fairpark Community Council hosted a Candidate Forum for Salt Lake City Mayor to a packed house at its meeting on June 25 at the Northwest Community Center in Fairpark.  All 5 candidates, or their representatives, participated in the brief introduction and overview of their races, followed by a group Q&A session. (Channel 4) recorded the session and posted their piece here.

The following is a recap of the candidate presentations.

Mayor Ralph Becker

Mayor Ralph Becker

Ralph Becker – Mayor Becker is has been in office for 8 years.  His administration has rejuvenated the downtown, made significant improvements in transportation and has implemented equal rights policies in housing and employment.  The city boasts #1 status in the U.S. for job creation and is in the top 10 cities for sustainability and livability. The city has initiatives in place that have decreased the carbon footprint, but there is much work still to be done, according to the Mayor. While the city has increased prosperity, the city has initiated a “5,000 Doors” campaign due to the increasing disparity with people regarding income and housing.

Jackie Biskupski

Jackie Biskupski

Jackie Biskupski – Jackie Biskupski’s representative was on hand as she was at a scheduled campaign event. “She will listen” was the prevailing theme of her platform. Biskupski was a legislator for 13 years and enjoyed a close working relationship with the city during her tenure on many issues. She understands the West Side issues, including resources for things like infrastructure, street lights, clean river, a safe community, protected bike lanes, safe crosswalks, and economic development.

George Chapman

George Chapman

George Chapman – According to Chapman, issues have been ignored with regards to transportation, homelessness, safety and many other city issues. Chapman’s platform is based on the need for more police, more transit service, protection of open space and better air quality.


City Council Chair Luke Garrott

City Council Chair Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott – Currently a Salt Lake City Council Chair, Garrott’s campaign is focusing on public transit, clean energy production and affordable housing options in all neighborhoods. All neighborhoods should have better resources and be engaged in “participating budgeting” to have a voice in what is funded in their areas.


Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson – Robinson is a first time candidate for office in the political system. An owner of multiple businesses, he has a strong interest in building and development. Robinson’s platform will focus on better public transportation, homelessness, the rights of property owners, issues that affect the housing market and affordable housing.


Q & A (Ms. Biskupski was not represented in the formal Q&A due to her prior commitment)

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Pioneer Park Coalition: Trouble Brewing

The Salt Lake Tribune has published an article on the Pioneer Park Coalition’s troubles with members withdrawing. The Road Home and Crossroads Urban Center have officially withdrawn their membership.

The Road Home shelter is officially out of the Pioneer Park Coalition — the second homeless-service provider to leave — after top coalition leaders’ presentation earlier this month seeking funding from the state Legislature for a housing project on west North Temple.

Matt Minkevitch, executive director of The Road Home, said his organization left the coalition because it cannot sign on to such initiatives without the approval of its board of directors. He added, however, that The Road Home will continue to work with the coalition.

The leaders of the Coalition, according to the article, gave a presentation to the Legislature on the request for state funds to build housing based on the consent of all Coalition members.

In their Feb. 11 presentation to the Legislature, coalition executives Scott Howell, Bryson Garbett, Josh Romney and Jonathan Harmon listed 85 group members ­— including The Road Home — as supporting the request for $1 million in state funds to build housing units on Salt Lake City’s west side.

“We wanted to make sure we were not implying consent for various programs without the consent of our board,” Minkevitch said. “But we consider ourselves a friend of the coalition.”

Last week, the executive director of the Crossroads Urban Center, Glenn Bailey, resigned from the coalition because, he said, it listed his organization as one of the supporters of the housing proposal on the west side. Bailey said he hadn’t seen the plan and would never have supported the proposed sites. He complained the coalition was operating in a top-down fashion that left most members out of decision making and suggested it had an unspoken agenda of moving homeless services out of the Rio Grande area.


Read the article here.

Coalition Seeks City Commitment to Affordable Housing

The Salt Lake Valley is facing a crisis in the availability of affordable housing. There is abundant construction of apartments and condos, but limited construction of housing affordable to individuals and families with limited income.

In recognition of this situation, Salt Lake City’s long-time low-income service and advocacy organization, Crossroads Urban Center, is sponsoring the Low-income Housing Action Coalition- a coalition comprised of local community agencies and church congregations. Crossroads Picture

Tim Funk, spokesman for the Coalition, states that the group isn’t presenting any sort of new idea. “These approaches to meeting the housing needs of low-income people have been with us for decades. The idea is to not segregate low-income families into specific areas of a city; but to make affordable housing a part of all new housing construction.”

Funk notes that Salt Lake City is in an apartment-building frenzy. Over the past several years hundreds of market rate units have been built and hundreds more are under construction or are planned. While this a good thing for our city in general it does nothing for our poor and near poor individuals and families.

Funk states that Salt Lake City is in a low income housing crisis. According to the 2013 Housing Market Study commissioned by the city there is a shortage of 8,240 affordable rental units for households with incomes below $20,000 a year. The city study says, “More than one third – 35 percent – of the city’s renter households earn less than $20,000 per year. Just 13 percent of the rentals in the city are in their affordability range.

It is the position of the Coalition that, while Salt Lake City has aggressive plans for new housing, especially along developing transit corridors (think North Temple), the City has made little commitment to ensuring that a portion of this housing is affordable to low-income families.

Funk acknowledges that many neighborhoods, especially those on the westside, shudder when the term “low-income” is spoken; “we’re not talking about creating enclaves for the poor; we’re talking about ensuring that a percentage, say 20%, of the housing in the City’s new “Transit Areas” be affordable to low-income families.”

“Where will your elderly parents live?” asks Funk. “Where will your grown children live?” Without a commitment to ensure the inclusion of affordable housing in new housing construction, they won’t be living close to you.”

Tim Funk will be making a presentation to the Fairpark Community at its Thursday, January 22nd meeting.

Fairpark Changes: A Resident Speaks Out

As a long-time resident of the Fairpark area, I have been asked many times why I would even want to live in “such an area”. The West side of SLC for years has been a less desirable address in the eyes of some people. However, it seems things are changing, and property in this area has shown a new interest. Just as other areas, such as the Marmalade District, have seen a resurgence of development, so, too, our area is on the cusp of 7

The type of development in our area is something with which the current residents should be concerned. It is one of the last near-downtown areas of the Valley that still has affordable homes and larger residential lots. We enjoy spending time in our yards and gardens and feeling that we are still close to the attractions of Salt Lake City such as arts, education, and civic events. However, changes are happening all around us. You only need to look at what has happened near the intersection of North Temple and 600 West. Hundreds of apartments and Condominiums have gone up, forcing out the few homes that used to exist there. It seems that when there is any land available near us, a developer wants to put in as many people as possible.

We have been fortunate that current Zoning laws in the Greater Fairpark area have kept this development restricted, and we can still enjoy our homes and neighborhoods. However, development is starting to spread its gaze here. churchscaledCurrently, the old 29th Ward church building on the corner of 400 North and 1100 West has stood vacant for many years. The LDS Church could not find a reasonable, affordable use for the building and deeded it to the City. Recently, the city Housing and Development agency held some meetings concerning the disposal of this property. It is listed as a City Historical Site, so there are limits as to what I can be used for. The Agency floated the concept of changing the Zoning on that parcel to make it more attractive for a buyer. This is a dangerous step, as once the Zoning has changed, (in this case, to a mixed-use residential and commercial use), anything that fits that zoning description could be built. The emphasis of the agency representatives seemed to be turning it into multi-family residences. The lot is so small that to make it cost effective, the homes would be multi-level and very small square footage (sound like high-density apartments?)

The general feeling of the residents attending the meeting was that other possibilities ought to be explored WITHOUT changing the zoning. There are certain variances that can be taken in using a Historic Building that would not require changing the zoning. Among those, using the building for a Professional Office, Arts Organization, Charter School, or something similar. The location is close enough to Downtown or I-15 to make it convenient for this type of use.

Why should we be concerned about it? Because once it is gone, it can’t be replaced. (Isn’t that the argument used by those who want Wilderness Areas and National Parks?) We live in a community that was built with families in mind, and for people who have long-term plans to stay in their homes here. There is nothing inherently wrong with rental units, but studies show that those who own and reside in their own homes have a greater interest in their communities and are more willing to work for the better good of the area. We must do all we can to preserve the quiet neighborhood we now enjoy.

It is important for any of us who have such long-term plans and a desire to 512px-Salt_Lake_City_and_County_Building_-_IMG_1751
keep our community “livable” to show interest in what is happening around us, and to become involved in any plans for the future. Before it is too late, let your voice be heard and let the City officials and developers know that this is a NICE neighborhood, and we want it to stay that way.

Roy Luker, Fairpark resident

Fairpark Future Poised for Legislature Action

This last year, Fairpark Community residents played a significant role in a study on the possible future of the Utah State Fairpark. What was the best use for this property? Should it be offices or other commercial development? Or should the State invest in upgrading the existing fair grounds to create a successful venue for the Utah State Fair and other events?

Utah_State_Fairgrounds_entranceAs the study progressed, what did become evident to residents was that, regardless of the study’s final recommendations, the final decisions on the future of the Utah State Fairpark rest with the Utah State Legislature.

Michael Steele, executive director of the Utah State Fair, states that the future of the Fair, and the Utah Fairpark, are on the table for Legislative action this year.

Steele reports that the proposed agreement for the REAL Salt Lake to build a soccer stadium, costing between $23 and $24 million, on the Fairpark property is moving ahead, with an agreement of “terms” being brought before the Utah State Fair Board of Directors for a vote this week.

Steele emphasizes that the new stadium will not require any tax-payer money.

But what will it require?

Steele states that the Utah Legislature should return the White Ball Field to the Fair’s lease with the State. “REAL Salt Lake cannot consider building a soccer stadium in the Fairpark without the parking space offered by the White Ball Field across North Temple from the Fairpark.”

But the lease is much bigger – for years, the Utah Legislature has limited the State’s lease with the Utah Fair to one or two years. For REAL Salt Lake to make a long-term commitment, “We need to have a 40 year lease with the State.”

Front_of_the_Utah_State_Capitol_in_May_2008The Utah State Fair is also approaching the Legislature for its long-time $675,000 allocation to cover the Fair’s ongoing expenses. “This represents less than 20% of our operating budget; most of our funding comes from the State Fair and other events here at the Fairpark.”

Any other plans? Steele states that they are also approaching the Legislature to fund a study and development of an initial design to expand, and complete, the Fairpark’s rodeo stadium. “In the last several years, we have two master-plan studies that state the completion of the rodeo grounds as being instrumental to the future of the Fairpark. We need to move ahead on this.”