Monday, July 16, 2018
Contact: Dan Weist or Molly Farmer
A statement from the Salt Lake City Council about State plans to revisit SB234, and the collaborative effort leading up to announcement
SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City Council Chair Erin Mendenhall praised a joint effort with State leaders to make improvements to Senate Bill 234, the Inland Port statute, and welcomed the Special Session of the Utah State Legislature announced by Governor Gary Herbert in a press conference Monday.
“We recognize that State elected officials are enthusiastic, based on national and even global interest, about moving forward rapidly with the Inland Port,” said Mendenhall. “Given that, we chose to engage now to be sure at least initial, critical improvements are made to the Inland Port statute, which may likely have generational impacts. Waiting for next year’s General Session to address our concerns about land use, financial and environmental issues would not have been in the public interest.”
Over the past several weeks Council leadership has worked closely with Governor Herbert, Speaker Greg Hughes and President Wayne Niederhauser to discuss concerns and work through technical regulatory items in order to prepare important bill amendments. The Council is grateful for their generous work and also extends its appreciation to Sen. Jerry Stevenson, who sponsored the original bill, and has worked tirelessly on this effort.
The new draft bill reflects progress in four critical areas:
- Land use: the new bill narrows the appeal authority of the Utah Inland Port Authority to the most important uses for jurisdictional land; establishes the Utah Inland Port Authority as the appeal board of last resort for only those critical uses; and increases transparency and predictability by listing the standards and processes that the Utah Inland Port Authority must follow.
- Taxing authority: the new bill includes language that the port authority will compensate via property tax increment the municipality or taxing entity for services (police, fire, etc.) provided on jurisdictional land. It also makes land use petitions consistent with other sections of State law.
- Boundaries: the new bill adjusts boundaries for the Port area to remove already developed and environmentally sensitive areas.
- Board: the new bill clarifies Council Member representation on the Utah Inland Port Authority and adds the ability for the Authority to appoint advisory councils for important topics to formalize input from key stakeholders.
What’s more, the new bill removes all wetlands identified in the City’s Northwest Quadrant Master Plan and zoning from jurisdictional lands and requires a sustainability plan as part of the business plan. It also includes a provision that 10 percent of property tax increment will be dedicated to affordable housing.
State leaders will proceed with setting up the Port based on the enabling legislation, which includes significant work – setting up a governing board and management structure, defining port elements and developing a business plan – before any facilities can be built.
Utah Senate Bill 234 was adopted in March by State legislators. Through the session and since, many in the community and interested stakeholders have raised questions, provided feedback and helped advance the conversations. The Council’s preference is always to have an open dialogue with people from all interest areas. While this didn’t follow a typical public process, the significant public input has influenced the City’s efforts.
Council Members look forward to working with Salt Lake City Legislators, stakeholders, and the community to constructively address lingering concerns and opportunities as this rapidly-moving project takes shape.
“Faced with such an important and complex matter for the economy, the environment and the future of both Salt Lake City and the State of Utah, my Council colleagues and I strongly believe that having a seat at the negotiating table is imperative to represent the interests of City residents and taxpayers,” said Mendenhall. “We appreciate State leaders who invited our contributions.”