FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2018
Contact: Dan Weist or Molly Farmer
Council Communication team
Salt Lake City Council Members applaud State legislators for approving, in today’s special session, critical improvements to the Inland Port statute that were hammered out over weeks of talks between Council Members and state leaders.
“We’re pleased the Legislature voted overwhelmingly today to make sound and sensible improvements to the Inland Port statute,” said Council Chair Erin Mendenhall, who led the Council’s negotiations.
“This is a crucial issue for the future of all Utahns, but the stakes for City residents and taxpayers are especially high. We thank Governor Herbert, House Speaker Hughes, Senate President Niederhauser, Senator Stevenson, Rep. Gibson and other legislative leaders for listening to our concerns and agreeing to make substantive changes in the Port bill that was approved in March.”
While some, including Mayor Jackie Biskupski, argued that more time was needed before improving the legislation, Council Members recognized state leaders were eager to move forward rapidly with developing the Port.
Citing the State’s momentum and the high stakes for the City, Council Members chose not to wait for next year’s General Session to address the much needed improvements to the legislation. That said, Mendenhall added, “Both the original and revised legislation are far from perfect and will require additional improvements over time. We are unanimously committed, as a Council, to stay focused on this as long as it takes to ensure the Port is developed in a way that benefits everyone and doesn’t create long-term impacts that could be prevented by making good decisions now.”
Remaining issues of concerns to Council Members, Mayor Biskupski and City residents, such as further environmental protections and budgeting details, will be discussed and acted on once the Port’s governing board and staff are put in place. “This is just the beginning of making sure we get this right,” Mendenhall noted.
“Creating the legislative amendment hasn’t been easy, and it has frayed nerves all around,” she said. “But we’ve reached reasonable, commonsense compromises on core issues and built relationships that will help us continue to fine tune this significant opportunity as we move forward.”
Improvements to the Inland Port statute approved in today’s legislative special session include:
- Land use: the revised statute 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 revised statute 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 revised statute adjusts boundaries for the Port area to remove already developed and environmentally sensitive areas.
- Board: the revised statute 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 revised law removes all wetlands identified in the City’s Northwest Quadrant Master Plan and zoning from the Port’s jurisdiction and requires a sustainability plan as part of the business plan. It also includes a provision that 10 percent of property tax increment be dedicated to affordable housing in the City.