At the Council and RDA Meeting:
- the Board heard from almost two dozen individuals about a proposal to redevelop the Utah Theater and adjacent retail property. The Board received clarification about challenges for the property to qualify for tax credits and historic designations. The theater is owned by the RDA, and property on either side of the building is owned by private developers who are proposing to redevelop all sites for a mixed-use housing development. The proposed development would contribute $1.7 to $2.9 million in public benefits above the property’s value. The Board expects to hold a follow-up discussion in the coming weeks. Watch the Board’s discussion on The Utah Theater here.
- the Board approved Budget Amendment No. 1 for the RDA for Fiscal Year 2019-20 which provides an additional $750,000 for a new TRAX station at 650 South Main Street. The funding is contingent upon an agreement with UTA to maintain and operate the new station, and a plan to fully fund the $2 million project. The Board also appropriated $5 million from the RDA’s Revolving Loan Fund for new loans, including a mixed-use project at 912-916 Jefferson Street which was also approved at today’s meeting.
- the Board received a briefing about proposed streetscaping along 900 South Street in the Central Ninth Business District. Streetscaping includes improvements such as planting more trees, landscaping, wider sidewalks and enhanced crosswalks, more parking, and constructing a new segment of the 9-Line urban trail. The Board also discussed options to pay for the annual maintenance of the new proposed amenities. The total project cost is $7.5 million with annual maintenance estimated at $44,000. Approximately half of the project cost covers electrical undergrounding. The Board expects to have a follow-up discussion at its December meeting.
- the Council hosted a fact-finding session relating to homelessness and heard from multiple community organizations, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson’s administration, and Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s administration. Discussion focused on: general rights of people experiencing homelessness from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); clarification and discussion on State roles versus City roles related to homelessness issues; the Utah Strategic Plan on Homelessness, which addresses people who are unsheltered and live in camps; and an update on the housing program announced October 30 that includes the closure of The Road Home on December 1. Watch the Council’s fact-finding session here.
- The Council received a presentation from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute about affordable housing issues facing the City. James Wood, one of Utah’s foremost experts on housing markets, presented research that finds the majority of the City’s most vulnerable renters—nearly 6,000 extremely low-income households—live in areas characterized as low- or very low-opportunity by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These are neighborhoods where access to jobs, transportation, and good schools, among other variables, tends to be more difficult than elsewhere in the City. Wood explained that these are the households most likely to experience homelessness when faced with crises like eviction, medical emergency, or domestic violence. This research aims to help inform City policies designed to help prevent homelessness, and is part of a series of regular Council briefings on important and timely research from the Gardner Policy Institute.
- more than thirty people attended the Council public hearing portion of the meeting, and many addressed the Council with concerns about people experiencing homelessness, danger of cold weather, and City funding that needs to be available to address service and housing needs. The audience shouted and chanted during the hearing, causing eventually causing the meeting to be paused until a demonstration was over. Once the meeting reconvened, the Council Members identified the difficulty of this issue, the limits to the City’s role, but also their determination to continue looking to all options to address this issue. Council Members also voiced their desire to provide a safe place where every person has an opportunity to voice their comments to the Council. Read the Council’s full statement.
Visit the Council’s agenda page for meeting documents and video or view an archive of prior meeting recaps.