Salt Lake City

City Council


Downtown Building Heights & Street Activation Updates

Text Amendment

Downtown Building Heights

On June 6, 2023, the Council voted to approve a proposal creating new requirements to allow for taller buildings, enhance street activation, and make it easier for pedestrians to move around downtown. The Council also adopted a legislative action to study bird-friendly glass and receive recommendations for best practices for its use.  The changes aim to accommodate and promote growth while improving the livability of the downtown area. 

The changes also benefit the public by requiring new developments be designed for human comfort and safety with features that are easy and accessible for pedestrians. The changes would affect to the following zoning districts: 

  1. Downtown Central Business District (D-1)
  2. Downtown Support (D-2)
  3. Downtown Warehouse (D-3)
  4. Downtown Secondary Business District (D-4)
  5. Gateway Mixed Use (G-MU)
  6. General Commercial (CG)
  7. Form Based districts (FB-UN 1 and FB-UN2)

The Council also approved changes to other related sections as part of this proposal and a legislative action to study bird-friendly glass and receive recommendations for best practices for its use.

Learn more about the changes

Learn more about SLC’s zoning districts

Council Discussions

April 4 Briefing

The Council received a briefing on a proposal to create new requirements to allow for taller buildings and more pedestrian-friendly streets in the downtown and adjacent areas. The proposed changes aim to promote growth while improving livability through amenities, open space, safety features, and pedestrian access. The Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes at its April 18 meeting.

Watch the Discussion

April 4 Council Staff Report 


April 18 Public Hearing 

The Council held a public hearing to discuss the proposed Downtown Building Height and Street Activation updates. During the hearing, residents shared their feedback on the proposed changes. Comments included concerns about some changes being applied to other areas of the City, impacts to the environment, potential displacement, and loss of sightlines to downtown. The Council voted to continue the public hearing to May 2 for further discussion and consideration of the community’s concerns.

Watch the Public Hearing

May 2 Public Hearing  

At the continued public hearing on the Downtown Building Heights and Street Activations proposal, residents shared their feedback on the proposed changes. A resident expressed concern that the changes could have unintended consequences for the FB-UN2 zone, and the Council should consider limiting or removing the proposed changes. Another shared that the changes could create barriers to the development of a proposed The Home Depot store. The Council closed the public hearing and will vote on the proposal at a future meeting.

Watch the Public Hearing 

May 16 Briefing 

The Council held a follow-up discussion on the Downtown Building Heights and Street Activations updates. During the meeting, several straw polls were taken to clarify majority viewpoints to inform future action. The Council expressed support to: 

  • maintain the effective date of the proposed ordinance,  
  • require step backs for multi-family residential developments next to zoning districts with a maximum height of 30 feet,  
  • keep the proposed changes for the FB-UN 2 zone,  
  • remove step backs in the D-1 zone,  
  • Explore more information about requiring bird-friendly glass,  
  • retain the current step back requirements for buildings in the Sugar House Business District, 
  • retain current height limits in the D-4 zone and,  
  • retain the proposed height limit in the G-MU zone.   

The Council voted on this proposal in June.  

Watch the Discussion 

May 16 Staff Report 

June 6 Council Action

During their formal meeting, the Council approved several changes to the zoning code related to Building Heights in the downtown plan area. These changes allow for taller buildings and include new design and public space activation requirements to improve the pedestrian experience in the downtown area. The changes affect multiple zoning districts.

Additionally, the Council adopted a legislative action to study bird-friendly glass and receive recommendations for best practices for its use.

June 6 Staff Report

Bird-Friendly Glass Memo

Watch the vote

July 11 Council Vote

At its July 11 meeting, the Council approved an updated ordinance to include language related to ground floor use. The language was unintentionally excluded in the ordinance adopted on June 6.

The updates to the design standards aim to make the ground floor of a building more vibrant by increasing the number of active uses and visual appeal. The design standards provide two options: one focuses mainly on using the space actively, such as having restaurants, bars, shops, or art studios, and the other choice allows flexibility with the required ground floor use in exchange for more design elements that increase visual appeal and pedestrian-friendly features. The second option requires a design review to assess compliance.

These changes apply to new buildings, mainly in the Downtown Districts (D1,2,3, &4), Gateway Mixed Use (G-MU), and General Commercial (GC) zoning districts.

Read the Ordinance

Watch the vote

Project Timeline

Council Briefings

April 4, 2023

May 16, 2023

Public Hearings

April 18, 2023

May 2, 2023

Council Action

June 6


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