Salt Lake City

Council District 2

The Westside – Fairpark, Glendale, Poplar Grove

Meeting Thoughts – November 17, 2020

Unsheltered Homelessness

The mayor has proposed, and the council supports the allocation of more money to assist in enhanced cleaning around camps, keep public bathrooms available across the city, and continue to fund services and outreach to the unsheltered. We also support continuing to support and assist the SL Valley Coalition to End Homelessness in locating and securing winter emergency shelter beds in other county locations as soon as possible. This effort has been going on for months. One facility with 60 beds has been identified but awaits zoning actions by the local city. Some readers will be aware that a second motel was volunteered by its owners. Discussions were entered into by the coalition with the host city, but they stalled. This is understandable, regrettable but foreseeable as hosting such a facility, even temporarily, is not embraced by many people. And unfortunately, these locations are often found in lower-income areas of cities, further reinforcing the divide between those who have and those who have less. Many people in the coalition, city, and county are working extremely hard to find a solution. The sooner the better.

Budget Amendment #4

This is the fourth request for a budget modification that includes a request for increased funding to expand the downtown ambassadors to the Rio Grande neighborhood as well as a pilot project on North Temple west of I-15. I support this effort as we need as many resources as possible to assist those living, working, and unsheltered on North Temple. Learn more here.

Budget Amendment #5

I understand the timing might seem strange to have two openings simultaneously (why not one?:-)). One piece is paying the bills for the Vice-Presidential debate several weeks ago. The money has already been spent for the police support, and many other logistical needs to host such an event at the U so I will support paying this bill. However, I do not support hosting events like this. I do not know who was involved in working with the U to solicit hosting this event. But when we end up having only $19,242 reimbursed by the University (the State of Utah) while we end up with an outstanding bill of $315,944 for the rest of the services we provided I must question how much the public exposure benefits really do help more than hurt. I am ok being the naysayer and perhaps the minority opinion.

A second part of the funding is proposed to be used to take down the remnants of the old waterpark in Glendale. I was able to visit it again recently and it is in awful shape, enough to necessitate a complete rebuild rather than rehabilitation of the existing facilities. There has been an outreach effort with the neighborhoods to understand the issues with the park. There has begun an effort to discuss, as a community both with the city and the Glendale Community Council, what can replace the waterpark. In the meantime, we must decrease the problems of fires, break-ins, and other problems that have plagued it since the last operator backed out. This funding will allow ongoing security along with the securing of the space. Learn more here

Fleet Block

We held another public hearing on the proposed rezone and then closed the public hearing period. We have heard from many voices in support of retaining the murals. We heard from the Granary Business group who had concerns about the rezone. We also know there are reasons to rezone to allow all the activities that we have discussed whether it be a park, commercial businesses, housing or community spaces. We do not have a set date to take action but will need to decide what to do about the zoning now. Learn more here.

Civil Service Commission Repeal

This might have been (and might still be) a contentious issue yet seems to have been strangely quiet. Essentially, this would repeal the CSC that oversees Police and Fire department HR issues from hiring to discipline issues and replace it with professional hearings officers, like other city departments. The initial feedback from everyone seems positive as this could retain the employment due process needs of employees with more flexibility to address issues quickly. There will be more discussions about this issue, but I hope we continue to work together to a great outcome.

Demolition Ordinance

This continues to be a vexing issue as it can be used to eliminate problematic vacant buildings but might also be used to eliminate buildings that might be rehabilitated. And one ordinance for an entire city may be equitable but rarely uniformly beneficial. Coming from some neighborhoods that have too many “zombie houses” and vacant buildings that attract various problems, I support allowing more flexibility in this ordinance. The most recent revisions include a requirement to ensure the underlying zoning landscaping expectations are enforced, some provision for daily fines was introduced for problematic owners, but also an enhanced process if the property is located in a historic district. Hopefully, it is more balanced than the previous version and we passed the ordinance with the great idea to revisit the impacts in 2 years and make further adjustments. Learn more here.

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