Redevelopment Agency Board (RDA) Board Meeting
STATION CENTER INNOVATION DISTRICT:
This proposal is for the RDA to sell our properties to the University of Utah for them to create what they are calling an innovation district. These would be buildings focused on developing space for emerging businesses and organizations within the life sciences, health sciences, and related industries. My concern has always been avoiding this becoming a Massive Single Use with only one major anchor tenant. This was the first item staff addressed in this followup briefing. However the idea of a single master developer was still presented as a final decision. I am concerned about this for several reasons including the equity implications of not allowing smaller businesses and consultants to participate in the project as well as a concern with a monotonous urban fabric which results when one design and development team is used for large areas of the city (think about Gateway or City Creek). I’d prefer that the majority of the land be disposed of as proposed but with a number of smaller parcels be retained by the RDA and put out for individual RFP for non-related but compatible uses. However, it seems that my concern is outweighed by the majority of the board who has an appetite to get a project moving forward as soon as possible and sees the master developer model as a good way to do so.
HOUSING FUNDING PRIORITIES:
This discussion was also a follow-up of a previous discussion. We currently have 13 different priorities but we have now set 2 as thresholds (fund leveraging and sustainability) and prioritized the remaining 11 as either a level 1, 2, or 3 priority. The sustainability requirement is currently related to reduced energy consumption. This was presented as an interim step toward more stringent sustainability requirements to come in the next few years. We will also ensure that there is a good reporting system in place by the next time we review this in order for us to see which of the priorities were met and determine how we might change the weighting in future years. The one item I’m concerned about is that historic preservation and public art are only weighted as a 1. Personally I’d prefer these to be given a higher prioritization and this may be something I advocate harder for next year.
COUNCIL WORK SESSION
- COVID: There is an executive order in place for masks in grades K-12. We received a report that there was a majority of compliance with this order. We are still at a high transmission level in Salt Lake County (and in 26 of the 29 counties). 963 children ages 5-13 tested positive this week which is dramatically higher than this week last year. And to make things worse, we have really stagnant vaccination rates with a citywide average of only 60%. The metrics on covid can be found at https://slco.org/health/COVID-19/data/
- HOMELESSNESS: The HRC’s are still over 90% capacity. The teams are working on winter overflow options. The last kayak court was changed to court services in a park due to the heavy rainfall. The heart team is continuing to gain input on where portable restrooms may be placed. There are currently 2 portable toilets placed around the city and all city park restrooms are open. Any input on this should be directed to Michelle Hoon. I would encourage District 5 residents to get involved in that conversation.
- RACIAL EQUITY IN POLICING (REP) COMMISSION: We received an update from Kaletta Lynch, Salt Lake City’s Chief Equity Officer, regarding work happening around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Salt Lake City’s Commission on Racial Equity in Policing has worked for the city for a year and their initial term is over. The Commission recently delivered their final Phase 1 report. Kaletta discussed a forthcoming ordinance about the future of the REP and HRC commissions. 1 but no more than 2 HRC Commission members should serve on the REP Commission. The core REP Commission would be increased to 15 with a specified number of youth commissioners. This would follow the same advice and consent process as other commissions. We would continue to offer a stipend for their service.
- POLICING: Today Chief Brown talked to us about traffic safety efforts. His first update today was related to the quality of life and safety issues on Capitol Hill. SLCPD has ramped up enforcement and citations over the last couple weeks. The second update was on Street Racing, mostly out in the Northwest Quadrant. There have been some metal plates and barriers placed recently which has greatly reduced the occurrence of street racing. He then told us about the first day of a new recruit class of 20 officers. Of the 20 recruits 8 are people of color and 2 are female. I’m encouraged at this metric and hope it continues as we move forward in building the most diverse and equitable city possible.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (CIP) PROJECTS FOLLOW-UP: Because we discussed this last week and came to a general consensus we did not rehash this again today. Learn more about the Fiscal Year 2021-22 CIP projects and process.
NORTHPOINT SMALL AREA MASTER PLAN UPDATE: This was a presentation from the Planning Department and their hired consultant. This is the area between North Temple, I-215, the SLC Airport, and the Salt Lake/Davis County line. Some of this area is actually unincorporated county land. The team is working to update the master plan for this part of the city. They are just getting started on this project now. Between September and December they will begin developing a concept plan. And between January and April they plan to refine and finalize the plan.
RENAMING OF PEOPLE’S FREEWAY PARK TO BALLPARK PLAYGROUND: This would rename the small pocket park on West Temple at 1560 S. West Temple. I’m supportive of this and no council members indicated any hesitation. Fun fact, this land is actually owned by Public Utilities as part of their campus there but operated and maintained by Public Lands for use as a public park. I asked about funding for changing the signage and Kristin Indicated that it should be small enough to fit within the department’s existing maintenance funding.
WAIVING LEASE FEES AT THE SLC AIRPORT FOR A UNITED SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS (USO) LOUNGE: This would allow the USO to use space at the airport without paying annual lease fees. The USO is the United Services Organization which gives space and support for our military around the world. This will provide space for active duty service members who are traveling to relax, get food, etc. while in our airport. I love this idea and am glad it is coming to SLC.
UTAH INFRASTRUCTURE BANK LOAN FOR INDUSTRY PARKING GARAGE: This would pursue a $7m loan for a parking structure at Industry in the Granary Neighborhood. The loan would come from the state and be paid off by dedicated state funds. The city is a pass-thru organization facilitating the loan. To be honest this entire arrangement is a little strange but I’m excited for the investment Industry has and is continuing to make in the Granary district.
UPDATE ON THE DROUGHT AND WATER CONSERVATION: Laura Briefer from SLC Public Utilities and some members of her team gave us an update on the drought and water conservation efforts. We are still within an exceptional and extreme drought condition across nearly the entire state. We are currently meeting the goals of our water shortage contingency plan. We have seen a great voluntary response by residents reducing water demand. We are in stage 2 of 5 stages in our plan. Stage 2 is voluntary for residents but includes mandatory restrictions for government and institutional facilities. We have seen an overall total reduction of 5%. We have seen a 15% reduction as compared to the last 3 year average since July 1st. Please keep up your conservation efforts because it IS making a difference. I have received many inquiries about this from constituents. There are so many ways that the city is working to save water and plan for our future. If you are interested I would encourage you to go back and watch this presentation. If you’re interested in learning how to use water more wisely I would encourage you to sign up for a free watercheck. You can sign up here. The second part of this presentation was a discussion about how the Public Utilities Department is planning for our future growth. The city has projected our growth and planned for water demand through 2060. This plan is updated often. The main conclusions of these plans are: 1) we must continue our conservation efforts, 2) we will need all our available water resources and new sources may be needed by 2025, 3) we need to continue to plan for the implications of climate change.
ADVICE AND CONSENT FOR STEPHEN MEYER TO DIRECTOR OF 911 DISPATCH: This appointment is to replace Lisa Burnette who recently retired. I was able to meet Steve informally this afternoon and was impressed with him. I’m excited for the contributions he will be able to bring to our city, especially in regard to how 911 Dispatch can and must be a partner in our efforts toward Racial Equity in Policing and Public Safety.
CITY COUNCIL FORMAL MEETING
PUBLIC HEARINGS & COMMENTS:
- GRANT APPLICATIONS: This public hearing was on 4 different grant applications the city has applied for. These include a grant for the Salt Lake Metro Narcotics Task Force, funding for a summer program for school aged children, a grant for emergency management and homeland security, and a grant for snacks for our YouthCity summer attendees. We did not get any comments on this. Closed the public hearing and referred this to a future consent agenda.
- PASTOR FRANCE DAVIS WAY: No public comments but we did get to hear from Pastor Davis himself and we closed the public hearing and adopted this resolution.
- GENERAL COMMENTS: We had a handful of comments today. The comments today included comments on the following: Foothill Trails, Utah Inland Port, and Capitol Hill Traffic Calming.
GOSHEN STREET ALLEY VACATION: Adopted unanimously
ROSEWOOD PARK STREET AND ALLEY VACATION: Adopted unanimously
ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION APPEALS TEXT AMENDMENT: Adopted unanimously with the inclusion of language related to when and whether a stay will be granted.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (CIP) PROJECTS: Adopted unanimously! I am so happy about what we were able to fund this year. Lots of wins for D5 including Kensington Byway and the Harris Avenue Community Garden! Learn more about the Fiscal Year 2021-22 CIP projects and process.
ADVICE AND CONSENT FOR 911 DISPATCH DIRECTOR: Approved unanimously