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Davis Journal

Resident opposition confirms denial of zoning change

Mar 16, 2023 01:17PM ● By Alisha Copfer

A rendering of the proposed amendments to the building plans for the ‘Lofts at North Lake’ apartment complex. Courtesy image

NORTH SALT LAKE—With standing room only, the city council chambers were filled with community members ready to comment on the new proposal for building an apartment complex in the city's downtown area. Many of these residents were angry about the request for an amendment to rezone the development from commercial shopping to a planned district. 

On June 16, 2015, the North Salt Lake City Council entered into the original development agreement with David Curtis and National Commercial Properties for the Towne Plaza project. This project is located at 130 E. Center Street. The general development plan for the project included 52 townhomes, now completed, and two commercial office/retail buildings, not yet completed. However, the builder recently filed for a change of zoning for the project. On Tuesday evening the planning commission held a public meeting to obtain comments from the residents about the proposal.

The proposed amendment was meant to increase the size of the project to approximately 6.5 acres, reduce the retail space’s commercial area and offer no office space. The current project is a planned district development with a proposal to include additional property within the boundary of this district. The public hearing held Tuesday was required on the zone change for the additional property, which is presently zoned as commercial shopping.

“This is ridiculous, don't destroy the city,” said Bill Salisbury, a North Salt Lake resident since 1950. “What about the water? And the snow removal? The safety of the school children? Please pay attention to the families here.”

Every resident that stood talked about the proposal with objection. They all agreed that if the plans were to move forward, there would be a distinct issue with traffic and parking. Other issues that were raised included school children's safety, water issues, city parks, housing, building height, no customer parking, garbage collection and emergency services.

“I love this city because I love our neighbors,” Shane Gibbs, who has lived in the city his entire life, said. “I believe North Salt Lake is a great place to live. I want to balance resident well-being and quality of life with the reality of growth as a city. I believe there are better solutions for a better quality of life for residents of our neighborhood.”

There were many pleas made for the safety of the school children. “I’m the mother of three, with two of them at Orchard Elementary," one resident said. “The school is already at capacity. Adding this many homes will crack this school. The traffic is already very dangerous, there is no parking, and there are already no school zones in this area.”

Among those who stood to make public comment was Mayor Brian Horrocks. “I was on the city council in 2015, and I asked the applicant point blank, I know I'm going to get 52 townhomes. Am I going to get these office buildings? And he said I will have my office in one of those buildings. I know things change; if I’ve learned something over the years, it’s that almost every development that we've approved has changed from the initial project to the final project. That's just part of the reality of it.”

“I just want to say we have a vision for this area,” Horrocks said. “We’ve made some great steps in the right direction, and we don't believe that this is following in that plan. Trying to create a downtown, a walkable community where you can shop and go to restaurants, I know for sure at this point is we will not get anything here but apartments. Thank you for your service, and I appreciated the public comment and the emotion; it’s heartfelt, and I just love this community.”

At the conclusion of the public comments, the planning commission voted on the proposal. With BreAnna Larson, chairperson, presiding, Commissioner Bill Ward put forth a motion of denial of the consideration, and Commissioner Ron Jorgensen seconded the motion of denial. Every commissioner voted in favor of the motion and carried the denial. At this point, there was a collective sigh from the audience as well as many of the residents applauding in approval.