People living in one of Utah's oldest residential neighborhoods - east downtown Salt Lake City - finally have a plan to live by.
That is, Salt Lake City Council members adopted a new master plan Tuesday defining where business, residential and commercial developments can and can't be built in the area.The neighborhood, which is located between South Temple and 600 South and 200 East and 700 East, is part of the original 10-acre block grid system designed by early Mormon pioneer Brigham Young.
But despite Young's well-known propensity for city planning, it wasn't until 1942 that Salt Lake officials approved a comprehensive master plan for the neighborhood limiting development to residential units.
However, since that time, economic pressures have changed what was once mostly an area full of homes to one that is now brimming with office buildings - creating a lot of friction between residents, local government officials and developers.
In an effort to preserve the residential character of the neighborhood and entice people to move back into the area, the Salt Lake City Planning Commission has organized a 45-page master plan suggesting several courses of action.
The plan calls for new zoning ordinances that would break the 30-block area into four different zoning uses: mixed-use residential, mixed-use business, mixed-use office and commercial.
Mixed-use zoning, for example, would allow retail businesses limited building rights in an area that is mostly zoned for homes.
City planners think this type of zoning will preserve east downtown's residential character while promoting economic vitality.
The plan also calls for the removal of offices from certain parts of the area. Officials say during the last decade, the demolition of housing units to make way for office space has caused people to move out of the area. In 1970, the east downtown neighborhood had a population of 7,314; by 1980, the population had dropped to 4,797.
City officials also hope to implement plans that would limit how tall structures can be built, thus preserving the view residents have of significant Salt Lake landmarks. Plans also call for the building of "pedestrian corridors" that would allow people living in the area to walk into central downtown Salt Lake City.
City Council members are happy with the plan as are residents who attended a public hearing Tuesday on the issue.
"The east downtown area, in my opinion, has been a battle ground between the business development community and the residential neighborhoods," said Council Chairman Alan Hardman. "I'm pleased that everyone has been willing to participate and make compromises; we have finally arrived at a document that will be a healing influence in this part of the city."
Other recommendations in the master plan include:
- Install pedestrian-oriented lighting.
- Develop landscaping and tree planting along 200 East, 200 South and 400 South.
- Designate 600 East as a historic district and identify historic districts with monuments and signs.
- Develop street parks or reduce street widths entering residential areas.
- Develop bus service between 400 South and South Temple on the north and south collectors.
- Create job programs targeted to employment needs of the east downtown population.
- Promote the building of 950 new residential units.