The Board of Governors of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce wants the City Council to postpone a Tuesday night hearing on a proposed ordinance that many board members believe would prevent businesses from removing old buildings before the land is needed for new construction.
At Tuesday's board meeting, Wm. James Mortimer, board chairman, didn't allow the board to vote on the issue because only one side had been represented at the chamber's last executive committee meeting. But they informally asked City Councilwoman Florence Bittner to get the hearing delayed until the ordinance can be examined more extensively.Several board members were dismayed the hearing would be held on election day, when many people would be voting and attending campaign parties.
The proposed ordinance is the first action taken as the result of a Regional Urban Design Assistance Team visit to Salt Lake City several months ago to make suggestions on how the downtown area could be revitalized. The proposed ordinance would make it difficult for the owner of a building to demolish the structure unless the demolition could be considered advantageous to the community.
Board members I.J. Wagner and Leon G. Harmon said the proposed ordinance discourages corporations from accumulating land for their operation, which is amazing in light of the constant attempt to get businesses to locate in the downtown.
The R/UDAT study suggested that buildings not be torn down in favor of parking lots, because it leaves so many empty spots downtown.
Since that study was completed and the suggestion announced, Questar Corp. asked the city for a permit to tear down an old building at 156 S. State and build a parking lot. Sources say the company is accumulating land on which to build a corporate headquarters some day.
The ordinance also would affect property on the southwest corner of First South and Main. Zions First National Bank, located on the corner, wants to tear down some buildings south and west of the bank and turn the land into parking lots until the bank builds an office building.
In another matter related to parking lots, Bittner said the City Council wants to form the Salt Lake Parking Authority and sell bonds through the Salt Lake Redevelopment Agency for the construction of parking terraces in three blocks in the vicinity of Second, Third and Fourth South and Main, State Street and Second East.
Bittner said when new buildings are constructed, parking terraces are usually included, but there is a problem because old buildings don't have parking.
Mike Chitwood, redevelopment agency director, said the Legislature, in the third special session last summer, passed a law allowing the establishment of a special improvement district for this purpose. Chitwood said no taxpayer money is involved because the bonds are repaid with revenue from the parking terraces.
The RDA will hire a consultant to determine if the entire project is feasible and if it's determined it is, construction on the parking terraces could begin in September 1989.