Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis' downtown revitalization committee voted Monday to recommend that five downtown buildings scheduled for demolition be exempted from a proposed ordinance to control such demolitions.
The Capital City Committee, a coalition formed to direct redevelopment efforts in the city's ailing downtown, voted to recommend the City Council approve the ordinance but exempt two businesses from its effects.On Tuesday, the council may vote on the proposed ordinance, which would control downtown building demolition and parking lot construction. City planners call the measure crucial to maintaining the "urban fabric" of the central business district.
The ordinance, now in the form of two petitions submitted on behalf of the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team, would enable the city Planning Commission to approve demolitions based on post-demolition plans "consistent with downtown planning policies."
It also would require developers to prove that alternative uses to parking lots are not economically viable before they could pave over lots in the downtown area for parking.
The two developers affected by the committee's recommendation are Questar Corp. and Zions Bank, in cooperation with development company Gerald D. Hines Interests. Both want to raze downtown buildings and replace them with parking lots.
Questar wants to demolish the old Utah-Idaho Building, 155-157 S. State St. Zions and Hines want to destroy four buildings at 20-31 W. First South and 116-118 S. Main St. for parking space.
DePaulis said the two developers, should be exempted from the ordinance because they agreed to stall planned demolitions pending the outcome of the proposed ordinance, which if passed would threaten their original plans.
Additionally, DePaulis said the two had demonstrated "good faith" in supporting R/UDAT, the group of urban planners who studied the downtown area in June, and by undertaking to redevelop the the downtown area.
On Tuesday the council will conduct the continuation of a public hearing on the proposed ordinance begun last week. They could vote on the measure following the hearing.