After four hours of public hearing and debate, the City Council settled two important issues Wednesday night that have been topics of heated debate and argument for some time.
The council approved the recommendation of the South Salt Lake Redevelopment Agency to take redevelopment action under the Madison School Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan, which involves property on Oakland Avenue and along Robert Avenue as well as the Madison School site.After conducting a study to determine deteriorating conditions and blight in the area, the redevelopment agency found that within the 16 parcels of property located in the study area, two or more blight conditions were discovered on each of the properties.
Richard Chong, an independent consultant for the blight study, said many of the building lots and structures are defective in design and have been found to be in substandard condition. Chong said a number of complaints from the health department have been received, as well as reports of safety violations.
The redevelopment agency received petitions in favor of the redevelopment project from 73 percent of the property owners in the study area.
With the recommendation of the RDA, the council voted to take redevelopment action in the area. Negotiations for the sale of properties is expected to begin by early June.
In a public hearing concerning the closure of Sunset Avenue, the council voted to approve a compromise that would benefit both residents and businesses in the area. In an effort to stabilize the residential area and discourage traffic flow, the council approved closing Sunset Avenue at State Street for a six-month trial period.
Residents in favor of closing the street to through traffic said they have been pleased with the reduction in traffic and felt safer in their neighborhood. However, business owners said it was unfair to close the street, which acts as an access route to a number of businesses, forcing customers to find alternate routes.
In order to benefit both residents and business owners, the council approved an alternate solution to the problem, a compromise that consists of narrowing the entrances to Sunset Avenue at State Street and West Temple to discourage through traffic while leaving the street open for business access. The installation of restrictive improvements, known as dips, is also being considered. Construction is expected to begin this summer.