The city's post office could end up on the north side after all - in the Kmart and Smith's retail area - because no one can agree on a suitable downtown site.
During a one-hour public meeting Wednesday with U.S. Postal Service officials, residents and the City Council shot down the Postal Service's top two downtown sites. The issue will be addressed again at the Wednesday, Sept. 2, 7 p.m. City Council meeting."There are no vacant tracts downtown," Wayne Christensen, administrative manager for the Salt Lake division of the U.S. Postal Service, told some 50 residents and city leaders. "No matter what we do we won't make everyone happy . . . Our goal is to abide by the city's desires."
Christensen said the current city post office at 145 E. State St. is less than half the size it needs to be, has no room for expansion and needs four times the parking space.
Mayor Greg Bell said the council's desire is to keep the post office downtown. It has been working with postal officials for more than a year to find a suitable site.
Christensen presented two sites at the meeting. One is east of the city's fire station, near 100 North and 100 East. The other - a site the post office became aware of only earlier this week - is on the west side of Main Street, near the Rose Garden.
On a show-of-hands vote at the meeting, residents favored the Rose Garden site by approximately a 30-3 margin.
However, Bell said the Rose Garden area site, though located conveniently west of the Davis County Courthouse, infringes on a residential area and is defined residential on the city's master plan.
"You'll have more of an outcry against that site," Bell predicted. "Unless we can find something else, we're going to Kmart."
City manager Max Forbush lives near the Rose Garden and said speaking as a resident he didn't oppose a postal site there. However, as city administrator he has the same reservations the mayor does.
Christensen said all post offices have to co-exist with homes.
"I can't think of one post office I've built in 10 years that didn't have residents nearby," he said.
While the Postal Service has the power to condemn land, Chris-tensen said it very rarely uses it and won't in this case.
He said until all the potential downtown sites are eliminated, the Postal Service won't be looking at other areas of the city. The north retail area in Farmington is the Postal Service's last choice, according to Christensen.
Postal officials have already scrutinized seven different downtown sites.
"We will see what we can do to gather more information," he said.
A site of at least 1 1/2 acres is needed. Most new post offices in Utah now include clock towers, too.