Salt Lake City continues to stockpile property near the intermodal hub — an area that city leaders say is full of redevelopment possibilities.

The City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency board of directors, Tuesday approved $6 million in transactions to acquire the Intermountain Furniture property — nearly 2.9 acres on the northeast corner of 600 West and 300 South.

The property is across 600 West from the Salt Lake City Intermodal Hub, the nexus of the Utah Transit Authority's commuter- and light-rail lines, as well as intra- and intercity bus service.

Future uses of the property likely will include a mix of residential, retail and office space, said City Councilman Carlton Christensen.

"It's a key location in an area with a lot of changing dynamics," Christensen said.

The city's RDA owns a handful of other properties in the area, including a 5-acre parcel at 336 S. 400 West that had been set aside for expansion of The Living Planet Aquarium. That project's downtown location was scrapped.

In other city business Tuesday:

• The City Council took a step toward becoming more pedestrian-friendly by relaxing parking-stall requirements for businesses in neighborhood commercial zones. Under the ordinance, businesses will be rewarded for providing and maintaining pedestrian-friendly amenities such as bicycle racks, baby-stroller parking areas and park benches. It allows up to 5,000 square feet of a business to be exempt from city parking requirements.

"It's notable that we're finally acknowledging through this ordinance that there are alternative ways and acceptable ways to get to businesses other than just automobiles," said Councilman Soren Simonsen.

Some residents who live near local businesses have expressed concerns about the change, saying they fear the spill-over parking that lines streets in their neighborhoods will only get worse.

Members of the City Council vowed to work with residents to address those concerns. As part of her motion to approve the changes, council chairwoman Jill Remington Love requested that city staff paint curbs within 5 feet of driveways and fire hydrants, and that the city enforce its existing policy in such no-parking zones.

"There will be an impact on residential areas," Love said. "We'll work with you to find solutions."

• An ordinance regulating development and activities along Salt Lake City streams was repealed by the 4-1 vote of the City Council and replaced with one that's seen as less controversial and easier to understand.

The original ordinance, adopted by the City Council on Jan. 15, put in place restrictions on new construction, changes to existing structures and other ground disturbances within 100 feet of waterways in the city east of I-215, specifically Emigration, Red Butte, Parleys and City creeks, as well as the Jordan River.

Residents and landowners contended their rights were being taken away and their property values diminished by the restrictions.

Under the new ordinance, minor changes to developed lots — such as tree removal and replacement — are permitted uses. Larger changes — such as building replacement and expansion within 50 feet of a stream — would require a riparian protection permit from the city.

• The City Council unanimously joined Mayor Ralph Becker in support of a modern rail streetcar as the preferred transit option in the Sugar House transit corridor. The resolution allows UTA to begin environmental work on the existing railroad line along 2300 South between 200 West and Highland Drive. The city has budgeted $100,000 for that analysis; South Salt Lake and UTA also will contribute $100,000 apiece.

• Sunnyside Park's baseball field has a new name: Robert W. Jones Baseball Diamond.

Love read a proclamation Tuesday night to rename the field to honor Jones for his 35 years of service in the community-sponsored Emigration Baseball League. Jones' service as manager, organizer and fundraiser "provided an organized, well-run baseball experience" for more than 7,000 young players between ages 6 and 13, according to the resolution.


E-mail: jpage@desnews.com