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(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) A train tests the Sugar House Streetcar line in October 2013. Salt Lake City is seeking a federal grant to extend the line.
Zoning changes could clear way for tall buildings on Sugar House street car line

High Density Development » Proposed zoning would allow building heights from 45 to 105 feet.

First Published Mar 24 2014 01:45 pm • Last Updated Mar 25 2014 11:16 am

Proposed zoning changes near the Sugar House Streetcar line would clear the way for high-density housing and retail and set the stage for building heights of 45 to 105 feet.

The zone changes under consideration are FB-SC (Form Based-Streetcar Core) zoning along 700 East at 2100 South that would allow 105-foot buildings, and FB-SE (Form Based-Streetcar Edge) zoning that would allow 45-foot heights along segments of Stringham, Simpson, Sugarmont and Wilmington avenues between 600 East and 1000 East.

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A map of the proposed zone changes can be found at http://bit.ly/NLMBcq.

A public hearing before the Salt Lake City Council is scheduled for Tuesday during the council’s regularly scheduled 7 p.m. meeting in room 315 at City Hall, 451 S. State.

The zoning proposal by the administration of Mayor Ralph Becker seeks to take advantage of the transportation options offered by the Sugar House Streetcar — or S line — that debuted in December.

For the most part, the Sugar House Community Council supports zone changes in the area, said Judi Short, chairwoman of the council’s land-use committee. But she cautioned that the single-family homes in the area should not be encroached upon by tall buildings next door. "Forty-five feet next to a single family home is too high," she said.

Sugar House resident George Chapman said much of the rezoning proposal would be harmful for the residential neighborhood. The zoning will set the stage for "gentrification" and higher taxes, he said. That will drive out moderate- to low-income residents.

Soren Simonsen, a former city councilman who represented Sugar House, agreed that buffers should protect residential neighborhoods near high-density development. But he noted that the area surrounding the intersection of 700 East and 2100 South has long been identified as a potential high-density locale.

Part of the proposal would rezone city open space on Sugarmont Avenue to FB-SE that allows 45-foot heights. The Becker administration has labeled the land, now a community garden, as "surplus." But Simonsen said selling off open space while creating greater density is not sound planning.

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