The Rose Park Community Council is deeply disappointed in a recent straw-poll vote by the Salt Lake City Council to exempt certain Salt Lake City neighborhoods (in the Avenues and East bench areas) from a proposed ordinance allowing ADUs — better known as “mother-in-law units” — to be built elsewhere in the city. This was an apparent compromise to placate people in those neighborhoods who fear ADUs would change the character of their communities.
While we understand the need for compromise in policy-making, we feel the boundary represents an unacceptable compromise that will accelerate already existing inequalities between Salt Lake City neighborhoods. Why should already wealthy neighborhoods be allowed to encase themselves in amber while historically less affluent neighborhoods continue to bear the costs of the city’s rapid growth?
As we have spoken to members of our community about this ordinance, we have heard diverse opinions about ADUs (some opposed, most in support) but, across the board, west side residents have been nearly unanimous in their opposition to a boundary that treats east side communities with special rules. West side residents have long felt underserved and undervalued by city government, and this boundary will further reinforce and validate this sentiment.
This boundary will result in divisions deeper than a line on a map. Rather than allowing the city to grow organically — which is the principal goal of ADU development — the city would create an artificial boundary forcing west side communities to carry an unequal burden to provide for Salt Lake’s increasing housing needs.
The city has changed, and will continue to change as it grows dramatically in the near future. We must must take the time and put in the effort to create a growth policy for a complete city, available to all, and equitable in opportunity.
We urge the City Council to reflect on this decision, look into the future and make the right choice to foster a unified city. We ask our leaders to please vote against a boundary creating unnecessary and detrimental divisions within our city.
Daniel R. Strong is chair and Aaron K. Ernst is secretary of the Rose Park Community Council.