The Salt Lake City Council will soon consider a rezone request for the Capitol Park Cottages in The Avenues. SLC Neighbors for More Neighbors supports this proposal as it offers several benefits to the city and the Avenues neighborhood and it deserves to be approved.
The proposed rezone of an unoccupied plot in the Avenues for the construction of new houses by Ivory Homes is among the most obvious and low-impact opportunities the city can take to increase housing availability near downtown Salt Lake while also providing for increased density that fits the neighborhood scale. More market-rate homes in high-demand areas such as the Avenues have the potential to relieve housing pressures from other neighborhoods, especially those facing a higher risk of displacement.
Approving this project will prove indispensable to ensuring housing that can be affordable at a variety of income levels for a variety of family types. In fact, we believe that the original proposal which included more housing should be approved, rather than the revised zoning proposal currently under consideration.
SLC Neighbors for More Neighbors supports this project and encourages the City Council to approve it for the following reasons:
The project includes accessory dwelling units (or ADUs) as part of its design. ADUs constitute an important form of middle-priced housing that can provide housing for many kinds of residents. To achieve housing affordability throughout the city, we must facilitate market-rate developments alongside affordable housing projects, especially in affluent areas where displacement risk is very low. The inclusion of ADUs in this project means more housing, at a neighborhood scale, in a highly desirable area of the city.
As a matter of equity, it is worth noting that other areas of the city regularly receive proposals for much higher density developments, and they are approved without the expenditure of nearly as much staff and council time. Increasing neighborhood scale density (in this case ADUs) in a high-opportunity neighborhood without threatening to displace lower-income residents is an appropriate strategy to distribute reasonable density increases through the city.
The ADUs included in the project can provide housing for students, seniors, adults with disabilities, multigenerational households and many other types of residents. Further, the presence of ADUs in the project can make these homes more attainable for middle-class families, as rents obtained from ADUs can pay part of the mortgage.
The project preserves and strengthens the identity of the Avenues. The Avenues is a highly desirable neighborhood because of its density, not in spite of it. The area is defined by the quirky combination of different housing types that serve a wide variety of needs, and it is precisely this agglomeration of housing-types that makes this neighborhood special. The Avenues are already a diverse neighborhood in which different types of households live on the same block – this project will build on that diversity.
The proposed housing project will strengthen Salt Lake City by adding green space, increasing neighborhood scale density, and providing more houses. This project is an opportunity for the Salt Lake City Council to approve a model for housing that will work for many types of families and make our city more inclusive.
Atticus Edwards is a resident of Salt Lake City’s Yalecrest neighborhood and a board member of SLC Neighbors for More Neighbors.