A developer is challenging Salt Lake City’s 100-foot minimum height law. Read the appeal.

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A Salt Lake City-based developer has appealed a vote by the Planning Commission to deny a building because it was shorter than the 100-foot minimum height for new buildings in the Downtown area.

The appeal goes to an officer who will hear the facts of the case involving a proposed seven-story, 83-foot tall building at 250 S. 200 E. in the Central City neighborhood.

Depending on how the appeals hearing officer rules, the case could make its way to court in what could amount to a threat for the city’s ability to enforce its land use authority in the future.

Attorney Bruce Baird wrote the appeal on behalf of J. Fisher Companies, which has been struggling to build on the site for nearly seven years.

Baird said the Planning Commission’s denial violated a state Supreme Court ruling and the decision of a state property rights ombudsman.

He also took issue with the commission’s stated fear that it would create a precedent that other developers would follow if it allowed Fisher to build its shorter building, which would be built primarily out of wood rather than steel and concrete.

“To be clear, the concept of “precedent” in a land use case decision-making process (other than a judicially created “precedent” such as Price) makes no sense,” Baird wrote.

“The Planning Commission, in effect due to a fear of future imaginary horribles, re-wrote the D1-CBD ordinance to eliminate the Council’s intended plans and standards for the zone.”

Read Baird’s entire appeal letter below.

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Posted by Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson grew up near Chicago and made his way West to study journalism at the University of Montana. He's been a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, Bend Bulletin and Salt Lake Tribune. A move from Portland, Oregon, to Salt Lake City opened his eyes to the importance of good urban design for building strong neighborhoods. He lives on the border of the Liberty Wells and Ballpark neighborhoods.