Residents gear up to battle proposed rezone in Emigration Canyon

The request is on the Salt Lake City Planning Commission agenda tonight. It faces an uphill battle.

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The Salt Lake City Planning Commission is set to consider whether it wants to support an attempt to rezone a 6-acre property at the mouth of Emigration Canyon to allow 75-foot buildings at the edge of town.

The owner first asked the city to rezone the property in December 2022. That request has lingered until it reached the Planning Commission agenda on Wednesday night, where it faces an uphill battle to win favor with the advisory body.

The owner is hoping the city will rezone the property at 3052 E. Emigration Canyon Rd. from FR-2/21,780 to RMF-75, which would allow for buildings up to 75 feet in height. That would put it in line with the existing housing to the west, including the Canyon Crest condos that stand even taller than the existing RMF-45 zoning allows.

Still, planners are recommending the Planning Commission vote against the proposal, noting the lack of nearby transit as one reason.

Nearby residents emailed the city to ask that it reject the proposal, with many saying the area is already congested and not appropriate for high-density housing.

In some respects, the proposal would allow for an extension of what already exists in the area. Surrounding residential buildings sit between seven or more stories tall, though they are accessed from streets that don’t directly connect with Emigration Canyon Road.

The proposal would allow for up to 335 units, a significant increase from the current allowable 12 units on 6 acres in the city’s sprawling foothills zone. (The owner says they’re planning for up to 199 units.)

“There are no public transit options within walking distance of the site; the closest UTA bus stop is approximately 1.25 miles away on Arapeen Drive near the Post Office,” planning staff wrote.

Planners also wrote that the city would likely ask for an additional turning lane to accommodate additional people driving cars, but that the presence of Emigration Creek would make adding that lane difficult.

The proposal is also out of step with the East Bench general plan, which, unlike several other guiding documents for neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, was updated somewhat recently. The neighborhood plan calls for additional multifamily housing, but in the form of townhomes and other small-scale housing.

The Planning Commission is an advisory body to the City Council on rezone requests, meaning it doesn’t have the final say in the matter.

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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.