Salt Lake Master Plan headed to City Council for approval

The Salt Lake City Planning Commission approved the master plan for the city’s long-term development, also known as Plan Salt Lake, at Wednesday night’s meeting held at the Salt Lake City and County Building.  After the favorable recommendation vote, the plan will be forwarded to the City Council, for appreciation and vote.

Plan Salt Lake will serve as a policy document that will help the city plan for future growth.   The plan will provide guidelines for developments and community and small area master plans, to better fit the needs of a growing and increasingly urban city.

This will be the first time in almost five decades that Salt Lake City’s has had a new city wide master plan: the last time a citywide plan was adopted was in the 1960s.

As a part of a greater project, called 2040 Vision, the plan establishes models and frameworks for different areas, such as community, neighborhoods, and elements for development. The purpose of the plan is to articulate and to implement a clear citywide vision, considering every part of the city when making development decisions, as well as identifying community values and establishing grounds for future master plans for communities.

There are 13 principles that are core to the plan, which are: neighborhoods, growth, housing, transportation, air quality, natural environment, parks & recreation, beautiful city, preservation, arts & culture, equity, economy, and government.

Here’s a rundown of the plan:

• Neighborhoods: the plan prioritizes neighborhoods that provide a safe walkable neighborhoods. By 2040, the city hopes to have most amenities available to residents within a quarter mile of their homes.

• Growth and housing: the city wants to encourage responsible growth that favors density and with raises the city share of the population of the Wasatch Front while encouraging increased diversity in housing options and more affordable housing.

• Transportation: the plan aims to provide access to sustainable, reliable, and affordable public transportation, accessible within a quarter of a mile from most households. The plan also intends to make streets safer and more complete streets to accommodate cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

• Air quality: Plan Salt Lake aims to reduce city emissions and its carbon footprint to 50% below 2005 levels over the next 25 years.
• Natural environment: the master plan seeks to minimize the human impact on nature, by reducing water and waste consumptions, as well as increasing recycling and protecting watersheds and natural lands.

• Parks and recreation: the plan aims on increasing the number of parks and trails that are easily accessible from households, providing access to natural spaces while protecting nature.

• Beautiful city: the city will create new pedestrian oriented design standards for construction in various planning zones, as well as encourage more vibrant parks and plazas and more active preservation of the city’s historic buildings, through an increase in the number of protected areas throughout Salt Lake City.

• Arts and culture: Salt Lake Plan predicts a more vibrant and diverse cultural scene, with an increase in the participation in cultural activities and by allowing public art on various city infrastructure.

• Equity: the plan seeks to decrease the costs of housing and transportation and insure access to all city amenities for every citizen.

• Economy and government: the new plan fosters a more balanced economy, that benefits all sectors and a more transparent and participative government.

In order to execute the plan, the city government plans to partner with local business owners, community organizations and various government agencies to ensure that the plan is beneficial for the entire city. Among the tools mentioned in the study to encourage growth are the Transfer of Development Rights, which makes the transferring of unused development rights from one property owner to another easier and the Property Tax Abatement, which allows revenues obtained through property taxes to be used for community development.

Posted by Gabriel Neves

Gabriel Neves is originally from Porto Alegre, Brazil and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 2010. With degrees in Law from PUCRS and in Mass Communication from the University of Utah, Gabriel is passionate about journalism and laws that affect everyone. He is fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Gabriel is the creator of the blog Thinking Out Loud.