With final council vote, another apartment building greenlighted for Sugar House

A street on the fringe of the Sugar House core will see a single-family house and parking lot be replaced by a rental townhome development after the project received the final go-ahead from the City Council on Tuesday.

The proposal for 1200 East near Ramona Avenue (1930 South) is largely mundane for a neighborhood that’s now considered a second downtown in Salt Lake City, though it still required a zoning change to move forward.

The developer — UHP KUVASZ — can now move forward with plans to build an 18-unit rental development after the council voted unanimously to approve the change in what brought up a lesson in medium versus medium-high density building.

UHP needed the city’s permission to move forward with its plan because the project will be built on two parcels with different zoning allowing different numbers of units per acre. One parcel had been zoned RMF-35, which allows for medium density development, the other was zoned RMF-45, which allows more density.

RMF-35 developments have between 8 and 20 dwelling units per acre. A change to RMF-45 allows 20 to 50 units per acre. The subject parcels are just over a half-acre, meaning the project will add 34 units per acre.

The developer had argued the mid-density zoning was inconsistent with the type of development that already exists on 1200 East, where several existing buildings are denser than the proposed apartments.

Had the council not agreed to rezone the parcel, UHP could have still built multi-family housing but with slightly fewer units.

UHP submitted conceptual plans that weren’t the subject of the council’s review (meaning the drawings and plans could change now that the site received the density waiver).

But early drawings show parking hidden from street view behind two buildings that would likely be between 30 and 40 feet tall. The new RMF-45 zoning would allow buildings up to 45 feet high (about four stories) and up to about 25 units on this half-acre site.

The goal with the neighborhood’s master plan was to allow for higher density within and on the periphery of the Sugar House core.

“Higher density residential redevelopment within or on the periphery of the Sugar House Business District is desirable,” the plan says.

North of Westminster, only single-family homes are allowed. But south of it, on 12th East and Ramona Avenue (which primarily has single-family homes today), the plan calls for new buildings with 8-20 units per acre.

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.