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Sugar House Journal

New Development, Different Concerns for Sugar House Residents

Jul 13, 2016 10h18 ● By Bryan Scott

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

A new development is being proposed for a parcel of land at 974 East 2100 South, near a Subway and a Utah Idaho Supply store. The 126-unit multifamily apartment building will be a five-story, 60-foot-tall building called 21 by Urbana.

The new residential development was discussed at the Land Use and Zoning Committee meeting on May 16. This apartment building, developed by Gardiner Properties, is permitted per the zoning for these parcels.

Laurie Karlik, project manager, said they are designing smaller units to keep the prices lower.

“We believe that will be a great help to a lot of millennials and younger people that see the vibrancy of Sugar House and want to live here and experience that,” Karlik said.

The development will be oriented to the street with primary access set up for pedestrians and mass transit. But a concern from Land Use and Zoning chair Judi Short is about the parking. The plans show a proposed 137 parking stalls, all of which will be concealed on either the lower garage or the main floor, with two drive entrances on 1000 East.

“I worry about the Elm Street neighborhood and 1000 East. Pretty soon they’re going to have cars parking all through that place,” Short said.

Short cited a situation with Urbana apartments at 2057 South 1200 East, where residents of the adjacent Hollywood Avenue complained of their streets being overloaded with parked cars.  

“We know some of those come from Urbana because they don’t want to pay the $50 additional rent, so they park on the street and then the neighbors don’t have any place to park,” Short said.

Karlik said the ratio of parking stalls to units are 1.17 to 1.

“Our ratio is over one, so our two-bedroom units could have two stalls,” Karlik said.

The planned building will have two-story apartments on its first two floors, which is typically different from other developments of similar stature that generally have retail stores of some kind. This way the downstairs has bedrooms while the upstairs has the living room and kitchen. The first floor is below grade and the second floor is at ground level.

Short said it’s a “strange concept” and doesn’t generate much interest for those walking by.

“Part of what makes a neighborhood walkable is that you have something interesting to see as you’re walking down the street. This development doesn’t create much interest on the street level,” Short said. “To me that’s not very exciting.”

The ground-level floor will have a front porch that Karlik said they hope to keep open with a small grassy patch. She said they’re trying to create a “real home experience” similar to the houses built when Sugar House first started building.

“With the front porches and a desire to draw people out on to them, we think they’ll be really popular units with the dog owners and someone who likes that front porch,” Karlik said.

Nearby resident Nancy Holt said she had many concerns about the development, starting with the amount of construction going on in Sugar House, with proposed developments popping up every few months.

“We already have so much development going on. Why can’t we build one and then go from there?” Holt said.

One reason for the increased amount of construction in the area is a moratorium on impact fees. For one year, if developers can get projects approved and designed and have a permit in hand before the moratorium expires, they don’t have to pay those fees.

“That’s what is driving this crunch, and I think we’re going to see three or four more projects come in,” Short said. “It’s an interesting conundrum because everybody expects Sugar House to look the way Sugar House has always looked; that’s what they have in their mind’s eye, but the truth is it’s not going to look that way.”

Holt said she thinks the residents’ interests aren’t always being considered.

“It seems like whoever screams the loudest gets what they want. There’s so much money and power behind all of it and it’s the residents’ interests that are hurt,” Holt said.  

Construction is planned to begin in October or November of this fall with expected completion in February 2018.