SLC Council addresses environmental justice issues of Northpoint development
The Salt Lake City Council convened Tuesday to discuss a development plan for the 1500 acre Northpoint neighborhood at the southeastern tip of Great Salt Lake. The neighborhood, which currently has no binding development plan, is being sold off parcel by parcel amidst intense industrial development pressure.
Salt Lake City Senior Planner Krissy Gilmore said the plan allows for additional development while accounting for human and wildlife impacts.
“All lighting would be shielded and directed down and away from the edges of the property…landscaping requirements such as native plants…fencing that would be permeable to allow free movement of wildlife…then there's water conscious development standards,” Gilmore said.
Even so, council vice-chair Victoria Petro argued the plan’s inclusion of “light industrial” zoning overlooks quality of life for residents in the area, which she describes as an industrial “hellscape”.
“They are people who still carry scars from when we executed eminent domain over the airport…I've had people on our Facebook page mourning that they saw their last sunset to the west, because there's now a sheet of concrete erected in front of them,” Petro emphasized.
Council member Dan Dugan suggested moving the development zoning elsewhere, citing the sensitive Great Salt Lake ecosystem nearby. However, council member Alejandro Puy argued without any plan, the area will be left open to further uncontrolled development, forcing residents to fight for basic needs at the expense of the environment.
“Not that they don't care about the birds, or the air quality that they breathe, and we all breathe. They do, but they're in the hierarchy of needs. Unfortunately, it comes when we solve these issues first, then we have more time to think about the other important issues,” Puy said.
While no official changes were made at the meeting, Petro proposed altering the plan’s industrial zoning to agricultural, allowing residents to decide what happens to the area on their own terms.
Submit your comments to the Salt Lake City Council about the Northpoint Small Area Plan online here.