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Help save Great Salt Lake wetlands & prevent environmental injustice - stop Salt Lake City from turning Northpoint into a warehouse district

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Take ACTION:
Speak at the planning commission meeting against zoning changes that would allow for more polluting warehouse development.
Wed., January 11th at 5:30 pm
City & County Building, 451 S. State Street, Room 326

 

The issue:
Warehouse developers eager for profits are racing to turn undeveloped land in Salt Lake City’s Northpoint community (east and slightly north of the airport) into another sea of polluting warehouses, similar to the inland port warehouse development occurring west of the airport. They are pressuring the city to upzone the property NOW, before a new master plan for the Northpoint area is adopted. Sadly, the city is recommending approval of this fast track action.  The city has produced a very flawed draft master plan to support warehouse development, which has NOT yet been adopted by the City Council. We need to turn this disaster around by letting the Mayor and City Council know we do NOT support another warehouse district.

 

We need to call on the city to put a halt to this. The city needs to take a step back and develop a comprehensive plan for lands adjacent to Great Salt Lake wetlands, and the city needs to examine closely and prevent the polluting impacts of this proposed warehouse development.

This area, containing 60 homes, which the master plan predicts will all eventually be replaced by development, is also adjacent to some of the highest functioning wetlands on Great Salt Lake. The last thing we should be doing at a time when the Great Salt Lake is facing ecological collapse is destroying wildlife habitat which may be the last refuge for hundreds of bird species.

 

Also, we should not further degrade our air quality with polluting warehouse development, when dust from the drying Great Salt Lake is increasingly threatening to human health.

This is shaping up to be another instance where taxpayers will be asked to subsidize polluting, harmful development that is not in the public interest. And this will inflict more harm on Westside residents who are already unfairly burdened with industrialization and its effects. 

 

Impact to existing residents

Quality of life for the residents and the 60 homeowners in the area will be decimated by this warehouse development, and in fact developers are using this scary future scenario to compel property owners to sell to them. Changing existing residential and agricultural zoning to M1 would cause displacement of existing residents at a time when we are already experiencing an extreme shortage of both housing and green space. We should not make a residential area unlivable during a housing crisis. Currently Salt Lake City is enabling these problems, by developing a draft master plan which supports upzoning of the land, from Agricultural/Residential to M-1 (light manufacturing). 

Warehouse pollution

Developers have made it clear in public testimony that their goal is warehouse development, not light manufacturing. The same problems that have been identified with inland port development will occur in the Northpoint area including pollution and disruption from diesel trucks, traffic congestion and safety issues.  Warehouse development will contribute to climate change with increased greenhouse gas emissions (through construction and use) and urban heat island effects. Depletion of precious water resources and stormwater pollution from warehouse development are also critical problems.

 

Destruction of wildlife habitat

Great Salt Lake wetlands are unique to this region and there are very few places like them on Earth. We are in the midst of an historic ecological crisis for Great Salt Lake and the wildlife that depend on it with the ongoing drought. Lake levels have dropped to an historic low and the standing pool that remains is becoming more and more saline. Scientists say ecological collapse has begun. Now more than ever, managed and other wetlands around the lake are critical – particularly for migratory birds of the Western hemisphere. Great Salt Lake and its wetlands are recognized for their value to shorebirds as a designated site of the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network. Additionally, many of the wetlands of Farmington Bay and the South Shore of Great Salt Lake are designated migratory bird production areas by the Utah Legislature, including the Rudy Duck Club, which is immediately adjacent to the Northpoint area. 

 

Take Action:

Attend the Planning Commission meeting on January 11 at 5:30 pm to let SLC Planning Staff and Planning Commissioners know you do not support upzone of these properties in the Northpoint community. And that they shouldn’t even be considering this until issues with the draft master plan for the area are resolved. You will have 2 minutes to speak. Or you can submit written comments to: diana.martinez@slcgov.com.
 

Learn more and spread the word. There are significant problems with the draft master plan that need to be addressed before a master plan is adopted:
 

  1. Salt Lake City needs to take a step back and examine the cumulative effect of development adjacent to the critical high functioning wetlands of Great Salt Lake (adjacent to the Utah Inland Port jurisdictional area and Northpoint) and develop a comprehensive plan for preserving this irreplaceable and critical resource.

  2. Salt Lake City needs to comprehensively examine the market for warehouse development, and the public health consequences of that development. The Utah Inland Port jurisdictional area already allows for 152 million square feet of new warehouse development. Is it in the public interest to enable even MORE warehouse development? Is dedicating  over 22% or more of the land within our city to warehouse development while we are facing the acute impact of the climate emergency and the dying Great Salt Lake in the public interest?

  3. Salt Lake City needs to conduct a robust independent analysis of the public subsidies for this warehouse development. Inland port warehouse developers were very clear that their development would only be profitable to them with significant public subsidies for infrastructure (primarily roads, sewers and power). As it turns out this warehouse development is not beneficial to our community, why should our city repeat this mistake in the Northpoint area?

 

Links to additional information:

https://buildingsaltlake.com/hot-market-for-warehouses-is-driving-a-trucking-ghetto-into-slcs-last-agricultural-land-and-right-through-the-citys-draft-master-plan
 

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/12/26/development-is-surely-coming 

 

https://www.slc.gov/planning/2022/10/13/northpoint-small-area-plan/

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