NewsLocal News


Salt Lake City Council considers a new plan for Northpoint

Posted at 5:59 PM, Sep 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-05 21:07:38-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The city council is considering a new plan for an area under development near the Great Salt Lake.

Northpoint — located on the northernmost point of the city between Salt Lake City International Airport and 2200 West — is one of the last semi-rural areas of the city. It's already seeing development with a massive million-square-foot warehouse being built across from homes on a two-lane road. The area has no actual plan, so development has moved in and been built as land is sold. There's also unincorporated Salt Lake County land in there.

Residents have been frustrated by the construction noise, traffic and light. Salt Lake City Council Vice-Chair Victoria Petro (whose district includes Northpoint) said they are living in a "hellscape."

"Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and they don't take the holiday," said Denise Payne, who lives across from a warehouse under construction. "We don't get a break."

She described semis parking on her private property and idling, rattling her dishes and the weight of the trucks up the road in front of her house. Environmental groups have also been pressuring the city council to do something, worried about the development creeping closer to the Great Salt Lake, which is already facing its own environmental problems.

"Salt Lake City already has 17,000 acres zoned... for warehouses. This is close 23% of our city," said Deeda Seed with the Center for Biological Diversity. "How much is enough? 17,000 acres is a lot. That could be as much as 152 million square feet of new warehouse space. We have air quality issues here."

Mayor Erin Mendenhall also sent a letter to the council raising concerns about development in Northpoint.

"I recommend that the City Council consider Planning Staff’s recommendation to limit distribution land uses to prevent the area from becoming primarily a warehouse and distribution center. This could be achieved by limiting the development of such uses where they are not currently allowed by zoning," the mayor wrote. "This is a vital step to implementing the city’s vision – one that respects the existing residential and agriculture properties, the environment, and wildlife, while allowing for appropriate light-manufacturing development."

As the council was briefed on ideas from city planners on Tuesday, Petro proposed something new: the area would be zoned agricultural and residents could decide their fates. She said the idea came from a meeting she hosted attended by residents and developers in Northpoint. She said residents have mixed views on things: some would like to sell their land, while others want to hang on to it and not be zoned into an industrial area.

"If we do it this way? We have developer agreements for everything that’s developed," Petro told FOX 13 News. "We can protect the uniqueness of that environment and the uniqueness of my constituents that live out there."

At times, Tuesday's meeting seemed tense as council members grappled with what to do. Some worried without an explicit plan, they couldn't protect the Great Salt Lake. Petro urged them to think of her constituents who live there and have constantly been overlooked because the city hasn't done anything for years.

"We have million square foot warehouses and wolves and vultures circling," Petro told the council.

Ultimately, it appeared Petro won over a majority of the council to her idea. No action was taken on the proposed Northpoint plan in the work meeting while city staffers take her feedback and incorporate it into new zoning plans.

Seed said she was open to considering Petro's idea. In the audience, Payne wiped tears and applauded silently.

"Just keep agriculture on our side of the street," she told FOX 13 News afterward. "I can’t see the sunsets anymore, but if they’ll build a berm I'll be happy with that. Just to give us a break because it’s semis all day long on the street. It’s a mess."

This article is published through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a solutions journalism initiative that partners news, education and media organizations to help inform people about the plight of the Great Salt Lake and what can be done to make a difference before it is too late. Read all of our stories at