Planning commission approves rezoning amendment for homeless tiny home village

Oct 28, 2021, 5:18 AM | Updated: 7:46 am
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People try and stay warm as they sit outside the Main Library in Salt Lake City on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Planning Commission approved a rezoning amendment for two plots of land on the city’s west side Wednesday night. The rezoning application was submitted by organizers of the Other Side Village, a proposed tiny home community for the chronically unsheltered in Utah. 

The organizers of the Village are from the Other Side Academy, a training school for those pre- or post-sentencing for criminal charges, former substance abusers, and the unhoused.

The school offers pro-social and vocational skills and is based on a methodology known as the “Therapeutic Community Model.” The organization explains, in the Other Side Academy, a free, two-year commitment, leaders and students have similar backgrounds of convictions or addiction. The only difference between leaders and students is the length of time spent on the “other side.” 

Read more: Salt Lake City Mayor provides update on tiny home community for city’s homeless

Commission approves rezoning amendment request

Organizers of the proposed Other Side Village won a small, but significant, victory Wednesday with the approval of a rezoning request for two plots of land. It is the first step of many before a single small cottage can be built. 

The purpose of the request was to change of zoning for the areas of approximately 1850 West Indiana Avenue and 1965 West 500 South. According to the application, the two areas are currently zoned as ‘Public Lands’. In order for the Other Side Village to ever see the light of day, the land must be changed to a ‘Form-based Urban Neighborhood District.’ 

The planning commission opted to recommend the request after a preliminary analysis, but it still required a vote from commissioners. 

What started as a routine commission meeting quickly shifted into a passionate back and forth between supporters and detractors during the public comment period. Several people with ties to the Other Side Academy spoke favorably of the planned tiny home community, while some people living near the two plots of land shared their opposition.

The committee asked questions, heard from presenters, and ultimately voted 7 to 1 in favor of the request. 

The rezoning recommendation now heads to the Salt Lake City Council for further review and final approval. 

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Planning commission approves rezoning amendment for homeless tiny home village