City looks for answers in unauthorized demolition of century-old meetinghouse — on Easter

Apr 1, 2024, 4:47 PM | Updated: 8:07 pm

Demolition work occurring at 740 S. 300 West in Salt Lake City has been halted due to lack of prope...

Demolition work occurring at 740 S. 300 West in Salt Lake City has been halted due to lack of proper permitting on Monday, April 1, 2024. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY —  On Easter Sunday, a wrecking crew showed up at the abandoned, boarded-up Fifth Ward Meetinghouse in downtown Salt Lake City and tore about half of the chapel down before city officials stopped them. There was no demolition order for the building. 

A city staffer who noticed it being razed passed the information to two city preservation planners who arrived quickly at the site and presented an emergency stop-work order. The staffer only noticed it because they were driving by the meetinghouse at 740 South and 300 West on Sunday.

When the planners called the police, the crew ran off.

Who tore the meetinghouse down?

Nick Norris is the director of planning for Salt Lake City.  He told KSL NewsRadio that the city is now working to locate the crew members.


“We’ve got a picture of the vehicle that they left in, the name on the door of the truck that they were in. We’re working on taking the appropriate enforcement action now,” said Norris.

Norris also said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had sold the meetinghouse property “decades ago.”

The Fifth Ward Meetinghouse was completed in 1910. The ward formed on the southwest side of the city in 1853, making it one of the state’s oldest congregations, according to a history of the building compiled by the Utah State Historical Society in 1978.

According to Norris, demolishing the meetinghouse, a historic landmark, is subject to stricter rules and scrutiny.

“In order to get approval to demolish a landmark site, you essentially need to demonstrate that there’s no economic value of the building … it would be really rare for someone to be able to demonstrate that, “said Norris.

‘Correct the problem’

The city is contacting the parties involved in the demolition. They hope to work towards a resolution, according to the planning director.

“We’re trying to track down the registered agents for the contractor,” said Norris. “We know who the property owner is. It’s an LLC with the managing partner, an individual named Jordan Atkin and so we’re already communicating with that person and trying to create the path forward to correct the problem.”

“The owner has relayed that they had somebody there but they’ve indicated that they weren’t supposed to start demolishing the building,” Norris said.

Potential Penalties 

Those involved with the demolition will be subject to zoning violation fines, Norris said. 

“The penalty for this kind of a violation is $100 a day and each day is considered a new violation. It adds up until its corrected,” he said. 

In this case, there were two zoning codes violated. First, crews were working without a permit. Second, they were demolishing it without historical approvals. Norris said those fines will be added together, to a total fine of around $200 each day the owner is not in compliance with the codes. 


Libraries are trying to change eBook rental

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Dave & Dujanovic

Republican nominee Celeste Maloy wins Utah's 2nd Congressional District....

Adam Small

Rep. Celeste Maloy talks Republican National Convention, primary election recount

Utah Rep. Celeste Maloy said she still doesn't know if she's won the republican nomination for the Utah second congressional district house seat

22 hours ago

A yellow air taxi flies across a building in a conceptual rendering....

Mariah Maynes

What’s the future of Utah transportation? One expert says air taxis

Utah is among the fastest-growing states in the U.S. Could air taxis be the answer for getting people around during the Olympics?

7 days ago

Alec Baldwin trial...

Amie Schaeffer

Alec Baldwin involuntary manslaughter trial begins in New Mexico

Alec Baldwin involuntary manslaughter trial begins with jury selection on Tuesday July 9, 2024 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

8 days ago

Peter Salm, a family member of a fatal road rage victim, shakes hands with Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Wood...

Kyle Remund

New road rage law aims to curb future incidents

Initially passed this spring, the law provides for harsher penalties for road rage incidents in an effort to prevent more violence.

9 days ago

someone taps on facebook icon, utah lawmakers working to protect kids from social media...

Curt Gresseth

Utah lawmaker talks about his work to shield kids from social media

State Sen. Mike McKell discusses the legislation he has sponsored to undo the harm to Utah children from social media.

26 days ago


Ike Yospe

Dating at Her Age, a new KSL Podcast from Debbie Dujanovic

Hosted by the charismatic duo of Debbie Dujanovic and Caitlyn Johnston, “Dating at Her Age” dives headfirst into the world of modern dating.

28 days ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

City looks for answers in unauthorized demolition of century-old meetinghouse — on Easter