Salt Lake City nears ‘exciting’ Ballpark changes before it sorts out stadium’s future

Apr 3, 2024, 11:00 PM

The Smith's Ballpark parking lot and other areas directly north of the ballpark are pictured on Tue...

The Smith's Ballpark parking lot and other areas directly north of the ballpark are pictured on Tuesday. Salt Lake City is considering a rezone of the area to coincide with a station plan it approved in 2022. (Carter Williams, KSL.com)

(Carter Williams, KSL.com)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Bees’ departure from Smith’s Ballpark isn’t the only major change slated for Salt Lake City’s Ballpark neighborhood.

As the Bees took the field Tuesday evening for possibly their last home opener before moving to South Jordan, Salt Lake City Council members took a step toward voting on a measure that would completely rezone the blocks surrounding the ballpark as the city continues to find a new use for the stadium.

The City Council voted Tuesday to set up a public hearing next month on the proposed Ballpark Station Area rezone, the next step after approving the station area plan in 2022. If approved, blocks surrounding the ballpark, 77 W. 1300 South, and Utah Transit Authority’s Ballpark TRAX station would shift from predominantly commercial zones to a mix of housing and mixed-use zones.

“I think this is starting to reflect more of what we’d like to see (in) the evolution of Ballpark,” said Councilwoman Eva Lopez Chavez during a meeting earlier in the day.

Ballpark rezone

The rezoning project began in June 2023 and went through some revisions to get to what’s on the City Council’s table, but a large chunk of the proposed rezone resembles what Salt Lake City planners revealed to Ballpark residents in September. Most of the neighborhood would be listed as either what’s called Form Based Mixed Use 8 or Form Based Urban Neighborhood 1 and 2.

The former allows for buildings up to eight stories in height and a “wide variety of uses,” said Brooke Olson, a principal planner for Salt Lake City. These include new row houses, multi-family and mixed-used developments, similar to other new buildings popping up across the city. The other two zones would also open up different housing types, but it would require buildings to be at least 30 to 50 feet high.

All three zones would be located close to the Ballpark station. She said the properties don’t have to meet the same parking requirements as areas away from transit zones. Planners note that all three of UTA’s existing TRAX routes use the station; UTA is also eying a fourth line in the future that would also utilize the stop.

UTA’s frequent 200 bus route runs up and down State State near the project area’s east boundary. City planners noted last year that current homes in the project area would not be affected by any rezoning, arguing that the changes would provide landowners “an opportunity to develop their property in a different way.”

The Salt Lake City Council is also considering new signage rules for the Form Based Mixed Use 8 zone, which regulates what types of signs new buildings can use. Awning or canopy, nameplate, window and projecting signs are among the acceptable options, as are any vintage signs that may be relocated into the area as public art.

What about the ballpark?

Tuesday’s presentation took place hours before the Salt Lake Bees’ potential final home opener at Smith’s Ballpark. The team was intended to be the project’s anchor when the first part of it was announced in 2021. The city even offered the Larry H. Miller Company — the team’s owner — a legacy lease in 2022.

Read the rest of the story from KSL.com here. 

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Salt Lake City nears ‘exciting’ Ballpark changes before it sorts out stadium’s future