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South Salt Lake Journal

Parking near new developments continues to be a SSLC problem

Aug 06, 2019 01:22PM ● By Bill Hardesty

Parking along 300 East south of The Zeller apartments shows how close vehicles are parked near the street corner and crosswalk. (Courtesy of a SSLC resident)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

One of the casualties of the recent austere budget passed in June was a dedicated parking code enforcement officer. It was decided the South Salt Lake Police Department could handle any parking violations. However, parking issues often comes up during the public comment section of city council meeting or on the South Salt Lake City for Real Transparency Facebook page or emails sent to the City Journals.

Parking ground zero

The Zeller apartment complex seems to be ground zero for parking issues. The Zeller is part of the East Streetcar neighborhood, located at 2255 S. 300 East. There are 293 units stretching across the S-line corridor between 300 East and 400 East. One key design element is The Zeller has a 386-stall parking structure in middle of the apartments. As this story was written, they were 89.42% occupied. 

The Zeller development was recommended to the City Council for approval on a unanimous vote on Oct. 1, 2015. Only two residents spoke during the public hearing and both spoke in opposition. Minutes from that meeting reveal concern about parking and how it was going to be resolved. 

"Mr. Boileau [Bob Boileau of Mire Group Architects] continued his presentation of the building by addressing the parking structure. The garage will have 386 covered stalls, with 62 parking spaces along the private drive, and 20 additional stalls long 300 East and 400 East. The total parking ratio for the project would be 1.6, which meets the Code requirements."

It is true the parking ratio, the number of stalls per unit, of 1.6 surpasses the standard for East Streetcar Neighborhood standards of 1.5. The East Streetcar Neighborhood Form-based Code, adopted in September 2014, has a section that reads, "On-street parking located directly adjacent to the site's property lines may be counted toward meeting the development's parking requirement, especially for visitor or on-site business-related parking demand."

A picture taken at 4 a.m. on Main Street and Utopia Avenue shows how close to the corner vehicles are parked. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

A request asking for clarification of the term "directly adjacent to" was sent to the SSLC City Attorney’s office, but no response was given by press deadline. The minutes continued. 

"Ms. White [Alex White then the city planner and now division manager] added a few items that were not addressed in the presentation. With regard to the parking ratio of 1.6, Ms. White clarified that this ratio included the visitor parking stalls and confirmed that the Code requirements were met. The applicant also completed a traffic study, which indicated that there would be no major impact on the services on surrounding roads, but staff would continue to work with the developer to mitigate any issues."

On page 50 of the East Streetcar Neighborhood Form-Base Code (Chapter 8.0 parking) it reads, "Developers shall clearly indicate the location of dedicated visitor parking through directional signage, marked stalls, or other means to be determined in site plan review." (section 8.3)

When recently asked about where visitors park, the receptionist at The Zeller said, "On the street." There seems to be a gap between reality (the street) and the standard (designated stalls).

Mayor Cherie Wood's office did not respond to a request for comment about the apparent gap before press deadline. 

The impact of this gap was provided by a homeowner near The Zeller on Monday, July 15.

"After I put my cans out last night for pick up early Monday morning, they [The Zeller residents] moved one of them onto the parking so they could park and left it there. I deserve to have my cans left where I put them and to receive garbage and recycle pick up that I pay for," said the resident. 

This resident also suggested a plan. She said, "We are asking for resident-only parking by permit signs throughout the neighborhood on all sides radiating out from The Zeller... free permits given to the homeowners for each car that they have at that residence and an additional permit for their regular visitors and family."

Another resident, Jchill Samels, posted an additional problem at The Zeller, "They are double-parked a lot during the day. I wonder if it's people pulling over to drop other people off."

Cost of parking

The cost of parking could be exacerbating the problem. If residents want to park in the parking structure, they pay $50 a month. The ground parking to the south of the building is free. Street parking is also free. 

This policy of charging for parking was not mentioned in the staff report nor the minutes of planning commission or the city council meetings. However, the practice is not uncommon.

At the Ritz Classic apartments, garage parking is $50/month. Parking behind the gate is $20/month and other ground parking on the site is free. Management has made it clear to residents that parking along the access road from State Street is illegal, and they are subject to getting towed.

At the soon-to-be opened Liberty Crossing, each resident has a one-car garage. Additional free parking is available on site (19 stalls) and residents can use the S-line parking lot. Residents are not allowed to use the WinCo parking lot.

Residents at Central Point, at the southwest corner of Main Street and 2100 South, also avoid using the WinCo parking or other businesses around. This results in many cars parked on Main Street and Utopia Ave. A 4 a.m. a drive-by check by this reporter, showed some cars parked close to street corners and the entrance to the WinCo parking lot. Residents do have assigned parking in back and four visitors stalls on the south. 

As the city continues to build large apartment/town homes developments, it is possible the parking problem will increase, but also possible it will decrease through enforcement and building standards.