Salt Lake City Council gets an earful from residents on west side rezone and rodeo animal treatment at the Utah State Fair | News | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Salt Lake City Council gets an earful from residents on west side rezone and rodeo animal treatment at the Utah State Fair

Washington Square Dispatch


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Highlights from the Sept. 19, 2023, meeting of the Salt Lake City Council.

Tuesday’s Salt Lake City Council meeting opened with a flag ceremony by three local Cub Scouts, who walked the American and Utah flags through room 326 of the City and County Building before leading guests in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The Council’s agenda for the evening included amendments to the city budget and a potential annexation and rezoning of land near Rose Park. During public comment, Council members also heard concerns over the treatment of animals at the Utah State Fair rodeo.

Jordan River Bridges
The Council voted unanimously to adopt an amendment to the 2023-24 budget, in order to provide funds for the reconstruction of bridges over the Jordan River, and to reallocate funds from a project on 1700 East to the upcoming reconstruction of 2100 South, among other changes.

Hunter Stables Rezone
The Council held a public hearing on the proposed annexation and rezoning of properties located on North Rose Park Lane, commonly known as the Hunter Stables area. This annexation and rezoning would set requirements for future development, including a proposed mixed-use residential area with up to 800 housing units.

Several commenters who live in the area spoke against the proposal, citing vehicle congestion and pollution among their primary concerns.

“The traffic down there right now is bad as it is,” said Cam Kingston. “They did a traffic study on that and it said the road can handle up to 500 vehicles. We are already past that.”

According to several residents, traffic conditions worsened after the opening of the Regional Athletic Complex, bringing more people to the area and causing paralyzing congestion. While the complex is near the Jordan River and its parkway trail, it is effectively unserved by the Utah Transit Authority, requiring a minimum 10-minute walk to UTA’s high-frequency bus services on Redwood Road and 1000 North. Near the proposed development, Rose Park Lane is the only road leading into and out of the neighborhood.

Willis Kenner pointed to the air pollution caused by dust from nearby rock quarries and the state’s OHV Recreation Area, and expressed concern over the additional pollution new development could create.

“You add 1,400 vehicles to that and it is just going to create some hazards we’re already dealing with and just multiply them by ten,” Kenner said.

Residents of the area also discussed their love of the neighborhood and its rural nature—among the last of its kind in Salt Lake City—which residents credited for the ability to safely take walks, walk dogs and ride bikes in.

“There’s horses, there’s cattle, there's chickens, and it's great. We love living next to that,” said Doug George, who's lived in the area for more than 30 years. “We don’t want to make it like so many other places in Salt Lake and the surrounding area.”

State Fair Rodeo
During the general comments portion of the meeting, several members of the Utah Animal Rights Coalition, or UARC, spoke out against The Utah’s Own PRCA Rodeo, which was held earlier this month in conjunction with the Utah State Fair.

Photos of a fallen calf—brought down hard by the neck during a roping competition—started circulating around social media following the event on Sept, 8, generating online criticism of rodeo practices. The following Monday, State Fair organizers posted a video with the calf’s face, stating that the calf was alive and healthy.

The UARC speakers asked the City Council to require a vet to be present at all public rodeos and to require rodeos to keep a public record of animal injuries and the treatments the animals receive.

“We have currently more than 500 supporters of the kind of work that UARC does, asking us to do something about the rodeo,” said Jacob Evans, co-director of the UARC.

After the general comments portion of the meeting closed, Councilmember Alejandro Puy requested a point of privilege to address the animal rights activists’ concerns.

“I watched those videos and they were horrendous, and I know what you’re feeling,” Puy stated, as other Councilmembers nodded in agreement. “But the State Fair has its own board, even this last [legislative] session, the state gave that board even more authority, taking authority away from the city.”

Councilmember Puy said he would still investigate the incident.

City Appointments
During the Council’s Sept. 12 limited formal meeting, the council voted to appoint Lisa Kehoe as the 911 Dispatch Executive Director and passed a motion to appoint Isaac Astill to the Transportation Advisory Board. His term will end on September 28, 2026.