SUGAR HOUSE COMMUNITY COUNCIL BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING MINUTES
November 3, 1993
Attending: Roger Miller, Jerry Romero, Keith Christensen, Hope Hilton, Don Hale, Miriam Murphy, Mrs. T. E. Judd, Moma Winkelman, Judi Short, Stan ?, Brian Bellamy, Gene Davis, Marv Peguillan, Jan Haug, Ron Minist, Rich Bennett, Ruth A. Robbins, Rawlins Young, Dale Chalmers, Warren Jarvis, Lynn Chatwin, Jeff Chapman, Wayne Halverson, John Mannos, Dorothy Tuddenham, Susan Crook, Eldon Haa–?, Anne Menzies, Jeff Jonas. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 by Roger Miller, Chair.Welcome to Don Hale, Keith Christensen (councilman elect), and Gene Davis. Before proceeding with the full agenda, Roger Miller asked to make a personal statement. Roger acknowledged that he had made a serious error in judgment in writing a letter of support for then-candidate Keith Christensen on SHCC letterhead. He stated that he had not realized the implications of doing so when he gave the letter to be copied and sent out, and received generally on Friday, Oct. 29, 1993. Driving home on Friday afternoon, he realized that he had used bad judgment and began to wonder what would be the proper course. On Saturday morning, Oct. 30, a trustee called to question the ethics and legality of the letter. After this conversation, Roger immediately called as many other trustees as could be reached, including Vice Chair Jerry Romero (who was not at home but shortly called on his own), and the two candidates (Mr. Christensen and Mr. Duane Hill) to apologize and to seek advice. After lengthy discussions, the consensus was that there should be a public apology and explanation, which was done at this point, and Roger turned over control of the meeting to Vice Chair Jerry Romero. Jerry, in turn, made a statement in which he expressed his feeling that this was an honest mistake, made in the heat of the moment, during a hard-fought campaign, which focused on the real issues of the community. He hoped that this could be put behind us without dividing us further: with the new councilman-elect, we have many opportunities to move forward, and it would be a mistake to see this as other than it was. He then called for discussion. Ruth Robbins explained that several years ago; she had proposed a handbook which would have covered such situations and explained what was proper and improper. Unfortunately, that was never done, and had it been, this situation would probably never have occurred. She suggested that we should work· out something for the future and added further that the letter shouldn’t even have been ·sent over the signature of the SHCC chair. Jerry agreed with the merits of the suggestion, noting that when the by-laws.· were revised this kind of question had escaped everyone’s attention. He noted further that the SHCC is a private, non-profit organization and this error could cause not only SHCC but also SLACC to lose its non-profit status. The executive council should draft an article to cover such questions and, make a report in the December council. Jeff Chapman offered the opinion that it was the use of letterhead that was the real problem. Susan Crook suggested that two issues should be considered in writing a policy: ·one legal (i.e. non-profit organizations are not permitted to engage in political activity), and one ethical (i.e., that officers of the Community Council do not use their office to promote candidates). Hope Hilton said she was uncomfortable with not letting our leaders speak their minds, so she encouraged·Roger or any other officer to speak out; the mistake was in using the stationery. She felt that we should accept his apology and go forward. A motion was made by Miriam Murphy to I “forgive Roger his honest mistake, and that the executive committee of the council create a statement of ethics that the trustees might look at and vote on at a future meeting. Seconded. Discussion of the motion: Rawlins Young felt that the statement should make clear that·”the SHCC does not endorse candidates to distance ourselves from the action.” His suggestion was added to the motion. Vote: 14 in favor. None opposed. Jerry: “The motion passes: a vote of confidence in favor of the (new) chair, Roger Miller, and we will accept his apology and move on with business.” Dorothy Tuddenham added that most of the progress in the world is made after the first mistake and that we have all learned from this experience. Jerry agreed and hoped that we would all come together, move forward and support our chair. Roger thanked the council for its understanding and advice.Keith Christensen spoke briefly to thank the council and to express support for what goes on in SHCC to help the community. He said .he had no personal agenda but; would like to stay as close to the issues as possible and use whatever skills he possessed to improve our community. .He regretted the embarrassment to all concerned about the letter of support, offered, his apologies and reiterated his desire to serve. He remarked on the very hard-fought but amicable campaign and, noted the graciousness of Duane Hill in offering his services as might be useful. Keith closed by saying, “I hope you will use me and let me be your advocate to push through those things that we need to resolve.” He expressed appreciation for Don Hale, and hoped that he could represent District 7 as well as Don has., He noted that the improvements we want to see in Sugar House will need the support of the other councilmen, but that what is good for Sugar House is good for SLC. (applause.) Response from Don Hale, who expressed thanks to Keith and appreciation for each of the “three good men” who ran for the office. He noted that most of the items he would wish to address are agenda items and he would comment as they came up. He announced the .CDBG input .meeting, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. He stressed the “call for action on crime,” sponsored by the mayor and chief of police, . which will be held for our district at Highland High, Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. Don spoke highly of the chief of police and expressed confidence in his ability to lead during this important time. Dorothy passed around a sign-up sheet for those who especially want to receive information about the “call for action.”Announcement by Lisa Miller the Utah Heritage Foundation re historic homes tours in Sugar House, ·perhaps ,Westminster Hts. subdivision. Anyone interested in helping with the tour should contact the UHF. Lumi Bradford, probation officer of the 3rd District Juvenile Court, explained how work projects assigned to juvenile offenders help to rehabilitate the young people and repay victims. Offenders must pay their fines, then enter volunteer program; so, far no repeat-offenders. Works through Community Councils. which identify potential. work projects. A recent project resulted in the painting of the house of an 85-year-old. (Kids are hoping for a letter of commendation from Councilman Hale.) Several businesses have donated supplies and materials. Jeff Chapman asked whether juveniles who turn 18 are still held responsible. Answer: no age limit anymore.Chair announced that the Pace project and similar developments in Sugar House have been quashed by SLC. Officials are looking at more compatible uses for this site. Ruth Robbins explained her CDBG proposal for a neighborhood park on 9th East at 2876 South adjoining the Nibley Park school. Asked for support at the CDBG meeting on Dec. 8. Judi Short asked if it is now city property. 1: Answer: No, purchase price is what the grant is for.1 Chair explained status of Irving. Still trying to work out a suitable purchase price or trade. Issue of safety and upkeep of the property: continued fires, graffiti, stripping of equipment: Irving is perceived as a public nuisance and present owner should be required to do more, or else give up the property to the city for an acceptable price. John Mannos asked if there is anything that citizens could do? With the encouragement of Don Ha1e, a Petition was begun in the SHCC meeting, addressed to the SLC Council. Don will speak to the mayor and also address the problem in city council meeting. KOPE Kids have been active in working for their recreation center. Chair, in absence of Lynne Olson, explained that Alice Steiner thought it would be cheaper, and therefore more feasible to use land in one of the city parks to build such a center. Dale Chalmers said he didn’t think we should encourage the use of the city’s green space, of. which there I is already too little, to build upon. Jeff Chapman noted that the residents near the present Boys and Girls Club in Fairmont Park wou1d not look favorably on a new development there. Ruth Robbins recalled a struggle in the 1980s about removing open space for parking in Fairmont and urged that we continue to avoid all such encroachments. Jerry Romero said that he had presented a proposal on behalf of the KOPE Kids to the CDBG officials last month, and while opposed to green-space encroachment, noted that we do need additional recreational facilities, more than the Fairmont Park pool, which is only open for three months in the year. Encouraged the Hygeia property, which has a history for recreational use, including both the ice rink and a swimming pool. Ruth said there is a proposal by Gene Davis to put a bubble over the Fairmont Park pool. Rawlins Young suggested that in awarding the bid for the new Sugar House master plan, the RFP should stipulate the placement of a new recreational center. Hope Hilton wants the Olympic committee to be involved. Chair observed that the major problem is the cost of land; property values are escalating· almost out of reach. Chair reported that he had submitted a CDBG proposal to put substantial money ($2 Million) into the outright purchase of Irving, instead of spending the money to maintain the city’s infrastructure. (A subsequent letter from the city hall indicated that the proposal was denied without a hearing because such a large complex would benefit the entire region, rather i than the low and moderate-income residents of Sugarhouse.] Jack Simantob, a. local businessman and historic ,preservation advocate, explained the proposal. he had made for purchasing and using the Old Post Office for his personal headquarters and as a retail antique furniture and rug center. Mr. Simantob has an outstanding record for the rehaba1itation of the Felt Building downtown and is working on other historic properties. In the RFP for the Post Office, his proposal came in third, after McIntyre and the Artists Coalition. Simantob explained that his initial interest was simply to keep the building from being torn down. He wrote letters to senators, historical societies, etc., in that regard. He then responded to the RFP with his own use plan. He felt that the proposal was misunderstood as simply a retail carpet outlet; rather his idea was to establish an antique and high-end design facility similar to his facility in LA, which would attract discriminating buyers from the entire region. The right development of the Post Office would help to decide the quality of the development of the rest of the block. For example, Irving could become a decorating center, such as found in Denver, Dallas, New York, etc.- Everett Joyce, .a. member of the deciding committee, clarified several points: 1) The city is working with McIntyre . and Johansen-Thackeray, who were awarded the bid on the basis of their joint proposal; negotiations are continuing w/o deadline. They understand that demolition is not an option; 2) The decision was made on the basis of several considerations arising out of the initial concerns for the use of the building, and the committee judged the McIntyre proposal to be the best. Simantob: It is curious that McIntyre proposes not to be the primary tenant but to lease the building, and who knows what kind of tenant(s) they might attract. By contrast, I proposed to be the owner/occupant, with the obvious advantages to the preservation and upkeep of the building. My proposal is unique and would lend to the character of Sugar House. The proposal says the city reserves the right to· reconfigure the land use, with which I would cooperate, as well as to allow the placement of a police substation in the building. Don Hale said that as a member of the city council, he had been an advocate of Simantob’s proposal all along. He stated that the city council I had had no part in making the decision. As of now, the city will not acquire the building for at least ten more days. When the present difficulties .are ironed out, I would like to help you obtain the property because you are best able to handle the purchase and rehab. Dale Chalmers: “I find it ironic that the SHCC’s action was specifically to keep a developer like McIntyre from tearing the building down, and now we find that they are the group awarded the option. How can this be? If the city wants to sell it, we ought to have a say in what happens. Chalmers’ Motion: Write a letter to the Mayor requesting that, before any final sale, SHCC be allowed to accept or reject the proposal of the projected buyer. Second: Steve Lester. Discussion. Hope Hilton: Let the city sell to whom they will and then let us hear their proposal for what they want to do with it. Steve: On Sept. 4 I moved that SLC do three things: 1) Exercise the Option to purchase, 2) research the options concerning structural stability, financial feasibility for retrofitting to current standards, 3) review proposals from interested parties to assure long-term viability. We had dealt with McIntyre concerning grocery stores and drugstores, and each of their proposal has the Post Office being torn down. The executive committee met with Johansen-Thackeray and reviewed another plan, showing the P. O. in place, but with an access road at a strange angle. All those plans failed and we have heard nothing. And we are being cut out of the decision-making process. We should adhere to our original motion that we get a good, viable tenant for the long term. Jerry: I agree with both Dale and Steve. We want a more “artsy” community. I feel that we have not been kept abreast, that we are hearing about Mr. Simantob’s proposal now, after the other proposal has already been accepted. Rawlins Young: The Sugar House master plan contained an implementation strategy, which not only suggested that P.O. be preserved but that $350,000 be set aside to develop a community center. The idea was that the building be retained in public ownership and be used for such a purpose. Simantob: I wanted to buy it, .not for the economic value, but because of my interest in beautiful old things. If the city had ever contacted me about the proposal, which I had spent over a month and a half to prepare, they would have known that I was prepared to set the P.O. in tip-top shape before they sold me the building. Only when they agreed that everything was in order would the sale be complete. Miriam Murphy: I would like to go on record that it is outrageous .that all this seems to have taken place behind closed doors, and that it has been shoved down our throats. Chair: Then the motion needs to say three things: 1) that we are not happy about the closed nature of the proceedings~ 2) that the action of the committee in giving the option to McIntyre has accomplished the exact opposite of what we hoped, 3) that we would like to hear and have the opportunity to vote on all the proposals before any final decision is made. Steve and Dale: Let’s change the motion to read: 1) we support the action of SLC to purchase the building, 2) that no action be taken on the resale of the building without the support of the Community Council.Susan Crook discussed her ideas for the development of Sugar House Park. She has a degree in landscape architecture, specializing in low maintenance plants, with extensive experience in designing naturescapes using native and adaptive species. She would like to help in the implementation of such a scheme at Hillcrest Park, involving the churches, the school and the senior citizen’s housing people at Preston Place. Ruth Robbins: There is a twenty-year lease on the state property, and it can only be used for a park. Some ground belongs to the city. There has been some land trading with Redeemer Lutheran. Something needs to be done.There needs to be a tot lot and a sidewalk. Rawlins: We need to push for higher priority so we can get city money from the capital improvements budget. Ruth: We need an active neighborhood committee. Chair: A conversation with John Swain at the Parks Department indicated much interest and willingness to cooperate with any volunteer efforts that can be generated. There is now a concerted effort to do so.. We are looking for an excavation contractor to supply landfill for the berm; there is a regular contractor in the neighborhood who might be persuaded to connect the water main. The Parks Department will contour the landfill. Then, we will need all kinds of community effort. Both redeemer Lutheran and the Mormon church across the street are eager to help. Susan: Perhaps there might be some space for gardening. Chair: Mr. Swain suggested a cost of approximately $10,000. I asked whether, if we could get $5000 in donated services and volunteer labor, the city could manage the rest, and he felt there was a strong possibility that such a plan could work. Hope felt that the SUP monument was not out of place there, and that 300 people attended the dedication. Chair responded that the monument was appropriate but needed to be incorporated into the total landscape design. Susan said she would be happy to run with this project at the SHCC’s direction.Return to the motion re: the Post Office. Steve and Dale reworked the wording .of the motion as follows: I move that 1) the SHCC support SLC Corp. in the purchase of the Sugar House Post Office, 2) all proposals for use or sale be reviewed by the SHCC prior to public hearing, 3) SLC Corp. follow its own regulation 2.58.040 requiring a public hearing. Everett Joyce indicated that the City Council had approved CDBG money to acquire the property. They were aware of what was going on with that project. Steve: But that’s not the same as a public hearing, which should be held in the case of a property conveyance. Simantob: That’s only if the City Council requests it within 15 days of the time when the offer is accepted. Miriam offered a countermotion that the executive committee draft a letter to SLC Corp. explaining our feelings toward that we have heard about the project, especially that this happened without our being kept informed or having any subsequent input in the decision. Steve: A motion would be stronger, expressing the vote of the SHCC. Miriam: Perhaps both a letter and a motion, leaving the wording of the letter up to the executive committee. Miriam’s suggestion was added as an amendment and the motion was put to a vote which passed unanimously. Dale wanted to know the names of the people who made the decision so that we could have them come and explain, or that individuals could call and personally express their displeasure. Chair: We will find out the names of the members of the committee.Jeff Jonas from American Housing Corp. made a proposal for 27 condos to be built between the Wood Hollow apartments and I-80 west of Elizabeth Street, east of Forest Dale Golf Course. Project was altered to avoid a fault-line in the property. Six two-=story four-plexes plus one three-plex. Cost per unit would be $115 to $150 thousand. Jerry: How big is the piece of property? Jonas: A little over 2 and1/2 acres. Dorothy Tuddenham: Is this the same project we already approved? Jonas: No, this is scaled down from tee 36 units because of the earthquake fault. Ruth expressed concern that .it would be built up against the fence of the Elizabeth Sherman park. Jonas explained that there would be 50-60 feet between, to accommodate water access for the city of South SL, which entity will allow the planting of grass, but no fertilizers, etc. This has been worked out. Rawlins asked about street access. Jonas said that access had been worked negotiated with So. SL and Wood Hollow so there is adequate access. He said the property is under contract with the actual fee owners and that the purchase is in process. John Mannos thought it was a good development and made a motion to approve, seconded by Miriam. Discussion: Rawlins: If you don’t need a variance, why not just go ahead and build? Why come to the SHCC? Everett: Public access to property, planned-unit development, both require a hearing before the community council for planning commission and board of adjustment approval. Rawlins: I guess I don’t understand what we are approving. Jonas: The whole PUD process. Rawlins: This is just a conceptual plan. Will we get details? Several trustees explained that this is just preliminary to the developer going before the appropriate agencies for approval of all details and compliance with all regulations. Dorothy: Neighbors in the Forest Glen condos would welcome the development to make the area safer. Jerry concurred that Elizabeth Park would be safer, and that the access problem is minimal given other considerations. Dale asked if the variances had anything to do with trying to put too many units in the space. Jonas replied that legally there could be up to 50 units, so their scale of 27 sought to avoid that very problem. Question was called. The motion passed with one negative vote and one abstention.Bryson Garvet proposed a condo development at the site of the former U.S. West Service Center off Highland Drive and 27th South. He said they were to be done as condos but would probably be rented at first. There would be 54 two-story 1-3 bedroom units. The parking sheds built by the phone co. would remain in place. Jerry was concerned that there would be too many apartments for a healthy neighborhood. He would prefer them to be sold rather than rented, to avoid the transient aspect which has contributed to the decay of the neighborhood. Rawlins asked about the right-of-way owned by the city. It lends itself to public and private development to beautify that right-of-way. The property is also part of the Kimball-Richards subdivision which is under consideration as a historical district, and the development should reflect the architectural heritage and up-scale quality of the area. Rawlins questioned the appropriateness of keeping the parking sheds as carports. Garvet hoped he hadn’t left the impression that this would be low-budget. Rawlins said we needed elevations and architectural renderings, and not just outlines. Garvet noted that not everyone can afford to buy, and also that even condos can be rented. He said the units would rent between $600-800 dollars. Rawlins still wanted to be sure that the units fit into the overall character of the neighborhood. Ruth asked how much additional traffic would be thrown onto Highland Drive and 27th South: usually two cars per unit = 108 cars. Garvet noted that the zoning allowed for many more units, but only in one building. Downsizing and building multiple units required variances as far as set-backs, etc. The reason for needing SHCC approval was for that reason. The intent is to make this a nice project, and we will work with the SHCC to do that. Garvet showed some drawings, but they were not sufficient to allay the fears of some trustees. He said no height variances were required. He offered examples of several town-house developments his company had done and invited the trustees to examine them. Rawlins suggested that we develop a subcommittee to look into the idea before further action is taken. Judi felt that would be a waste of Mr. Garvet’s time. Rawlins was concerned that about the layout and how the public and private land would interact. Dale concurred. Jeff also. Hope motioned that we approve based on what he has said he wants to do. No second, so the motion failed. Chair expressed concern as well about the layout and asked for more detail. In view of the lateness of the hour action was deferred so that it could be dealt with more thoroughly at the next meeting. Mr. Garvet agreed to come back. Several trustees asked for specific addresses to check out. They were: 3800 So. at 900 East, 3500 So. at 550 East. Bicycle paths on 15thEast are too narrow. Proposal from the Bicycle committee of the city to widen the paths on a test basis. Motion to approve: Steve, seconded by Jerry. Brief discussion followed, expressing favor. Motion carried unanimously.One last item: Speed limit on 9th East to be lowered to 30 mph from 35 mph. On a test basis by city police. Passed unanimously.Vote to adjourn at 9:20 p.m.