To understand how the Community Council makes its recommendations, and the City Planning Commission makes its decision about a development project, let’s talk about how Land Use in Salt Lake City works.  First, members of the community write a master plan, which is a long process where we meet with citizens of the area and talk about the kind of community they want to see, and where.  In Sugar House, the current plan was updated in 2005; there were several master plans that preceded our current one.  We had citizens, business owners, and people who work in Sugar House but don’t live here, on each of about five committees.  We met twice a month for several years.  We had Salt Lake City staff who eventually wrote the plan, and that included sections on residential, commercial, parks and Open Space, transportation and mobility, with a Future Land Use Map and an Urban Design element.  Here is the Sugar House Master Plan 2005.  (Open this in Adobe Acrobat, and zoom in to make it easier to read).

This document has a map in it, which indicates the zoning of all the parcels in Sugar House at that time.  Over time, there are modifications, when someone applies for a rezone for one reason or another. There is a map on line that shows the current zoning.

Along with the master plan (and there are others representing the various areas of Salt Lake City), we have a zoning ordinance, which describes each of the various zones, and what the allowed uses are for that zone.  As an example, the CB zone is for moderately sized commercial areas with adjacent residential neighborhoods. The lot size and building size is specified for each zone, along with setbacks required on the various sides of the building. There are other regulations, such as the maximum building height and size allowed.  There may be other descriptions, such as the first floor facing a street must have a certain percent of glass, with one operating door. Or the building has to be set back from the street a maximum of 15’.  Also in the zoning ordinance is a use table, which states the allowed uses for buildings in a specific zone. In the CB zone, permitted uses can be a veterinary office, art gallery, bed and breakfast, medical clinic, daycare center, etc. There is a huge table of definitions, so that someone reading the requirements in a specific zone can be clear when it refers to Cemetery, or Certificate of Occupancy, Dwelling, or Landscape Buffer.

Over time, a master plan directs the development of a neighborhood, or city.  In Sugar House, the downtown area is CSHBD1 and 2, (Commercial Sugar House Business District 1 or 2.)  That area is generally along 2100 South up to near 800 East, and 1100 East/Highland Drive from south of the Post Office to I-80. Zone CSHBD1 can go up to 105 feet.  Zone 2 can go up to 60 feet. Both zones require residential units above the first floor— otherwise their height limit is 30’.

Fast forward to 2022 and the old Sizzler parcel, now proposed to be a KUM and GO at 2111 South 1300 East.  We don’t have complete records, but we can see from the Sanborn Maps that the corner of 2100 South and 1300 East shows a gas station on all four corners.  Remember, 2100 South was the old Lincoln Highway, before we had Interstate Highways.

We do not know why the parcel at 2111 S 1300 East was not folded into Sugar House Park in about 1955 when old State Prison closed and the park was formed. Sanborn maps show us that there were several other businesses along 1300 East.    We do not know exactly when Sizzler’s replaced the gas station.  Sizzler’s parcel was zoned CB.  Remember, there was a point in time where we did not have zoning for parcels, we cannot trace who or why gave it the designation CB.  It makes no sense to us now, it looks like it should have been part of the park all along.

Now it is 2022, and the owner has been trying to sell the parcel. Several developers came to SHCC and wondered what the community wanted for this parcel, so we asked. They wanted to develop housing, but because the cost of the land was so high, the developers had to ask for a rezone to permit greater height/more units, so they could pay for the cost of the land over time.   I had some 380 comments from the public.  Utah law says the owner of a parcel can determine the use of that parcel, as long as it fits into the zoning code.  Someone who doesn’t own the parcel cannot determine what the use should be.

Today, we have a specific proposal for a Kum and Go Gas Station on this parcel.  The question no longer is “What do we want.” Now, as a Recognized Organization of Salt Lake City Corporation, we have 45 days to respond to the request for a conditional use.  The developers have been at our Land Use and Zoning Committee (LUZ) several times, the last one was September 19.  Read the Conditional Use Criteria of the that Notice document we received from the City.  Note that a “gas station” use is a conditional use in the CB zone and therefore must be approved by the Planning Commission.  Our job now is to make a determination of detrimental effects listed in the Conditional Use Criteria.  We can only comment on whether the use is compliant with these standards. Not ” Is this the right use for this parcel?”  Not “This should be a restaurant, or a lot for food trucks; or housing or not any housing, we have enough; or a nice restaurant.” Or, “We are very concerned that this proposal could damage the earthen dam built under 1300 East, coming out of Sugar House Park to protect our neighborhood from a big flood like we have had before.” Rather, ask the Planning Commission to consider ” Is the use compliant with the character of the site; does selling diesel make it a condition they cannot mediate because the trucks that use diesel are too large to enter the parcel as it is now designed?  Does the need meet City sustainability plans, and if not, why not?”

We have learned that after our September 19 meeting, the petitioner plans to make more changes to the plans.  We hope to get the plans and put them on our website.  In the meantime, we need comments from you that address the Notice Document.  Anything else won’t help our cause.  Read the conditional use criteria carefully. Does the project meet City sustainability plans; does it impact the quality of surrounding air and water or encroach into a river or stream or introduce any hazard or environmental damage to adjacent property; or anything else in the long list.

As soon as I get the latest plans, I will post them on our website.  Thank you for your help. The city just told us that because the developer will be making more changes, since our September 19 meeting, this will not be on the Planning Commission agenda until November or December.

Please use the form to make comments.   Read the fourth paragraph on this link “For comments to be effective…” before you write your comments.  Address the issues described.

Notice the photo above.  This shows the Sego Lily in Sugar House park, and the trail going under 13th East.  The earthen dam is just north of the trail under ground.


If you read my reports, you know that the city has been working on a whole slew of Zoning Text Amendments related to housing, to try to address the housing shortage we have in the city.  In the next few weeks, they will be having a public hearing on, and voting on shortly thereafter – Off Street Parking ordinance, RMF 30, and Shared Housing -formerly known as SRO’s or single room occupancy. The rest of the housing ordinances will be coming soon.

You can send an email to and share your concerns. Please send me a copy.  You can also speak at the City Council public hearings for these items.  I will try to remember to post those on our FB page as we learn the dates so you can put them on your calendar.  They are always on a Tuesday night, starting at 5:30.

Wednesday, August 28, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on two Sugar House ADUs.  One at 1726 E Hollywood Avenue and one at 535 E Division Lane. You can follow my links to read the staff report and the letter I wrote to the Planning Commission. Here is a link to the agenda where you can find instructions to attend the meeting, or watch it remotely.  You can attend and speak to the item in person, or send an email to the planner for each proposal. I believe they will be read at the meeting.

The next Land Use meeting will be October 17 at 6 p.m.  No idea what will be on the agenda.

Judi Short