Salt Lake City residents speak out against warehouse district in Northpoint

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City’s Northpoint is a residential, agricultural piece of land just to the northeast of the airport.

“From an ecological standpoint, this is a very important area,” said Deeda Seed, a volunteer with Stop the Polluting Port Coalition.

All of the lands could be in danger if the city decides to turn Northpoint into a warehouse district, she said.

“If those wetlands over there cease to be functional, we could lose entire populations of certain bird species,” said Seed.

City planners have drafted plans for the Northpoint Small Area to be rezoned and were considering one developer’s Zoning Map Amendment to change one 14-acre piece of the bigger area during a Planning Commission meeting Wednesday night.

“Now that we’re starting to get some more development pressure, in not just that area but all over the city for different types of uses, there are some property owners who wanted to push for transitioning their agricultural lands to other use,” said Nic Norris, Planning Director for Salt Lake City.

The Zoning Map Amendment would rezone the land from “agricultural” to “light manufacturing.” Opponents argued the development would not only harm residents but the Great Salt Lake too.

“They are very polluting, and they cause traffic congestion and destruction of roads,” said Seed. “All of the communities in this area will be affected by diesel pollution.”

Dozens of salt lake city residents spoke out in opposition to the warehouse district at Wednesday’s meeting. The city doesn’t want to disrupt the fragile ecosystem of the area though, said Norris.

“I don’t think that, at least the Planning Division or the city as a whole, wants to see it just be a warehousing and distribution area, right? We don’t want that to happen,” he said. “Part of the things that we need to figure out as a city is how can we do that and to support the better jobs.”

The decision is in the hands of Salt Lake City’s government, but its impact will be felt throughout the state.

“We’re really at a critical point,” said Seed. “What happens, the decisions that are made in the next few years, are going to tell the story or whether we even have the Great Salt Lake.”

The Planning Commission decided to table the Zoning Map Amendment decision until City Council finalizes its Northpoint Plan.

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