Updated Draft Ordinance

Attached is an updated draft ordinance please click here to review the updated draft. This draft intends to address concerns expressed by the community thus far in our revision and outreach process.

There have been two key points of concern expressed thus far:

First Issue: Under the section 2.60.06, Responsibilities of Community Organizations, it was noted that there is a responsibility to make a reasonable attempt to notify members of the community within the geographic boundary. The concerns expressed were that there is not a clear understanding of “reasonable” and often organizations don’t have financial resources to prepare formal or direct noticing.

To address this concern we have shifted this responsibility to the City and the draft ordinance reflects this change. In the future the City will notify the public through newsletters, utility inserts and by other means to notify and educate the general public about registered community based organizations.

Draft Replacement Language: In an effort to notify the public about the existence of community based organizations and encourage participation in these organizations, at least once a year the City shall make a reasonable attempt to provide a list of all community based organizations and their contact information to all residents, property owners, business owners, schools and non-profit agencies in Salt Lake City.

Second Issue: The second issue is a bit more complicated. There was some confusion about the intention of the ordinance and the impression that the City was looking to remove community based organizations from public engagement opportunities on impactful land use decisions. There are two aspects to this process which our existing ordinance does not make a clear distinction of and operationally is problematic. The first relates to what is required by ordinance.  The second relates to what has been our policy and procedures for such requests.

A. The following are sections of existing code that are proposed to be eliminated followed by the reasons for the proposed elimination.

Zoning Ordinance Section 21A.10.010.B – Application Requirements: Consultation With Neighborhood Organizations: In order for an application to be determined complete, the applicant must include, when required by title 2, chapter 2.62 of this code, a signed statement from the appropriate neighborhood organization that the applicant has met with that organization and explained the development proposal for which approval is being sought. The signed statement shall be on a form provided by the zoning administrator. 

Zoning Ordinance Section 21A.54.060.A.8- Conditional Use Application Requirements: A signed statement that the applicant has met with and explained the proposed conditional use to the appropriate neighborhood organization entitled to receive notice pursuant to title 2, chapter 2.62 of this code.

This language was included in the Zoning Ordinance as part of the Zoning Rewrite Project in 1995 to ensure outreach to the community councils prior to scheduling a matter with the Planning Commission for those types of applications that require early notification of the public (conditional uses, planned developments, zoning changes, master plan changes and alley vacations).

Requiring an applicant to obtain written confirmation from a neighborhood organization PRIOR TO APPLYING TO THE CITY means that the non-governmnetal organization has the authority to control when someone can apply for something from the City.  This language basically delegates a government function to a non-government entitiy which is not legal.

Therefore, we have not followed this standard but have instead developed internal policy to ensure the intent of this standard is followed.  The internal policy requires that we notify the applicable community council when we receive one of the types of applications listed above and give them the choice of having the matter presented to them.  We have also included a 45 day turnaround timeframe by the community organization which allows time for the organization to place it on an upcoming monthly meeting agenda and return any written comments before we will schedule the matter with the decision making body (usually the Planning Commission). We have also instituted public open houses to obtain public input where the project may impact the boundaries of more than one community council or is a City-wide matter- such as a text amendment.      We will continue to follow these policies for obtaining public input but are of the opinion that the language in the ordinance should be deleted for legal reasons as noted above.


A. Recognized and registered organizations are encouraged to make recommendations concerning matters of which they are given notice pursuant to this chapter. In making such recommendations the spokesperson for the organization shall specify the following: 1. The nature of the meeting at which the organization’s recommendation was obtained (i.e., executive committee, board, general membership, or otherwise); 2. The notice procedure for the meeting at which such recommendation was made; 3. The vote on such recommendation; 4. Any dissenting reports.

B.  The Salt Lake City planning division staff shall encourage all zoning petition, planned development and/or conditional use applicants to meet with affected recognized organizations to discuss and receive input on the petition or application proposal prior to scheduling the matter for consideration by the planning commission. A report of the discussions with the affected recognized organizations and the applicant shall be contained in the planning commission staff report.

C. The mayor may, by executive order, establish certain classes of applications which can be delayed for additional consideration by organizations recognized pursuant to subsection 2.60.020C of this title or its successor. Upon request of the chairperson or authorized designee of such organization given in writing, prior to the meeting at which the application is to be considered, the city body considering the application shall continue the application for a period not to exceed four (4) weeks from the first meeting such application is heard to allow the recognized organization to consider the application at its own meeting. The mayor or the mayor’s designee may notify the considering body that immediate action is necessary for the best interests of the city, in which case a request for delay shall not be granted. (Ord. 23-10 § 24, 2010: Ord. 64-90 § 1, 1990)

The draft language we are proposing to replace these sections is intended to broaden the expectation of engagement by other Divisions and Departments within the City. In other words, not only will the Planning Division continue to notify and engage public comment but other Division, such as the Transportation Division, Parks Division and Public Utilities Departments will have a formal process of engagement as well.  The City has made a concerted effort to become more inclusive, engaging and transparent in our processes.  The new language intends to support these ideals.

Draft Replacement language: The City Departments shall develop policies and procedures to show how they will provide notice and early participation opportunities for pending major city actions.  These include but are not limited to public meetings, development projects, planning activities, grant and funding opportunities, which may have a significant impact on the membership of a registered community organization.  Notice shall be given to affected community based organizations in a timely manner, including information on the timeframe for a response.

At this time, we will continue to receive public comments on the proposed draft ordinance. We have tentatively scheduled a Planning Commission public hearing on November 14, 2012.

We are also working with other divisions and departments to develop policies and procedures for public engagement with various types of projects they work on.  .

Please feel free to comment here on the post, go to our Open City Hall Topic to see what others are saying or contact me directly at nolewalkingshaw@slcgov.com.

Thank you for taking the time to review this information.

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4 Responses to Updated Draft Ordinance

  1. Larry Streadbeck says:

    Is the original Ordinance (No. 63 of 1990) still in effect? I notice that it is not referenced in the new DRAFT. There are some interesting “guiding principles” in the ordinance that are worth reiterating, such as: “the Mayor and the City Council are encouraged to schedule regular meetings with recognized ( ) organizations”, “the Mayor and the City Council intend to provide through the City’s budget process for reasonable assistance to such ( ) organizations” and ” ( ) organizations are encouraged to assist the City agencies in determining priority needs of ( ) including master planning and ordinances”.

  2. Patrice Schulze says:

    The notification requirement of 12 calendar days is unreasonable for community councils. Taking out weekends, this gives us just 8 days to consider the implications of a proposed zoning issue, organize a meeting of our council or trustees and formulate a neighborhood response. We need at least 30 days to create a thoughtful response. This change to the ordinance is reducing our ability to be heard on matters that may materially affect our neighborhoods.

    • Patrice,

      Thank you for the comments the 12 days you are referring to is actually 10 days in most instances and that is for notice to a public hearing. The 45 days we had been using for complex land-use applications was based upon a division policy not ordinance. We are not changing that policy. The new ordinance draft requires the various division of the City that work with the community to establish policies and procedures for engagement, such that the community remains involved in the process. The Planning Division is currently working on our policies and will share it with other divisions to be used as a template.

      Proposed language “The City Departments shall develop policies and procedures to show how they will provide notice and early participation opportunities for pending major city actions. These include but are not limited to public meetings, development projects, planning activities, grant and funding opportunities, which may have a significant impact on the membership of a registered community organization. Notice shall be given to affected community based organizations in a timely manner, including information on the time frame for a response.”

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