Ballot Could be Used to Decide on Historic Districts

(KCPW News) Salt Lake City homeowners could soon have a more direct role in making decisions about preservation. The city council is expected to vote tomorrow on a proposal that would allow residents to vote on whether specific neighborhoods in the city should be designated as local historic districts. Councilwoman Jill Remington Love says every neighborhood in the city would be subject to the same process.

“A petition would be gathered by neighbors and they would have to have somewhere between 15 and 25 percent of their neighbors sign the petition, and it could be any geographic area, it could be two streets, it could be 1,400 homes, and turn it into the city,” she says. “That would trigger a discussion on whether or not to create a historic district in that geographical area.”

From there, a number of open houses and public hearings would be held with the planning commission before ballots are mailed out to everyone living in the proposed district.

“If 51 percent of the property owners wanted a historic district, the city council could choose to create one. If less than 51 percent want a historic district, it would take two-thirds of the city council to move ahead and create a historic district,” Love explains.

The city council has been under pressure to come up with a plan by next year, or else have state lawmakers intervene. The Utah Legislature enacted a second one-year moratorium on new historic districts in Salt Lake City earlier this year.