It’s been one 12 months for the reason that final residents of a small Salt Lake Metropolis group referred to as “Hobbitville” left behind their eclectic neighborhood, which confronted an unsure future after the dying of its proprietor and landlord.
Within the months since, close by Sugar Home residents have watched guardedly to see what would come subsequent for Allen Park, positioned throughout the road from Westminster Faculty on 1300 East in a first-rate location for actual property improvement.
On Monday, they received their first style of the potential modifications to come back at a group enter assembly with the crew that’s anticipated to develop the roughly 7-acre website. However amid considerations about visitors, inadequate parking and the lack of mature timber, neighbors aren’t but bought on the proposal, which calls for roughly 60 single and multifamily items.
“Many people are questioning what your plan is,” Salt Lake Metropolis resident Anne Cannon advised builders throughout a two-hour assembly hosted by the Sugar Home Group Council, throughout which almost each resident who spoke raised dissent. As soon as the buildings are constructed “on this very valuable hall throughout the metropolis,” she mentioned, it can “by no means be restored.”
The proposed dwellings equate to about 7.5 items per acre total and would vary in measurement from 1,000 sq. ft to about 2,500 sq. ft, the event crew mentioned Monday. The location’s zoning permits for even higher density than that, however developer Rinaldo Hunt mentioned the crew needs to construct for the “lacking center,” referring to a spectrum of multidwelling or clustered housing sorts which are normally geared toward assembly demand for a extra pedestrian-oriented type of metropolis dwelling.
“We really feel that this particular rendition … is suitable to maintain the texture, the look and the general aptitude of what Allen Park is at present,” he advised neighbors on the assembly.
The developer declined to speak to The Salt Lake Tribune concerning the proposal he offered Monday night time, noting that he would have extra particulars in a couple of weeks. The assembly with residents, he mentioned, was merely an effort to obtain suggestions and get the group concerned within the course of.
On the assembly, he and different members of the event crew careworn that their plans are preliminary and famous that the property hasn’t formally bought — although he mentioned they anticipate to shut the deal in a “comparatively brief period of time.”
Allen Park was established as a chook sanctuary within the 1930s by George Allen, a surgeon who served as president of the Sugar Home Businessmen’s League and the Salt Lake Zoological Society. He additionally was instrumental within the improvement of Hogle Zoo and Tracy Aviary.
Till not too long ago, the world served as a personal refuge for residents from a rising metropolis — although they typically needed to deal with teams of highschool and faculty college students who would drive via on the weekends, honking their horns and infrequently damaging property as they seemed for the dwarfs rumored to stay within the space that gave the group its nickname.
Final January, the tenants were ordered to leave after it grew to become a value and legal responsibility to proceed housing them, given the neighborhood’s crumbling state and bills to repair it that far outpaced rental income.
As the event crew prepares to provide the positioning a brand new life, it faces a number of challenges in development — together with a riparian hall that takes up roughly half the developable land space, steep hills on the east finish of the property and neighbors who’re exhausted by the rapid addition of high-density development in their community.
The developer additionally has historic preservation to contemplate. The location comprises 30 examples of paintings, together with mosaic tiles and ornamental concrete parts; 16 buildings, some courting again to the 1930s; a number of fountains and a household swimming pool; 18 pillars, some with mosaic panels, others that provide instructions and a few which have their very own lighting programs; and 14 constructions, together with chook cages and an arch, in line with preservation mission advisor Kirk Huffaker, former govt director of Preservation Utah.
The event crew was hesitant to make any guarantees on the assembly about what may very well be preserved with new development however mentioned it might save as a lot as potential and famous alternatives to renovate a few of the present parts into livable items.
There’s a selected curiosity, Huffaker mentioned, in saving the primary log cabin home, which is in respectable situation however would possible nonetheless want a “full renovation from the bottom up.”
However as they face the lack of a considerable quantity of inexperienced house that for years has existed nearly of their backyards, some residents mentioned that didn’t really feel like sufficient.
“You talked a little bit about Dr. Allen and [saving] the constructions however that was by no means Dr. Allen’s legacy,” mentioned Sugar Home resident Jen Greyson, who lives on close by Downington Avenue. “He was the zoo. He was the aviary. He was nature. And also you’re speaking about placating us by conserving three constructions? That wasn’t Dr. Allen’s legacy. His legacy was the character that’s in there.”
Residents additionally voiced considerations about elevated visitors because of the event and insufficient parking throughout the website plans. They already typically combat with college students from Westminster Faculty for parking close to their houses and fear the addition of 60 items with one-car garages every would make that even worse.
The event crew mentioned it deliberate to conduct a visitors examine and would guarantee satisfactory visitor parking as a part of the proposal. It additionally promised to think about considerations concerning the lack of mature timber and chook habitat in addition to public entry to Emigration Creek, which runs via the property.
“Fifty % of your entire website will kind of be a group asset, an avian sort focal point or sanctuary, consistent with the unique spirit and fantastic thing about what Allen Park was in 1931 and what that authentic imaginative and prescient was based mostly on,” Hunt advised neighbors, referring to the nondevelopable riparian space. “So simply maintain that in thoughts as you’re speaking about elements of the entire.”
In that spirit, Hunt famous that he’s in talks with Tracy Aviary to conduct a chook survey on the website and with Salt Lake Metropolis to probably join Allen Park to a broader strolling path.
Tim Brown, president and CEO of Tracy Aviary, mentioned the group doesn’t have a proper relationship or settlement with the developer however confirmed these discussions have taken place.
Ideally, he mentioned, Allen Park could be preserved as open house. However “if it’s going to get developed, the following best choice is that it will get developed in a manner that preserves as a lot habitat as potential,” he mentioned.
“The developer, I believe, has a possibility to do one thing actually distinctive by preserving that in a chook refuge form of manner and taking motion that will assist that,” Brown continued. “So we’ll see, however we’re optimistic.”