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The City Journals

South Salt Lake 2017—a year in review

Jan 01, 2018 08:05AM ● By Holly Vasic

Residents from South Salt Lake and West Valley City voice their displeasure regarding the homeless shelter selection sites at an open house meeting in March. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

From the homeless shelter to new businesses opening and the changing of the alcohol ordinance, SSLC government has had a busy year. The city has also put on some fun events they hope to continue in 2018. 

The Homeless Shelter

The homeless shelter was not something the majority of people wanted in their community. Social media posts from users saying why the shelter did not belong in their neighborhood ran rampant all over the valley. Residents posted signs on their lawns pleading for their city not to be chosen. In the end South Salt Lake was selected. 

District 3 Council Member Sharla Beverly reflected on this decision with a positive outlook. 

“I know that if any city can make this work, it is SSL. We are welcoming and compassionate as demonstrated by many of our Promise SSL programs that serve refugees.” Though, Beverly had many concerns like others including residents and business owners, she is determined to make sure promises are upheld and no financial burden will be placed on those in South Salt Lake. 

New Businesses

One of the most exciting new businesses to open this year was WinCo. Opening week was a hit, and the store was packed with shoppers. With Reams or Smith’s being the only options before for South Salt Lake shoppers, the opening of WinCo was relief to many. 

“I was surprised by my emotional response the first time I shopped in WinCo realizing I played a role in this development,” Beverly said. She was also excited for the Pie Pizzeria to open near 3300 South on 200 East. The patio at the pizzeria is a worthwhile dining experience, equipped with heaters to be enjoyed all year long. 

Alcohol Ordinance 

Council Member At-Large Johnny McConnell has been dreaming of a city with flourishing businesses and a brewery row—classy places to have a beer. He was able to see his vision become a reality before his time on city council ended. His term finished at the end of 2017, and he chose not to run again. His recommended changes in the city’s alcohol ordinance passed at the second to last council meeting on Dec. 6, 2017.

The pre-amended ordinance stated a brewery must have a five-barrel minimum to be in the city, when a license was transferred bars had to update their store fronts with multiple windows, and other specific updates had to be made in accordance with fire and safety codes not including the interior.

McConnell questioned the five-barrel minimum, recognizing that microbreweries or brewpubs just getting started may not yet have that many barrels, but as they grow their business they would be able to purchase more barrels and expand. One barrel produces 31 gallons of beer and a microbrewery is when 15,000 barrels or less are produced in a year; a brewpub means 25 percent of that is sold on site. 

“We struck the definition of five-barrel brew house, because later on, it’s intended to remove that minimum qualification from the breweries,” City Attorney Douglas Ahlstrom said at the council meeting when presenting the changes he had made in accordance with what was discussed in previous council meetings. 

Originally, the updates the council put in the ordinance at the time were meant to cause bar owners to make their businesses more presentable and to look better in the city. 

“A lot of the bars that they had were very run-down looking places that they wanted to make more attractive,” District 2’s council member Kevin Rapp explained at the Sept. 20, 2017 council meeting. The council agreed they still wanted more upscale bars and thus options are given instead of hard and fast rules. 

The amendments still states that when a bar is purchased and the license is transferred the building must be brought up to code and fire and safety standards by the licensee. This includes landscaping, accessibility, and pedestrian lighting in parking lots. The changes in Sub Section 4 say a new owner also has to select two out of four upgrades. Three of the four are from the old code which are: windows installed on 50 percent of the premises, architectural features on the building’s face, and video camera’s that keep at least 24 hours of recordings. 

Back in September when McConnell first presented the changes, he said, “As someone who has been to bars, I know the outside is not the important part. The inside is.” His suggestions were taken and renovating the inside in a clean attractive way was the last option. Ahlstrom said, “That would require a significant upgrade to the facility,” after reading off all of the choices. That is what the original ordinance was attempting to accomplish which now it can in a more affective way.   

McConnell was pleased with the amended alcohol ordinance, but it was not the highlight of being on city council. His favorite part was getting the opportunity to serve.

“It’s been an incredible experience getting to know our city,” McConnell said. 

2017 Events

From Huck Finn Day at Fitts Park and the Fourth of July Parade to Trick-or-Treating at City Hall and Breakfast with Santa at the Columbus Center, residents have had many ways to celebrate and have fun this last year. 

Beverly recalled her favorite being the brand new “Cool Summer Nights at Fitts Park” which involved food trucks, films and family-friendly activities. 

“If you missed it this year, make sure you check it out next year. We are starting new traditions,” Beverly said. 

Council Member for District 4, Portia Mila, attended the Breakfast at Santa event and said, “It was a great, well-attended event. Thank you to all the city staff that put that on.”