Local Government
8:57 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

Outgoing SLC Council Members Talk District Issues

Several Salt Lake City Council seats are up for grabs this year and three council members are retiring. Primary election day is this Tuesday. 

Councilman Carlton Christensen has represented much of Salt Lake City’s northwest quadrant for 16 years. District one includes areas like Rose Park, Jordan Meadows and the Salt Lake International airport. Six candidates are vying for Christensen’s seat. That’s more than any other district.

Christensen says in recent years, crime is down and home prices are up. The Salt Lake City council set aside money this year to focus on commercial development in the area, which Christensen says is a continuous struggle.

“The hardest part about it is, we’re on the edge of a bunch of difference market circles, so we’re kind of a captive audience," Christensen says.

Councilwoman Jill Remington Love has represented district five for twelve years. That includes neighborhoods east, south and west of Liberty Park. Three candidates are on the primary ballot for her district.

Love is proud of thriving business areas in her district, including 9th and 9th and 15th and 15th. But she says her constituents have mixed feelings about new bike lanes going into neighborhoods.

The city recently passed an ordinance outlining how a neighborhood can become a historic district. Love says tension still exists between preservation and property rights.

“How do we as a city address compatibility?" Love says. "Is the house the right size for the lot? Does it fit in with the character of the neighborhood? If you’re not in a historic district or not using some of these new tools that we’ve put in place, there is still a lot of concern that these houses are too big for the lots.”

Councilman Soren Simonsen has represented District 7 in Salt Lake City for eight years. District seven includes Sugar House, east to about Foothill Drive.  Five candidates are running for his seat. The area has seen a number of private and public investments over the past few years including several new condos and retail stores, but eyes have more recently turned to the Sugar House Streetcar line.  Simonsen says while the council decided where the line will go, it will be in part, up to his successor to determine how to pay for it.

 “Even while the city continues to look at Federal funding opportunities, federal money only provides a portion of the funding and coming up with the local match; I think that will be a huge challenge," Simonsen says.

In district three, which includes most of the Avenues and Capitol Hill, Councilman Stan Penfold is up for re-election. He’s facing two challengers. The primary election will narrow candidates down to two for each district. The general election is November 5th.