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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Salt Lake City Council Approves Fleet Block Rezone

Several members of the public expressed frustration with the Council and their approach to the rezone. 
The+Fleet+Block+Murals%2C+which+depcit+victims+of+police+brutality%2C+along+industrial+buildings+on+300+West+in+Salt+Lake+City+on+Oct.+6%2C+2023.+%28Photo+by+Minh+Polaris+Vuong+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Minh Vuong
The Fleet Block Murals, which depcit victims of police brutality, along industrial buildings on 300 West in Salt Lake City on Oct. 6, 2023. (Photo by Minh “Polaris” Vuong | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

On Dec. 5, the Salt Lake City Council voted to approve a rezone for the Fleet Block to a Form-Based Mixed Use Zone.  

Fleet Block, which is located in the Granary District, is currently home to over 20 murals depicting victims of police brutality. The space has served as a place of mourning and education since they started going up in 2020

The rezone has been studied and discussed by the city since 2020. On Sept. 5 of this year, the City Council held a public hearing for the rezone. Several members of the public expressed frustration with the Council and their approach to the rezone. 

“It’s clear that the families are not being listened to,” Ilana Raskind said in the meeting. 

Speakers expressed the need for a mandatory community center and a green space in future development plans for the block. They emphasized that this block should aim to serve members of the communities that surround it. 

Form-Based zoning does not determine the use of buildings in the zone, only what the buildings will look like. According to the Fleet Block Rezone’s webpage, now that Fleet Block has been rezoned the use of buildings in the block can be determined. 

“The City will begin a public process, which includes working with the community to determine the design and future use of the property,” the webpage says.

Rezone is Approved

In addition to approving the rezone for Fleet Block, the City Council added an ordinance to establish a public square on the southeast corner of the block. The square will contain just under three acres of land. 

“The administration worked for many, many months to incorporate the vision of the community on this square, to meet all of these desires and to also bring a public good to the community,” Councilmember Alejandro Puy said before the Council voted on the proposal. 

The Council passed the ordinance for a rezone and public square unanimously. Afterward, during the general comments portion of the meeting, several people commented on the rezone. 

“Those proposals do not include a definite commitment to ensuring that the block’s future use supports community needs,” Levi Woodruff said to the Council. “That space could and should be used to help those residents who are struggling with high costs of housing and food.”

Raskind said in the meeting that there haven’t been any good faith efforts to address the concerns raised by community members, “particularly the family members and loved ones of the individuals who are memorialized on the murals.” 

Rae Duckworth, operating chairperson of the Black Lives Matter Utah Chapter, whose cousin, Bobby Duckworth, is depicted in the murals, also spoke at the meeting. 

A Disappointing Decision 

Duckworth criticized the way Mayor Mendenhall has talked about Fleet Block and her approach to policing in Salt Lake. In her current position, Duckworth said, she knows she won’t be able to afford the housing the rezone makes way for on Fleet Block. 

In an Instagram post that Duckworth shared after the vote, she said she received an email about the rezone and murals from Mendenhall. 

“[Mendenhall] explains the depictions of the murals are ‘negative interactions with police,’” Duckworth says in the post. “What is negative about those beautiful faces, of people we love and cared for. Who we terribly miss. Our pain is a negative image to her.”

 

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@JosiHinds

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About the Contributors
Josi Hinds, Arts Writer
Josi Hinds is in her second year at the University of Utah, majoring in communications with a minor in both gender studies and Spanish (for now). She grew up in Bozeman, Montana, and moved to Salt Lake in hopes of venturing out in the world and meeting new people. She joined the Chronicle out of a love for writing and meeting new people, and she hopes to share stories that broaden both her and others' perspective on the world
Minh Vuong, Photographer
(he/him) Minh (Polaris) began as a photographer at The Daily Utah Chronicles in Fall 2023. Born and raised in Vietnam, Minh is now pursuing his degree in Quantitative Analysis of Markets and Organizations, with a minor in Photography. When not being held prisoner with deadlines, you can find him wandering around with his camera, or in overpriced café shops editing photos. He is an art, nature, and cat enthusiast.

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