Salt Lake residents urge city council action to curb ‘slot housing’

Slot homes have garnered controversy in other places around the country, and now in Salt Lake City, where the city council may have discussions with developers about the design. (Photo: KUTV) <p>{/p}

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Liberty Wells neighborhood resident Jeff Bair understands high density housing is the future for Salt Lake City, and he’s OK with it.

"I believe that’s how we’re going to address affordability and a shortage of housing," he said.

But his understanding has a limit.

Slot homes have garnered controversy in other places around the country, and now in Salt Lake City, where the city council may have discussions with developers about the design. (Photo: KUTV)

"So the one home was removed and this was put in its place," he said. "It’s eight units."

A "slot home" by design, the new addition to his neighborhood is a three-story structure that sits perpendicular to the street. It has a door on the front facade, but neighbors say it still has the look of a building that’s sideways.

Slot homes have garnered controversy in other places around the country, and now in Salt Lake City, where the city council may have discussions with developers about the design. (Photo: KUTV)

It’s a white stucco building in a neighborhood that is predominantly comprised of older, single-story brick houses.

"There’s a way it can be done to better engage the community and the neighborhoods," Bair said.

Slot homes have garnered controversy in other places around the country.

Slot homes have garnered controversy in other places around the country, and now in Salt Lake City, where the city council may have discussions with developers about the design. (Photo: KUTV)

The city of Denver in 2018 placed a moratorium on new construction of slot homes after a public outcry. Neighbors didn’t like developers raising enormous buildings on small lots in old neighborhoods. The sideways feature wasn’t popular either.

"It should be inviting," Bair said. "Architecturally interesting, or at least cohesive with the neighborhood."

Depending on the size of the lot, some slot developments have multiple rows of connected town homes with a narrow driveway in between, allowing access to garage spaces, typically placed on the bottom floor.

Slot homes have garnered controversy in other places around the country, and now in Salt Lake City, where the city council may have discussions with developers about the design. (Photo: KUTV)

Eventually, Denver arrived at a compromise plan that allowed for continued building that was more friendly to neighbors.

Bair has petitioned the Salt Lake City Council to consider a similar plan. District five’s Erin Mendenhall isn’t opposed to the conversation.

"There is some benefit to us increasing density," she said. "But the way we increase density really matters to our communities; how those buildings fit into our communities matters."

Slot homes have garnered controversy in other places around the country, and now in Salt Lake City, where the city council may have discussions with developers about the design. (Photo: KUTV)

Several developers contacted for this story either didn’t return calls or didn’t wish to appear on camera, but they offered a variety of reasons for the design.

The lot organization is an efficient use of the space, they said, and is more attractive than large apartment living for many consumers.

Slot homes have garnered controversy in other places around the country, and now in Salt Lake City, where the city council may have discussions with developers about the design. (Photo: KUTV)

The town home model offers more people an opportunity to stay within a short distance of work, family and other points of interest at an affordable price.

Young couples in recent years have had to leave cities for suburbs because of the skyrocketing cost of traditional single-family homes with large yards, so demand is strong.

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