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Opponents of inland port call for construction to stop on land within port boundaries

(Photo: Colter Peterson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Shut the construction down.  That’s what environmentalists are asking for regarding new warehouses that are set to be built within the boundaries in the proposed inland port.

As you look over the open land near 700 North by 6200 West, you can see some of the dirt has been dug up.

“They’ve been leveling off the land, here.  They’re preparing to pour cement,” according to Deeda Seed with the Center for Biological Diversity.

This particular parcel is not technically part of the state-run inland port.  This technically falls under Salt Lake City’s jurisdiction, even though it’s within the port boundaries.  That’s why environmentalists are calling on the city to prevent any more construction on that property until more environmental impact studies are completed.

Seed says, “Whatever they’ve done, it doesn’t rise to any kind of landscaped level of water quality preservation analysis.”

She says all of the warehouses connected to the port will have roughly 2,000 truck bays, and all of that traffic will have a serious impact on air and water quality.  Plus, they say there are 10 million migratory birds that nest in the area every year.

“Salt Lake City needs to step up and explain how they’re being careful with this,” Seed says.

City officials finalized a deal last August that would give up to $28 million tax reimbursements to developers over 20 years, if they generate enough revenue.  However, city leaders say the land is still privately owned, and, as warehouses fall under current “light manufacturing” zoning regulations.  Plus, there are environmental requirements developers have to follow within those rules.  If the land owner wanted to go past those regulations, the developers would have to submit an environmental protection plan.