OGDEN -- After months of lengthy study, the city council unanimously agreed Tuesday night to stretch height limits from 45 feet to 55 feet for new buildings on Historic 25th Street.
The height ordinance amendment requested by the Historic 25th Street Business Association also includes a provision for rooftop additions.
The main purpose of the amendment is to allow four-story buildings to be constructed on some of the 11 vacant lots on the street, said Steve Conlin, president of the Historic 25th Street Business Association.
Jennifer Jessen, owner of IndigoSage Galleries, 195 Historic 25th St., urged the council to approve the ordinance amendment to help merchants succeed.
"We need to have a full, lively, vibrant street," she said.
Kirk Huffaker, executive director of Utah Heritage Foundation, said that while the height amendment has some benefits, the city hasn't provided enough hard data to show it would have a significant economic impact on Historic 25th Street.
Mayor Matthew Godfrey described some of Huffaker's comments as ridiculous and derided a suggestion that the city should work more closely with Historic 25th Street businesses to help them prosper. Godfrey said the municipality is already doing that.
"You think we don't do this day in and day out and that we have never done this before?" Godfrey asked Huffaker. "Give me a break."
The amendment provides a good compromise in protecting the character of Historic 25th Street while also increasing economic development, said City Council Chairwoman Caitlin K. Gochnour.
The amendment includes a provision that prohibits existing buildings on 25th Street from being increased in height through rooftop additions or additional stories unless:
* Documentation is presented establishing that additional height is within the limits of the building's historical construction.
* The addition is not visible from the front of the building or from the sidewalk on the same side of the street or across the street.
Height restrictions within the 25th Street Historic District have been in place since 1989 and are aimed at keeping buildings in scale with existing structures.
Union Station, which stands 58 feet tall, and a building at 115 25th St., which is 50 feet tall, were built before the restrictions were put in place.
The restrictions don't apply to towers, such as the Times Square building at the southwest corner of Lincoln Avenue and 25th Street.