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Legislation Would Loosen Zoning for TOD and ADUs, Require Housing Plans From Cities in Utah

State preemption, in the form major zoning reforms and mandates for local housing targets, are on the table in the Utah Legislature this year.
January 3, 2019, 12pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Mitch Johanson

Tony Semerad reports from Utah, where State Senator Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, an "influential" lawmaker on state housing issues, has proposed a sweeping package of housing policy reforms.

Lehi filed SB 34, which "[would allow] mother-in-law apartments, [encourage] construction of high-density housing near transit lines and [add] other steps to the state-approved list of strategies Utah’s cities and towns can use to promote housing affordability," eports Semerad.

"The bill also seeks to tie moderate-income housing developments more closely with transportation corridors, while providing new penalties for municipalities that make no plan for future housing." SB 34 would also "pump an initial $20 million into the [Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund] in 2020, followed by another $4 million each year thereafter," according to Semerad. 

SB 34 does not include a mandatory inclusionary housing policy, however.

Utah follows in the footsteps of other cities and states proposing mayor zoning reforms to help spur housing amidst an ongoing housing affordability crisis, and another step forward for YIMBYs and other pro-housing development advocates. SB 34 presents an outlier from previous examples, however, coming from a traditionally "red" state and via authorship from a member of the Republican party, which tends recently to err on the side of local control over state preemption regarding matters of housing and development.

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