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Politics & Government

Utah Cities Required By Law To Address Affordable Housing Are Making Progress But Results Are Yet To Be Seen

A photo of apartments in Park City, Utah.
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iStockphoto
A 2019 law that tackles housing affordability through city planning has entered its “toddler stage” but it’s still too soon to measure results, the Utah League of Cities and Towns told a state legislative committee Wednesday.

A 2019 law that tackles housing affordability through city planning has entered its “toddler stage” but it’s still too soon to measure results, the Utah League of Cities and Towns told a state legislative committee Wednesday.

The law required 82 cities, based on their population, to modify their general plans by December 2019 to address moderate income housing near public transit. They had to select at least three strategies from a list of 24 to accomplish that.

Victoria Ashby with the League said that all of the municipalities have done that and have to report their progress by the end of the year.

“It requires time to see what's going to come of these efforts,” Ashby said. “In some cases, the city's officials have gotten pushback ... In other cases, we're seeing a lot of creativity.”

Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, who sponsored the legislation, said putting more affordable housing near transportation has a big impact on a household’s overall financial situation.

“If development were to happen around those aspects for affordable housing, you are simultaneously reducing the costs associated with transportation,” Anderegg said.

Another piece of the puzzle is housing availability, Anderegg said. According to a report from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, the state’s housing shortage shrunk by about 3,000 units from 2017-2019, but Utah is still short by about 53,000 units.

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