Worst Kept Secret In Utah-We Have a Housing Shortage.
It’s the worst-kept secret in Utah-We are facing a serious shortage of housing. The causes are many. In fact, it actually should make us feel good in one way. In general, people like Utah and want to come here.
Here’s the bad. A recent study by Kem Gardiner Institute shows that we are woefully behind in keeping up with the growth, current AND projected when it comes to housing. I’ve seen various estimates, but in all of them, we are thousands of homes shy of being where we need to be.
This has led to some inevitable things like proof that the theory of Supply and Demand is more than just a theory. The scarcity is raising prices at crazy rates. While this may seem like a good thing, it has some unintended consequences. I’m going to talk about one of those-affordable housing.
This has finally started a long overdue conversation about how to deal with the whole housing crisis. The talk always seems to center around density, but higher overall density is only one potential answer. Thankfully, some municipalities are starting to think outside the box as they look for solutions.
Last week, Tooele City passed a long awaited “Accessory Dwelling” ordinance. What this means is that a property owner can convert or even construct an additional dwelling on properties that are zoned for single family, within certain parameters. Specifically, the minimum lot size for an attached or detached unit is 8500 square feet. For an “internal” unit (think basement or attic apartment) is 700 square feet. It also only applies to residential zoning of R1-7 or lower density.
Internal dwellings must have a minimum of 400 square ft and are restricted to being no larger then the foundation footprint of the primary home. Attached units also have a 400 sq ft minimum and a 1200 sq ft max. The range for detached units is 800-1200 square feet. There will also be required parking of 1 additional spot per bedroom of the unit.
What can this potentially do? How about affordable options for students, young families, retirees? Tooele City Attorney, in an article in the Tooele Transcript Bulletin stated “This policy will provide new income streams to Tooele homeowners who take advantage of it.
As a member of the Tooele zoning commission, I’m proud that Tooele is encouraging us to really start looking at solutions to this problem.
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