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Legislative Updates


February 1, 2021

Friday afternoon saw a most engaging palaver about housing affordability and availability in the House Business and Labor Committee as the hearing took place for the much-talked about ADU bill, HB82 – Single-Family Housing Modification.  Comments about the bill ranged from thorough support, even support for going further to just allow them to be permitted uses without restriction in all residential zones, to calls to quash the bill because it will endanger homeowner home value and local government control over land use.


The bill sponsor, Rep. Ray Ward, was articulate and accommodating in his remarks about the bill and his intentions with it.  And it must be said, all those commented on the bill, both the public and legislators on the committee, were respectful and aware of the problems, just with different ideas of how to approach them.  Comments ranged from local elected officials who thoroughly supported the bill as is, to a planner by profession who urged defeat of the bill as the wrong approach.


Rep. Ward put forth a modified bill, HB82 1st Substitute, which was proposing some modifications based on earlier discussion with local officials and housing advocates.  Most committee members appeared to be supportive of the bill, some more than others.  Rep. James Dunnigan, who among other things has served as a city councilperson (Taylorsville), was somewhat critical of the need for the bill, citing the existence of many ADUs in his community that happened without the kinds of provisions called for in this bill.  Rep. Mike Schulz, a member of House leadership and a builder by profession, spoke strongly in favor of the bill, even questioning directly a public commenter who was speaking against some of the details of the bill.


Interestingly, Rep. Dunnigan has a substitute bill of his own prepared, HB82 2nd Substitute, which proposed more restrictions for ADUs than Rep. Ward’s bill, while still allowing them by right in single family homes.  In somewhat of a surprise move (at least to me), Rep. Schulz, who had spoken so favorably about Rep. Ward’s bill, spoke favorably about the 2nd Substitute bill and made a motion to hold this bill in committee to allow further discussions.  The motion passed unanimously by the committee.  So what that means is that work on the bill will continue, probably with some accommodation for provisions included from Rep. Dunnigan’s 2nd Substitute version.


If you have some time (the committee discussion and comment lasted over an hour), take a listen to the audio of the committee meeting on this bill, it’s really pretty good and enlightening.  And obviously, more to come!


In other news, three of the bills we are following are up for hearing in committee today, most notably SB111 – Records of Residential Property Owner Zoning Violations at 2:00 pm


And so far, still no sign of the main bill worked on by the Land Use Task Force.



Wilf Sommerkorn

Co-Chair, APA Utah Legislative Committee


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