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Legislative Updates

Friday Update

February 20, 2021

As expected, the House passed HB82 – Single-Family Housing Modifications late yesterday.  The debate on the House floor was most interesting with a variety of viewpoints expressed.  It’s worth a listen if this issue is of interest to you.  The things discussed ranged from local control of land use to what the cause of the rise in housing costs is and whether this bill would even address that.

There was also a news story about yesterday’s passage of the bill.


In committee yesterday, HB256 – County Land Use and Development Amendments was substituted and then passed out favorably. The bill was cut back substantially from it’s original version, but the sponsor indicates he will be watching how things go over time and could bring back the other provisions.  Here’s a statement from Rep. Teuscher about the bill that he posted on the Herriman for Responsible Growth blog site:


I’ve been working closely with Salt Lake County, the Utah Association of Counties, the Utah League of Cities and Towns, Kennecott, the Property Rights Coalition, our local city representatives, and others to reach agreement on HB256. The intent of the bill is to promote responsible growth and to give deference to local leaders on zoning decisions on the unincorporated land, so we don’t experience another Olympia Hills situation. In working with the SL County Council, they believe that this bill along with the new makeup of the council has given them momentum to solve this issue at the county level.

In deference to local control, I’ve agreed to rescind the portions of my bill that would allow cities to veto the county’s zoning decisions. If the County cannot make adequate progress, I can look at bringing back this legislation in a future session.

However, I am moving forward with one other important portion of the bill that restricts counties from enforcing a provision in a development agreement that would require a development to solicit annexation at some point in the development in order to continue to develop (something we did see in the Olympia Hills Development Agreement). This practice is disingenuous and poor policy. If a county is going to entitle a development, then they should be willing to stick with that committee through the full entitlement.


Here’s the comparison of the adopted 2nd Substitute with the original.  This was an issue I worked on some while I was at Salt Lake County, and I can say that this was a much more complicated issue than what is being addressed, but that’s not uncommon when these kinds of things come up to the legislature to be addressed.  The bill now goes to the House floor for consideration.


Finally, I am listening at this very moment to the discussion taking place in committee on HB144 – Billboard Restrictions Amendments, which seems to be aimed primarily at a situation in Salt Lake City and a billboard owned by Reagan Outdoor Advertising involving cash incentives and leases and lawsuits.  The bill would put a lot of restrictions on what government entities can do with regard to billboards, and opens the door for substantial damages.  It’s dismaying to me how often we get proposed bills in the legislature to address single individual situations that could and should be dealt with just between those parties, but now instead we get broad actions that affect all entities and citizens statewide if the legislation passes. The bill was passed out favorably by the committee with two no votes, but the discussion was very wide ranging with a lot of attacks on each side, which seems to happen a lot with billboard issues.  The bill now goes to the Senate floor for consideration.


Wilf Sommerkorn

Co-Chair, APA Utah Legislative Committee

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