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Legislative Updates

Urban development in unincorporated county areas

January 28, 2021

A new bill introduced yesterday attempts to address urban development in unincorporated county areas and how to deal with it.  This bill was prompted, I believe, by the recent Olympia Hills project just outside of Herriman in unincorporated Salt Lake County.

The bill, HB256 – County Land Use and Development Amendments, would make several changes that would be significant.  First, it prohibits a county of the first class (Salt Lake County) from including in any development agreement a provision that the subject development at some point either annex into a neighboring city or incorporate as a new city.  This is direct response to the development agreement for Olympia Hills which requires just that.  I guess that the idea on this is, if it’s a good idea for the new development to be part of a city, then make that happen for the property up front.  There are reasons why SL County took this approach, but in the interests of not putting my former employer in a tough position and perhaps casting aspersions on others, I won’t recount here what those reasons were.


The other main thing this bill does is move the language on requirements that counties and associated cities must take prior to counties allowing “urban development” to occur in the unincorporated area from the annexation section of the state code to the county LUDMA section.  This is a good move, I believe, putting the language where it is a better fit.


A couple of other bills to update on.


HB115 – Municipal Boundary Modifications, is up for hearing in committee this afternoon at 2:00.  This is the bill that the Land Use Task Force worked on extensively through the interim, and while it doesn’t make huge changes (and certainly isn’t the comprehensive recodification of annexation and incorporation processes that is sorely needed), it does make some changes that last year’s annexation and incorporation battles in several locations around the state showed are really needed.


As promised, there is a new version out for SB82 – Single Family Housing Modifications, the ADU bill.  It would make a number of the changes that were pointed out in the League’s LPC meeting last Monday.  Take a look at this bill and make your thoughts known, to your city officials, Rep. Ward, and your legislators.



And finally, here’s an interesting piece from the Utah Policy website by LaVarr Webb, on Sen. Jacob Anderegg’s thoughts on the need for transportation infrastructure in rapidly growing northern Utah County and southwestern Salt Lake County.  Though Sen. Anderegg is a self-described very conservative legislator, he sees the need for transit to help meet these needs, something right-leaning politicos are generally not supportive of.  I’ve been impressed with Sen. Anderegg over the last couple of years, as he’s learned about the dynamics of growth and the ways to cope with it.  Take a read here.


If you’re interested in revisiting some of the previous legislative update emails, you can find them at the APA Utah website here.


Lots more to come, we have a long way to go in this session.




Wilf Sommerkorn

Co-Chair, APA Utah Legislative Committee


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