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The Sleeping Giant Stirs!

February 6, 2024 by Nicole Masson
Policy/Legislative

All articles shared are for educational purposes and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of APA UT.

The Sleeping Giant Stirs! 

By Wilf Sommerkorn, The Utah Land Use Institute Blog

Starting into the second half of the legislative session, things are starting to pick up on the housing and land use fronts.

Two new bills just out Monday afternoon, which are part of the long-awaited LUTF/CHA/UEOC legislation.  I’ll just use the description of what each bill does in the bills’ highlighted provisions, with more detailed discussion to come later.  Please look over the bills and let us know of issues/concerns you may have.

H.B. 465 Housing Affordability Revisions

This bill:
▸     defines terms and modifies definitions;
▸     states that a municipality or county that fails to comply with moderate income housing reporting requirements shall be ineligible for certain funding;
▸     authorizes redevelopment agencies and community development agencies to use funding to pay for or contribute to the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of income targeted housing, under certain circumstances;
▸     authorizes up to 6% of the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund to be used to offset administrative expenses;
▸     requires the Department of Workforce Services to create pass-through funding agreements;
▸     describes the minimum requirements of a pass-through funding agreement, including requirements that state funds be spent on certain affordable housing investments;
▸     modifies the Utah low-income housing tax credit;
▸     encourages the Utah Inland Port Authority, the Point of the Mountain State Land Authority, and the School Institutional Trust Lands Administration to, if appropriate, utilize land use authority to increase the supply of housing in the state;
▸     modifies reporting requirements; and
▸     makes technical changes.

H.B. 476 Municipal Land Use Regulation Modifications

This bill:
▸     requires a municipality to accept and process a complete land use application under specified conditions;
▸     modifies provisions relating to development agreements;
▸     modifies the limitation of a provision on building design elements;
▸     authorizes a municipality to require a seller to notify a buyer of water wise landscaping requirements;
▸     enacts language relating to residential rear setback limitations;
▸     modifies provisions relating to the review of subdivision applications and subdivision improvement plans;
▸     modifies a provision relating to the landscaping of residential lots or open space;
▸     modifies provisions relating to the enforcement of municipal land use regulations;
▸     provides an exception to the optional use of the Utah coordinate system; and
▸     makes technical and conforming changes.

Also another bill of interest out, that is not one of the expected bills (but is something that has been proposed before in previous sessions):

S.B. 185 Residential Building Inspection Amendments – this bill would allow an agency, regulator (city or county), or permit holder(!) to hire a third-party licensed inspector, and require that those inspection reports be accepted by the permit issuer.  Already have heard concerns from inspectors and others that this bill would allow a builder to hire his own inspector to do inspections and that those reports must be accepted by the city/county.  Potential conflict of interest here?

Also, not a new bill but one that the League and many communities are raising strong concerns about:

S.B. 172 Protection Areas Revisions – the bill essentially extends the rights and privileges for mining operations to “critical infrastructure materials” miners, that is, sand and gravel operations.  The League LPC committee on Monday took a very strong opposed position on this bill.  Here’s the rundown on what this bill would do:

Expands definition of mine operator to include the owner of a mining use in a notice of intent ● Expands the mining protection area vesting from existing operations to future mines if the area hasn’t been excavated ● Extends critical infrastructure operations preemption to acquisition of adjacent property regardless of whether it has been excavated. ● Extends vesting to mining property if mining operation was conducted on any portion of the property. ● Removes the ability of local governments to choose the minimum acreage in a protection area. ● States that critical infrastructure protection area applications are deemed approved if the local government does not take action within 120 days ● States that critical infrastructure material land uses maintain their status even if annexed by a municipality. ● Protection areas cannot be terminated by a municipality unless the area has not been used for the purpose in prior 15 years. ● Allows local governments to impose reasonable conditions on protection areas if there is clear and convincing evidence that they present an imminent danger to public health, safety, or welfare. ● Extends nuisance preemption to mining protection areas ● Prohibits eminent domain of mining protection areas ● Modifies the notice requirements for eligibility ● States that if a party unsuccessfully challenges vested mining use declaration, they are responsible for the costs incurred by the mining operator (including attorneys fees) ● Presumes critical infrastructure materials operators that are permitted or legal NCUs to be protection areas ● Presumes critical infrastructure materials operations have been established unless a person claiming otherwise has clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. ● Automatically extends protection area preemption to critical infrastructure operators.

That’s a lot of pretty dramatic changes.  The bill has been assigned for hearing to the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services committee, but has not yet been scheduled for hearing.

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