Updated September 2022
OUR NEIGHBORHOODS ARE BEING TRANSFORMED
Several residents expressed grave concern since 2019 that our neighborhoods are being threatened by faceless corporations buying up homes for profit and transforming them into rental housing. The cumulative impact on our community of multitudes of homes being converted into residential homes for rent and limiting homeownership opportunities is unknown. A few residents have complained that the maintenance of their homes are being neglected by these faceless corporations.
One of the few positive outcomes of the COVID-19 has been the disruption in housing transactions that threatened to rapidly transform our neighborhoods. However as we slowly return to normal, the radical transformation of our neighborhoods could be made permanent. We need to place a temporary moratorium on these huge corporations on outbidding local residents from buying homes. We need carefully study how we want our community to look like and how our future neighborhoods will develop instead of allowing outside investors through their corporations to control what our cities will become.
A single-family home of today's neighborhoods in Clinton. June 7, 2022.
New housing construction in West Point. February 7, 2020.
HOUSING COSTS CONTINUE TO SKYROCKET
"Utah saw the second highest increase in home prices in the nation last year (2018)," Utah Stories (October 8, 2019). Our state's "changing demographics, a strong job market, and a robust economy have contributed to the rising housing costs," according to James Wood, an Ivory-Boyer senior fellow at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, Deseret News (January 17, 2020). Yet at the same time our strong job market is so strong that only two workers are available for every three jobs open in our State, The Salt Lake Tribune (January 14, 2020).
Perhaps it's time to recognize that Utah experienced an over-heated economic market contributing to housing over-development, excessive housing costs, congested traffic, and unacceptable pollution. With the Corona Virus economic recession, Utah now has time to carefully reassess how ravenous economic development has negatively impacted our housing prices and neighborhoods. It may be time for a state representative who cares about:
helping residents living in Davis County "now,"
improving our "existing" housing stock,
providing "improved services and goods" to those people who reside here instead of spending tax dollars trying to bring in big business to Utah by helping local businesses who hire our own residents.
New September 2022
Clearfield Main Street (2022)
Our state legislature passed legislation prohibiting local city building inspectors from ensuring our new housing development meet uniform building codes and instead allowed developers to hire their own building inspectors. This law has opened up our communities to "cheap" not affordable housing. There is no way to independently know how the multitude of new housing projects in our neighborhoods will be built to quality standards. Our state legislature has created the frightening possibility of a future of poorly constructed ghetto subdivisions and immense high-density housing in our communities. We just do not know.
To preserve the integrity of our housing, we must RETURN CONTROL BACK TO OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS to allow our own inspectors to inspect new housing development to ensure that the most important investment in our living environment is built to industry standards that will help preserve quality housing for decades to come.
Each local community needs to have a LOCAL INDEPENDENT HOUSING COMMISSION composed of various stakeholders to make impartial, objective recommendations on where and how high-density development will occur in their own communities. In order to provide checks and balances, the Commission's recommendations can only be overridden by a super-majority vote of two-thirds of a community's city council or legislative policy-making body. A law mandating that REFERENDUM-APPROVED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT MASTERPLANS that are developed by each city government that are put to a vote once every six or eight years to ensure that elected officials are sensitive to and representative of community opinion.
The Utah Legislature's obsession with the homeless population in the major business section of Salt Lake City has led to the neglect of family shelters in other communities according to a shelter employee interviewed back in 2019. Homelessness isn't just a problem confined to Salt Lake City and primarily to single men. There are many other families, single mothers who also deserve a decent place to live who reside outside of our Capitol City.
Instead of all the focus of our state legislators on improving the business environment for the luxury retail and commercial industry, perhaps it's now time to focus attention on the actual single mothers and families experiencing homelessness in ALL our communities. Our state legislature needs to focus on the causes of homelessness instead of building more and more temporary, homeless shelters. Our communities need help to focus on keeping more families living in their existing homes instead of being evicted. Losing a job, having sudden increases in medical bills for acute health crises, exorbitant spiraling housing, grocery, and gasoline necessity prices, and the never to be paid off payday loans need to the primary and foremost focus on our state legislators.