- The Salt Lake City Council unanimously passed a housing plan that is largely focused on creating more affordable housing, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
- KSL-TV reports that the council also is calling on other Utah cities to step up and create their own housing plans, noting Salt Lake City cannot take care of all of the region's affordable housing needs alone.
- The five-year comprehensive housing plan is the city's first since 2000.
Salt Lake City's plan has been in the works for some time and was proposed earlier this year. It recommended requiring developers to meet quotas for affordable units in new housing projects or opt out by contributing to a housing fund. The plan involves zoning changes to allow increased density and different types of housing, such as accessory dwellings. Part of the plan requires evaluating the city's sellable surplus land to determine if it is fit for housing developments.
Salt Lake City had been lax on updating its previous plan because its population had been in decline. But leaders found the new plan necessary because the city has experienced about 4% population growth since 2010. With such growth comes an increase in housing costs and the overall cost of living.
Although council members hope that other cities will follow their example in tackling the affordable housing problem, they also acknowledge that no other municipalities can be forced to take action. They understand that some communities that haven't been touched by the problem at a deep level yet might not feel the need to make housing plans right now. A host of issues — including funding and public pushback — can prevent cities from planning for problems that don't worry their citizens at the moment.
But Salt Lake City council members said other local governments that don't enact plans will most certainly be faced with the affordable problem down the road, considering that housing costs rapidly are growing faster than incomes across the entire country. In addition, solving problems collaboratively with neighboring municipalities often proves more successful for a region in the long term, rather than the problems just temporarily shifting to neighboring areas.