Although the midterm elections are over, some races still are up in the air. So are national housing issues—things like Housing and Urban Development funding, low-income housing tax credits, and overhauling of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. House committee chairmanships will change; the Senate will be unaffected. They'll either favor pro-housing programs or anti-housing spending, which will impact mortgage loans for individuals and businesses and the lending laws that accompany that money. With all the fascination over national election results, you might have missed a few hyper-local votes impacting housing around the state.In Holladay, voters defeated a proposed high-density housing and mixed-use project that was planned for the old Cottonwood Mall site. The proposed plans were worth an estimated $560 million to Ivory Homes, Woodbury Corp. and the thousands of contractors, sub-contractors and skilled workers who would build the project. Developers tried for more than two years to convince residents what a swell idea they created for the area and even filed a lawsuit to stop the issue from appearing on the ballot. They had previously won Holladay City approval in May to build almost 800 apartments, 210 single-family homes, restaurants, offices and retail spaces, but unhappy citizens came out of that public hearing and formed "Unite for Holladay" and rallied locals to place the developer's plan onto the ballot. Ivory and Woodbury lost the last-minute lawsuit as well as the popular vote and have threatened to pull out of the project, but it's unclear if they will really abandon a development worth so much money.
In Orem, voters weighed in on a rezoning option to allow a 450-unit (1,600 beds) housing project for Utah Valley University students. The area only allowed single-family homes and residents did not want high density and increased traffic to come to their 'hood. At press time, the proposition was passing with a more than 1,200 vote lead.
Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, is a member of the Utah Housing Gap Coalition and said during the summer that the state "anticipates needing 58,619 affordable housing options for people by 2020." One wonders with so many people needing a roof over their heads, and the price of rentals and homes for sale rising, how the homeless population will be affected this year. Prospective tenants ought to consider managing an apartment building, living with a relative, professionally house sit or getting more roommates.