Alt Housing | Urban Living
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Alt Housing

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Despite the growing COVID-19 cases in Utah, people are moving here, and they need places to live. We are down in housing inventory and developers aren't able to keep up with the demand.

Imagine a cartoon version of yourself flying up on a jet pack with a birds' eye view of the north end of Salt Lake Valley in and around the airport. You'll see Delta Airlines' new hub and the all-new terminals that will open this fall and be finished next year. To the west of the airport is the new site for Utah State Prison and to the west of that will be the Inland Port. Those three facilities alone could employ around 60,000 by the time they are built, and all of those people need a place to call home.

I predict Magna and Tooele, Stansbury and even Grantsville will be the new "hip" places to live and will bear the brunt of growth. Ivory Homes, Utah's most prominent home builder, can't work fast enough to build homes. What used to be a six-month build process for prospective home buyers has become a nine-month wait due to demand and a dire lack of a labor force.

Oh, and can you hear the yowls from the Nimbys in Salt Lake's upper avenues? Ivory is attempting to build 25 new homes at F Street and 13th Avenue with each lot having ADUs (apartments, accessory dwelling unit), making it a total of 45 residences in an area zoned for single-family dwellings. If built, these ADUs could be affordable housing options among some very expensive homes, providing housing for grandparents, caretakers, nannies, students, families and low-income folk. Neighbors against the zoning change and increased density proposal have created a Facebook page called Preserve Our Avenues Zoning. To see the proposal being considered by Salt Lake City Planning and Zoning, check out slc.gov and search for the FR-3 to FB-UN1 Zoning and Master Plan Amendment.

Ivory Homes is arguing that the proposed development "can further materialize the objectives stated in the (SLC) Five Year Housing Plan" and that the first goal in that plan adopted by the city "recognized the need to increase the diversity of housing types and opportunities in the city...that integrate and can break down social and economic segregation, thus building a city for everyone." Also, the rezoning request narrative states: "Salt Lake City has had an abundance of single-family homes and multi-story apartment buildings for decades. While both types of housing are critical, the 'missing middle' housing types have been squeezed out ... and would provide solutions for a wide variety of family types and structures."

We'll see how far Ivory Homes gets with this new housing alternative.