Zoning for Tiny Homes
Officials are trying to gloss over the dearth of affordable housing in Salt Lake County while continuing to build for a generation with means. The latest strategy appears to deflect, putting the onus on individual homeowners to share their lots, building tiny homes and maybe earning income, too. "The zoning changes are meant to encourage additional units and new types of housing such as cottages, row houses set at an angle and tiny homes tucked into the existing neighborhoods—mostly by reducing the land area per unit," The Salt Lake Tribune reports. When you talk about existing neighborhoods, costs are likely astronomical for permitting, hookups and amenities—unless you just want a cubbyhole for the poor to live in. Cynical commenters ask if developers aren't in charge of this plan—because someone will be making money, and affordability will be the victim.
Love for Our Great Lake
Yes, save the Great Salt Lake! Like the Dead Sea, it's drying up from droughts and diversions, according to the Deseret News. A recent study holds hope after looking at four water districts and determining that a drop of about 50 gallons per person would help and delay the need for projects like the Bear River Development, which would pump water to fast-growing populations. But water conservation just doesn't sit well with Utahns. Look at what's happening with the Lake Powell Pipeline. Conservationists say that water conservation could alleviate the need for this "extravagant" project. The Southern Nevada Water Authority established a turf replacement program, according to the St. George Spectrum. Conservation works and avoids the band-aid solutions that will still result in a barren wasteland.
Greasing the Rails
As Utah Business magazine hails the recovery of the oil and gas industry, you have to wonder at what cost and for how long it will last. The Uinta Basin Railway is proposing to connect Utah's oil to a national rail network, taking those dirty trucks and tankers off the roads. Sounds intriguing at first, but wait. "This oil railway will inflict grave damage on rural communities, wildlife and water, and it should never be built," Wendy Park, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, told The Salt Lake Tribune. The rail is expected to cost $1.4 billion in a controversial mix of private and public funding. The Environmental Impact Statement doesn't analyze the impacts of increased drilling, either. Why should it? The rail line is a means of stoking the troubled oil and gas industry while looking the other way at the environmental costs and still not addressing the inevitable death of the industry.