The Riverton city attorney is rewriting a controversial ordinance that requires 50 percent stucco, brick or stone on the main level of new homes to clarify some areas of misunderstanding, according to Riverton Mayor Sandra Lloyd.
Riverton is facing a lawsuit in 3rd District Court filed by the Home Builders Association of Salt Lake, contending that the ordinance reaches beyond the legal authority of a city.Housing advocates have called the ordinance "elitist," arguing that the increased costs resulting from requiring expensive building materials will prohibit middle- and low-income families from purchasing affordable housing in Riverton.
But Lloyd told the Deseret News that the ordinance is not intended to be elitist but rather to provide diversity in Riverton neigh-bor-hoods.
"As you drive through the city, you see many existing aluminum-siding homes. We want our city to have diversity. I would be just as concerned if all the homes were stucco or brick. Stucco is very popular now. But too much stucco would provide just as much sameness as aluminum siding," said Lloyd.
Attorney David Church is currently rewriting the ordinance, but the mayor would not disclose if the 50 percent rule will be altered.
"We decided to look at the ordinance again. We wanted to be reasonable. We want to work with developers and builders to plan Riverton's future," she said.
Some of the flaws in the ordinance resulted from miscommunication between the Home Builders Association and the city, concedes Lloyd.
Builders have complained that the ordinance excludes some materials from a home's exterior such as asphalt roofing and wood door frames.
"We want to sit down with the Home Builders Association and explain our needs and listen to their needs. I think the city and the builders both want the same things - quality housing," she said.
While publicly the ordinance has received harsh criticism, Lloyd reports that most of the feedback she has received from citizenry has been supportive. Riverton residents believe the city offers a wide range of existing homes that would be affordable at all economic levels.
However, she admits that the majority of housing being built in Riverton during the current building boom is upper-scale. Riverton now mandates a minimum 1/3-acre lot for most new developments, which also drives up costs.
When the mayor appeared as a guest on KSL Radio, most of the 15 callers supported the 50-percent brick, stucco or stone requirement. The callers represented Riverton residents and those who are interested in moving to Riverton.
"We're anxious to resolve the conflict over this recent housing ordinance. We want people to know this is a wonderful city to live in. We welcome a diversity of people to move here."