My family has lived in Utah for over 170 years, and I have witnessed the transition from rural farm communities to the present-day suburban sprawl.
Welcoming new residents and the diversity they bring, I support various housing options. However, rapid growth, especially in the form of high-density housing, has resulted in many negatives: crowded schools, congested traffic, strained infrastructure, rationed natural resources such as water, loss of open space and farmland, increased pollution, packed recreation sites and increased concerns of safety and crime.
As a member of the Highland City Council, I have repeatedly listened to concerned residents who worry about the deterioration of the “quality” of life along the Wasatch Front. Now, the Legislature is considering new laws to promote more high-density housing (code-named “affordable housing”). There is discussion of penalizing municipalities by taking away essential B&C road funds, critical for road maintenance, if legislated mandates are not followed. Also, there are efforts to “streamline” the development process by limiting public input.
I encourage the legislature to “partner” with rather than try to “punish” local government and to clearly define “affordable housing,” which should be based on local, social-economic demographics, not statewide mandates.
Scott L. Smith