Monday, November 06, 2006

Utahns Want Local Leaders Regulating Land Use

Utahns are looking to local planning commissions and other local elected officials to make land use decisions affecting their community. According to a recent Dan Jones & Associates survey, when asked who should have the input regarding new development 37 percent of the Utahns surveyed said local planning commissions should have the most input, while only 2 percent said the Legislature should have input. Twenty-five percent stated local city council and mayor should have the most input.

The challenge according to the Utah League of Cities and Towns however is training and educating voluntary planning commissions and city councils of constantly changing land use policy. Since 2000 the Utah State Legislature has introduced over 100 land-use related bills.

“It is difficult for our volunteer planning commissions to constantly be updated on changing land use legislations,” said Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini. “By the time we figure out the law, the Legislature is considering changing it.”

The Utah League of Cities and Towns is working with the Utah Realtors and other representatives of the development community in an attempt to remedy this concern.

The survey, commissioned by the Utah League of Cities and Towns, also showed that residents are becoming increasingly more concerned about overdevelopment in their community. Nine percent of respondents identified overdevelopment as one of top three issues of concern in their community. In 2001 when asked the same question no respondents mentioned overdevelopment as an issue of concern.

Other top issues of concern mentioned were education, transportation, crime, taxes and overall growth -- all issues closely related to Utah’s growth pressures.

Pollster Dan Jones indicated that concern for open space is one of the most interesting findings of the survey. "What it really shows is that people are much more concerned today than they were 10 to 15 years ago about how open space is parceled out to contractors, individual homeowners or businesses," Jones said. "People are much more knowledgeable about planning commissions and zoning regulations and how zoning comes about."

Dan Jones & Associates polled 605 residents during Aug. 7-15. The margin of error for the survey results was four percent.

---------- 2006 Land Use and Services Survey ----------


Conducted: August 7-15th 2006, by Dan Jones & Associates
Sample Size: 605 respondents, statewide
Error Rate: +/- 4.0%

I. Demographic highlights:

a. 88% - of respondents have lived in Utah longer than 10 years (40% lifelong)
b. 63% - have lived in their community for more than 10 years
c. 89% - own their home
d. 48% - identify themselves as Republican
e. 32% - college graduates
f. 56% - identify their community as rapidly growing
g. 40% - from Salt Lake County
i. (16% Utah, 11% Davis, 8%, Weber, 25% rest of state)

II. How would you rate the quality of life in your community?

44% - Excellent
49% - Good
6% - Fair
1% - Poor

III. What are the three most important issues facing your neighborhood today? (Top responses, unaided question)

Education - 27%
Transportation - 22%
Crime/Gangs - 18%
Growth - 15%
Taxes - 15%
Overdevelopment - 9%

IV. Which of the following should have the most input in determining the appropriate level of new development in your community?

37% - Local Planning Commission
25% - City Council/Mayor
9% - Land Developer
9% - County Gov't
8% - Don't Know
2% - State Legislature

V. From what you know or have heard, is your community actively engaged in a general (long range) planning process at this time?

57% - Yes
20% - No
23% - Don't Know

VI. Regarding undeveloped land in your community, should local leaders…?

Preserve open spaces to resist further development -- 32%
Allow density and uses consistent with the general plan -- 24%
Allow public use of the land -- 20%
Revise the general plan to allow other uses -- 7%
Other or don’t know -- 17%

VII. Which of the following should be local government’s first priority with respect to development of private property?

64% - Protecting existing residents private property rights and property values
16% - Preserving open space
10% - Don't Know
7% - Providing new affordable housing
2% - Protecting a developers property right to develop vacant land

VIII. Which of the following would best describe your local government’s planning and zoning efforts?

29% - Community bases
27% - Developer Friendly
14% - Don't Know
12% - Short Sighted
11% - Community Based
7% - Overly Restrictive

This is just a brief insight into a much more exhaustive survey. The survey, in total, is 125 questions spanning issues such as land-use planning, development and municipal service demands. For more information on the complete survey please contact the ULCT --

- Enjoy