Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Final Part -- Part V: Water and Land-Use

Here it is -- the final post in our five-part series. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have enjoyed writing it. Without further adieu, here it is:

Part V: Water and Land-Use

Land-Use Issues:

The Land Use Task Force has reached closure for the 2009 interim and has unanimously recommended two bills this year: and impact fee bill and a subdivisions bill.

The subdivisions bill simply takes away the state mandate for a public hearing on certain minor subdivision amendments such as lot line adjustments, internal lot revisions, etc. The bill won’t alter your local ordinance requirements, but it removes the state requirement for the public hearing. To take full advantage of the legislation once it becomes law, each jurisdiction will then need remove the public hearing requirement from its ordinances for these types of minor subdivision amendments. Senator Stuart Adams has agreed to run this bill.

The impact fees bill is slightly more complicated. The big news is we have achieved consensus that the cumbersome notice requirements to plan for and amend impact fees enactments will be reduced to electronic notice on the state public notice website! (Yes, that’s right: no more sending notice of the beginning, middle and end of the process to the Utah Homebuilders, Utah Association of Realtors, Utah Association of General Contractors, Daughters of the American Revolution, etc.) An entire forest has breathed a sigh of relief in anticipation of the bill passing! The bill also defines the word “encumber”, declares that any refund belongs to the person in title to the land on the date an impact fee was paid, and extends appellate relief to those who pay impact fees during the gap between an adverse opinion of the Office of Property Rights Ombudsman and a similarly adverse decision from the court system. Senator Wayne Niederhauser will run this bill on behalf of the Land Use Task Force.

Water Issues:
There are many water bills that will grace the legislature this year. Many are technical bills that remove arcane requirements from the antiquated state water laws. The bill that we were most interested in last year: the domestic water preference bill sponsored by Kerry Gibson, has been reworked, and approved by the Water Coalition and the Executive Water Task Force. The bill allows a preference for drinking water, fire flow and sanitation purposes in time of a temporary water emergency that is declared by the Governor. The preference can last as long as two years. Just compensation is required to be paid to the water rights holder that sacrificed his water for the emergency needs of the public system.

As other water bills get drafted, we will provide updates on what they entail.

We hope these updates have been helpful and again please let us know how we can be of any assistance.

Your ULCT Legislative Team!