Sen. Al Mansell said Tuesday that his controversial land-use bill, SB170, was meant as a message to lawbreaking cities and not something he intended to have pass.
The powerful Midvale Republican, a former Senate president, plans to significantly revise the measure this week, keeping aspects in the bill that involve impact fees, timetables for zoning decisions and added accountability for cities to follow ordinances.
"I thought it was over the top when I put it out," said Mansell. "But we put it out there to let the cities see how unhappy we really are with them."
SB170 was drafted by a coalition of builders and developers. In its original form, the 80-page measure would limit the power of cities in making zoning decisions. City councils would be limited to creating a general plan and zoning map and rezoning areas that cover 25 percent or more of a city's land.
The intent was to rein in cities that make it difficult for landowners to get projects approved, said Mansell. But a majority of city officials maintain it eviscerates their ability to plan. Monday, the League of Cities and Towns took a position to strongly oppose the bill.
That position still stood on Tuesday, despite Mansell's announcement that he would revise the measure.
"Sending messages like that are unproductive and do a disservice to the legislative process," said Ken Bullock, executive director of the league. "Our position is that SB170 is an exceptionally bad, punitive bill and it appears the sponsors and supporters recognize how ill-conceived it is."
The league and its members are willing to review the bill when Mansell has redrafted it, said Bullock.
While Bullock says municipalities have always been willing to talk about controversial issues, backers of SB170 complain that the league has taken an unyielding stance against the measure.Regardless, Mansell pledged Tuesday that aspects of his revised SB170 will be passed this session. Other parts could be put on hold for discussion in the interim, he said.