SALT LAKE CITY — A bill putting a moratorium on local governments designating historic districts targeted at Salt Lake City's Yalecrest neighborhood has passed the Legislature.

SB243, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, passed the House Tuesday 50-22 and now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his action.

The House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, said the state had a responsibility to step into the debate over whether the neighborhood should be declared an historic district.

"If some of our state's citizens feel their property rights are being taken, ... we do need to get involved," Herrod said. "It really does come down to, do we have a right to control our neighbors property."

But representatives questioned the need for the state to intervene in the ongoing battle between residents who want to preserve the area's homes and those who want to remodel or rebuild without the restrictions imposed in an historic district.

"We are only providing political cover for some of the parties involved," Rep. Jim Nielson, R-Bountiful, said. "They can all say, 'The Legislature made me do this.'"

Nielson said the bill was not needed because Salt Lake City "will take the necessary time to respect the will of the people."

Lisa Riley Roche