I can't help but think of the last lines of The Eagles song, The Last
Resort: "They called it paradise, I don't know whyYou
call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye."
@Harrison Bergeron" Affordable is a euphemism for cheap. High density
and cheap is a known recipe for slums. "Poor people have to live
somewhere. Low density generally doesn't correlate with cheap unless
we're talking the middle of nowhere which doesn't work for poor people
who aren't exactly looking to have a car for a long daily commute to work.
I find it curious that the only things developers seem to be building are either
prohibitively expensive very-low-density McMansions or packed apartment
high-rises.The small-lot modest freestanding homes that dominate
older Utah neighborhoods, the duplexes/quadruplexes with shared yard space, and
a hundred other options for having much higher density than the McMansion suburb
without the feeling of the inner city all seem to be entirely off the agenda.I imagine that zoning, property tax schedules, and other distortions
must be much of the cause. There's plenty of market demand for modest
housing. We've got to fix the regulatory and tax structure to give people
incentives to work towards a rational and workable future.Utah was
settled with exceptionally high density - well planned, compact communities
settled under Brigham Young's direction. Places like Seattle that started
with poor planning quickly ran into trouble and learned to more actively design
their community. We've been riding Brigham Young's coattails and
taking the good foundation we started out with for granted, and now that
foundation is cracking and we don't have the know-how or willpower to fix
City councils do know that @Orem Parent. We are fighting it but the state and
transportation agencies like UDOT, UTA, and county entities are forcing it upon
us. We literally had out generally plan changed underneath us by outside
"stakeholders" to force "sustainability". When asked what that
is, nobody can answer. There is a concerted effort to destroy the suburban way
of life. This is not about the market. Developers can still make money on
single family homes. They just love the higher margins. But keep in mind kids
out of college shouldn't be able to afford a home. What used to take years
of work and saving up, people think they are entitled to as newlyweds. You may
need to rent or leave in a less affluent area while you build your
finances...many of us have done that.
Is it any wonder that this is being pushed when a large portion of our
legislature are land developers? Of course they suggest the solution is to
build a whole bunch more high density...it's how they make
money...they've been buying up land and then trying to create law to force
cities to let them build the highest densities possible. We need to wait it out
and put Affordable Housing dollars to good use with grant programs to help
families get single family homes.People are fleeing to our state
from California for the very same reasons we say we need to commit to high
density. High density largely gets retained by he dev or scooped up by
investors who get the purchase with cash rather than it being sold to
hardworking individuals. We end up with high transiency and high crime. High
density must be limited.I recently traveled to San Francisco,
Seattle, and Portland...they are nothing like what Utah should be. They are
impoverished, awful cities where there is little choice because of their housing
and transportation initiatives. Let's continue to be different. It's
what has made us prosper but we will lose that.
Today, for many reasons, from land to building materials, to labor and fees,
home affordability for most, means high-density. And its only going to get
@my_two_cents_worthAnd I wouldn't put the area you live in on my list
of places that are more affordable than SLC. But Spokane and Eastern Washington
are not in the same boat that Seattle is. Significantly lower housing costs,
lower sales tax than Seattle(8.8 versus 10.1) Not to mention you don't get
taxed on food in Washington like you do in Utah, with our admittedly lower 6.85
sales tax. The property taxes in Spokane County are more expensive than in SLC,
about $1000 more a year for a 250K home. Definitely not 5% of my income more(i
mean I pay the state a couple grand a year in income tax, plus I still pay
property tax) With that said King County is a whole other ball of wax that has
become a pricey, pricey place to live.
The last 20 years or so, there has been an increase in the number of people
moving back to the "City". This can be seen in the census numbers and
it shows that people have been changing for a while.The option of a
yard is nice but not everyone wants a yard to raise their children. Many new
families are only having 1 or 2 children and they don't need as much space.
This has also allowed more people to scale down.The recession of
2007/2008 also changed perspectives on home ownership and many people have
shifted away from houses and towards apartments across the country. In many
areas, including here, they are able to live without a car. This frees up more
money to save for retirement that they wouldn't be able to do if they
bought a house. Others, would be 2 car families where an apartment allows them
to have 0 or 1 car and still raise a family.As long as the
neighborhood and the people within care about their homes, slums will not
happen. Cities are also responsible in ensuring that owners maintain the
buildings, this is why SLC has requirements on rental properties to avoid slums.
Other cities need to follow their lead.
We have just returned from a visit back east where the history is older and the
population more dense. For the many reasons, barring a cataclysmic event or
events, the population of Utah/Idaho is going to grow and the number of
dwellings for people to live in will increase while the ground space will fill
up. By reason of wealth segregation, the densest of housing will be populated
by the poor and the wealthy will have a choice of urban, suburban, or rural
living as will the middle class, to some extent.Current construction
of high density housing lacks the quality and character of much of the older
urban construction and may, or may not, turn into slums depending to great
extent on factors unrelated to construction quality. Eagle Gate apts. have been
socially stable for a long time.It seems that there are many people
who like living in a high density environment with urban transportation and
cultural amenities. But not a lot of them live in the suburban/rural west, yet.
You can imagine that it will take a few generations to make the adaptation, but
it will come because there is hardly an alternative.We will have to
allow and encourage the future to live in its own time.
Noodlekaboodle "Plus there is no income tax in
Washington."Yeah, but we more than make up for that with a
regressive sales tax structure, expensive auto tabs, and some of the highest
property tax rates in the nation. I wouldn't trade living here for
I'm happy. A home I bought in the 2008 has doubled in price since then.
Another that I rent out and purchased in 2001 has tripled in value here in the
Salt Lake Valley. I believe your seeing the Californiatization of Utah in the
fact that home prices will be between $750,000 on the low end to $1.1 to $1.5
million for a complete 6-8 bedroom house, 2 to 3 baths for a large family. High
density is the only way to afford housing for many even right now and into the
future. Those high density units will go for what a house use to cost ($250 to
$500k), they are now in many instances and people are buying them and will buy
them. It is about lifestyle for many and high density provides a life style a
suburban home doesn't. Everything essential is close, the HOA provides
activities and items in the area. It is the future and to be honest, I think
the 20 and 30 somethings for the most part like that lifestyle. It's here
@ bassoonladyOf course there are high-end condos and such that
aren't slums. But we aren’t talking about Trump Tower here.
Affordable is a euphemism for cheap. High density and cheap is a known recipe
for slums. Moreover, there is no reason for everyone to cram into
Salt Lake County, or even Utah County. Not only is it not necessary, but it will
lead to complete grid lock on I-15 and every other street. We do not have the
space to build more freeways. And we have dumped truckloads of money into public
transportation only to see trains and busses drive around empty most of the
time. Also, the Salt Lake Valley is a geological bowl. Adding more people will
worsen air quality problems. There is no amount of planning that gets us around
that fact. The solution is for business and people to start locating
in lovely places like Juab, Sanpete, Carbon and Emery counties. The air is clean
there, the scenery is beautiful. There is ample land and water available. When
you thing about it, it's silly. We are all standing around trying to figure
out how to stuff more people into a VW Beatle when there's an empty bus
@Orem ParentGlad you like your SFH and are able to afford it. You are one
of the lucky ones that can. Unfortunately, your children will most likely not be
able to do the same. The only way for Utah to continue its growth is to come up
with a solution that includes all types of housing at various price points.
@No Names AcceptedThere are two problems with those areas, one is the lack
of water. You're talking about massive infrastructure projects to pipe
water to those areas and the other issues is that as much as area's like
silicone slopes are increasing the number of high paying jobs, the majority of
the good, high paying jobs in the state are in Salt Lake. And I don't see
it changing anytime soon. People are going to want to live near the jobs.
It's not realistic to expect people to commute to Salt Lake from Vernal.
To "NoNamesAccepted" the problem is that the open areas that are still
around Utah don't have the water available like we do in the SL Valley.
Harrison, not necessarily.Where I lived in Brazil, the majority of the
upper middle class live in some kind of apartment it condo, and many of the
neighborhoods with houses and small yards were the ones you didn't go to at
night unless you wanted to risk your life.Apartments can be high class
living, and urban neighborhoods can be slums.Also, many small towns have
the reputation of being unwelcoming to newcomers, even if they are friendly with
each other.I personally don't favor high density housing. I would
prefer for Utah not to grow up and get overcrowded, especially as Utah has a
harder time dealing with air pollution, thanks to our inversion challenges. But
if we are going to continue to grow, we need to be smart about it. Public
transportation will be essential, which will require way more planning that we
have put into it so far. So far, the public transportation we have just
isn't practical, but our current infrastructure can't sustain the
growth increased housing will cause. This requires careful planning, and
I'm glad that citizens get involved and fight so that we are more careful
and can come up with solutions that benefit all.
@jpc53: "We have been lucky in that we have had a great amount of land but
with the increase in population that is coming to an end. "I've seen this sentiment repeated several times. Anyone who believes we
are "running out of land" desperately needs to get off the Wasatch
Front. Even ignoring the 66% of our State that is federally controlled, Utah has
no shortage of land. In fact, between Payson and Cedar City there is enough
within 15 miles of I-15 for over 3 million homes, each sitting on nearly a full
acre of land. Even at no more than 3 persons per household, that is 9 million
persons all living in extremely low density housing. This ignores areas like
northern Utah and eastern Utah.The problem is not land in Utah, it
is that we continue to encourage every business to set up shop the same 3
counties which all suffer from winter inversions and other geographically
induced air quality issues.@cjb: "Grocery shopping, restaurants,
hardware stores, shops of many kinds, parks, food carts are within walkable
distance."This only happens if high density is properly planned
and situated. Spot zoning into existing low-density, single-family areas
prevents those nice things.
In the next 40 or so years SLC's population is projected to grow by the
population of Utah county, and vice-versa. That is a massive expansion in both
counties and there's only so much space.
This is an awful idea. High density housing leads to a host of high density
problems, the first of which is high density traffic, the second of which is
high density crime, the third is high density litter and garbage, the fourth is
high density air pollution., and the list goes on
. When people
live in tight spaces they become irritated with each other. People that live in
the country are kind, friendly and courteous. People that live in big cities are
indifferent, unfriendly and rude. Of course there are exceptions in both cases,
but they are just that - exceptions.Utah is one of the most urban
states in the country; more urban than such states as New York, Illinois and
Connecticut. Nine of every 10 of us live on only 1.1% of the state's land
mass. Let's spread out a little bit and give ourselves some room to
breathe. We need to start incentivizing businesses to locate in
places like Juab, Sanpete and Emery counties. People who grow up in rural Utah
would love to stay there if they could find good employment. Others would love
to move there for the same reason.Others have tried this many times
before, they're called slums.
Many of the High Density projects going up in and around the Greater Downtown
SLC area are being filled by people that are working for Goldman Sachs and the
numerous tech companies located Downtown and along the Wasatch Front. These are
highly paid people that live Downtown because they can walk or take transit to
work, shop, nightlife, and so forth. There are areas of High Density
that have gone up in Sugarhouse (SLC) and South Salt Lake that are connected via
transit and are walkable and have Grocery, Commercial and Retail nearby that
doesn't require a car to get to.Other areas along the Wasatch
Front, even along the Transit Lines (Rail) are building High Density, some
building TODs (Transit Oriented Developments). Many may include some retail but
most aren't really walkable and none include or have a grocery nearby nor
commercial and all require a car to be sufficient.So, while High
Density is in the future, it must also be planned to be walkable and include
transit, groceries, commercial, retail, and there must be some parks/open space.
Planned right, there will be room for High, medium, light, and SFH's in
If you look to Europe and other civilisations begun before the U.S. their cities
are all high density. We have been lucky in that we have had a great amount of
land but with the increase in population that is coming to an end. We need
to find ways to properly manage this.
If we are going to add a bunch of high density housing, then let's do
proper city planning.Spot zoning high density into the middle of
existing, single-family neighborhoods grossly degrades quality of life for
existing residents while not providing the real benefits of high density. Spot
zoning makes developers nice provides, but puts a lot more cars on streets not
designed for them, and housing units into areas where utilities are not
adequate. These apartment dwellers still require cars, for which they don't
have adequate parking. They don't enjoy walkable communities. They
don't have sufficient yard space for raising children.Developers make out like bandits, while existing residents lose quality of
life and are required to pay the lion's share of the costs of upgrading
utilities, building and maintaining new parks those with private yards
don't need, etc.Honest, pro-active city planning would zone
proper areas near mass transit and shopping for high density. The only downside
is that developers pay more for commercial land than they do for single-family
residential. Profits are lower. That seems a small price to pay for getting
housing right.But no more spot zoning.
@Orem Parent re: “Drive 20 miles in either direction away from I-15 and
there is nothing but open space for hundreds of miles. Water will always be an
issue but we can conquer that with more storage as needed.”Great. That is awesome. I live in Orem near Lakeridge Jr. High and I love the
UVU students, the young married UVU & BYU students and their children, and I
hate mowing the lawn (I still do it, however). I am happy they have my community
to live within. The animosity many of my neighbors have toward the students and
the poor does not reflect the generally loving attitude of Utah Valley or the
neighborhood surrounding Lakeridge and UVU.Maybe we need to look to
the needs of our children and those moving here and recognize a change needs to
be made. I however do not think moving to places like Wallsburg or Cedar Fort
are the right options for everyone and nor will those communities welcome
everyone running away from all the service opportunities springing up on the
Having spent time in San Francisco and Taiwan I can say that apartments can be
quite nice. You don't have to hop in your car to go everywhere. It's
really quite convenient.Grocery shopping, restaurants, hardware
stores, shops of many kinds, parks, food carts are within walkable distance.
It's really quite nice.Of course this presumes that the
neighboors aren't slummy or low class. Apartments like single family
neghborhoods some in different flavors. Pick a good neighborhood.
Laughing hard at the no available land comments. Drive 20 miles in
either direction away from I-15 and there is nothing but open space for hundreds
of miles. Water will always be an issue but we can conquer that with more
storage as needed.
High density housing doesn't equal slums.There are lots of high
class apartments.Low class people equals slums.
I have talked with three families that have moved out of the state because of
these reasons. High housing costs and lower wages in Utah is a bad combination.
The families ended up moving to the states of Washington, Ohio and Illinois.
Housing prices are out of control. Are we looking at another housing bubble
like the one that burst a decade ago?
Apartments will become slums? Talk to our President about that. He made
millions ( or if you believe him billions) on providing prestigious named
buildings for people to live in. The neighborhoods around Temple Square -
hardly slums. Visit the peninsula in the San Francisco bay area... hardly
slums. Look at many cities. Apartments does not mean slums. Where in the
world did that come from?People who make comments like these need to
get out more. There are lots of housing solutions for lots of people. Many
people like not having a lawn to mow. Many people like being able to walk
restaurants and stores. A lot of people like not having the cost of multiple
cars.I live on 2 acres. I have multiple cars. That works for me.
But to say everyone "needs" a house with a small yard... crazy. You
want a house, no one is preventing anyone from buying a house. Live further
out. Its a choice. No one is forcing you into an apartment.
High density housing does not have the pride of ownership that a SFR has. Morgan Duel is correct. These projects will result in slums with no
pride of ownership. Builders, politicians and the DN need to look at ways to
make single family residences possible. If there was a train to Cedar Valley it
could house a million people. Come on. Think creatively. Make this state
something to be proud of.
@ute alumni, we can't even fill the reservoirs we already have, why would
we spend massive amounts of money to build more?I have been saying
this for a while now. You can't have your cake and eat it to. If you want
large families, and I have 4 kids myself, then you can't simultaneously
turn around and complain about high density housing, small yards, and loss of
farmland.Personally I would rather see more higher density housing
than more urban sprawl and loss of our open lands. Perhaps my views are shaped
from my time in Japan, where despite an enormous population, there was still a
lot of open land due to people being concentrated in the cities instead of
sprawling out across the landscape.
All the comments but one are hysterical, The Wasatch front is running out of
affordable land to build affordable housing on, Question...(.what does the term
affordable mean?) buy or rent high density housing, or, move to a less
populated area of the state, and get there before everyone else does.
If these comments are any indication of the community, this will be a very
contentious issue for years to come. This editorial is spot on. It recognizes
certain realities about how much land we have left to develop and how our
current sprawl development necessitates car dependence which is the most
expensive type of development. Density is coming that is for sure. It will
allow for more public transit options which will allow more people to not own a
car. Also, the idea that high density is related to crime and slums is a myth.
a_voice_of_reasonIt's already happening. Most of my friends from high
school(graduated in the late 2000's) Have moved out of state because the
salaries they can make here don't match up with the cost of living. Look at
the kind of houses you can get in Phoenix, Grand Junction, Spokane, Boise, Chico
or Las Vegas compared to what you get for the same price in Salt Lake. It's
crazy the difference. My wife and I are selling our 2 bed 1 bathroom house on
the west side of SLC(not the greatest neighborhood, 900sq ft house on .20 acres)
for 30K less it will cost us to buy a 5 bed, 3 bad 3200 sq ft house in Spokane
on .40 acres. Plus there is no income tax in Washington. And i got a job where I
actually make more money. What is the point of staying in SLC with our lower
than average wages and higher cost of living?
@Morgan Duel - You hit the nail on the head! This is a dangerous direction, to
say the least!When you look at what these potential slum lords are
getting in rent...it's ridiculous! They are taking advantage of in debt
citizens who cannot afford, especially in these inflated and overpriced real
estate markets, the down payment or qualify for a loan to buy their own home.
As it is now many people pay more in rent for an apartment than they would for a
mortgage on a house. Others pay much more for a high end condo than they would
for a house. We need to build more affordable apartments for young people
Choice is most important. Water is critical and I see nothing happening in
building reservoirs. Real mistake. Capital Hill area is looking like Pueblo
living. WAY over building.
High density requires better transportation solutions. We don’t have that
along the wasatch front.
Twenty five or 30 years from now these high density houses will be listed as the
Herriman Slums with high crime and kids dying because of gang violence! Why
can’t you see that!!
@Orem Parent:"That's a horrible opinion.We
don't want to be packed in like sardines.We like to have a
family home, with a small yard where the kids can play.Why is it so
hard for newspapers and city councils to see that?"My
preferences match yours. I have a single-family home with a fairly large yard.
That's what our family wanted. We saved for it, and we were able to make it
happen. That said, it's not everybody's dream, nor is it feasible for
everyone to have that. The editorial board is right. We can either allow
high-density housing, or we will either have massive tax increases to pay for
transportation infrastructure making commutes from Nephi to Salt Lake
reasonable, or our population will stagnate (followed by our economy) as young
families leave the state to go where they can afford a home for less than an
apartment here. It's math, not a question of personal preferences. There
will always be plenty of single-family homes with yards. An apartment complex
going up in your city/town will not require the demolition of your house. Open
your minds Utah.
Why should Utah escape it? It’s happening everywhere else.
@Orem Parent:Sure, you want a home with a yard and space for the
kids to play. Great. So does everyone else. And Utah no longer has the
available land--to say nothing of the water, or the transportation
infrastructure--for that to be a realistic goal.Supply and demand
economics says that if the resource is scarce, the price will go up. Are you
prepared to spend 40% of your income on that house and yard? 50%? 60%? More?
And what of the people who can't afford such luxury? Where will they live?
"As in Holladay, residents have resisted plans for relatively high-density
housing on the site of the former Cottonwood Mall, arguing the project will
detract from the town’s village-like atmosphere". What is
more important? A village like atmosphere for some, or housing for all?
Ah come on, Mcmansions sitting on 2 acres of land each are Utah's future.
That's a horrible opinion.We don't want to be packed in
like sardines.We like to have a family home, with a small yard where
the kids can play.Why is it so hard for newspapers and city councils
to see that?