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Housing Top of Mind at Chamber “Breakfast on the Hill” Thursday

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At our Breakfast on the Hill event last Thursday morning we focused mostly on housing policy. Business leaders, education experts, and local government representatives joined a group of Utah County legislators over waffles (generously sponsored by Western Governors University) to discuss current obstacles to creation of more housing, as well as what can be done to fix it.

The discussion started with S.B. 39 Affordable Housing Amendments, which turned into a broader dialogue about housing policy and local zoning. Sen. Jake Anderegg said the bill intentionally focuses on the low income side of the housing affordability challenge, and would address about 10% of the needed housing units in the state. The Chamber hasn't taken a position on S.B. 39.

Home Builders Association representatives in attendance said that the biggest thing they'd like to see is a review of government regulation on housing. This includes local zoning, as well as building codes and environmental regulation. Ross Ford of the Home Builders Association said that home builders have a natural incentive to want a clean environment (things like water and air), so we need to be reasonable with any regulation. Two bills to watch that impact housing and construction are: HB 226 Storm Water Permitting Amendments and HB 305 Impact Fee Amendments.

Our biggest takeaway from the event is that a broader discussion about any regulations or barriers that limit faster creation of housing stock is warranted. We'll work with our Policy Committee and the Home Builders Association, as well as housing developers in our Chamber to look at the two bills mentioned above and any others relevant to housing/construction, and communicate any Chamber positions to our legislators. We'll also continue the broader dialogue on housing regulations.

Thanks to the legislators, business leaders, and other Chamber members who attended! And don’t forget, our last Breakfast on the Hill event with business leaders and legislators is Thursday, March 5th, at 7am. We will be back in the Copper Room for that one!

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