Closing the Affordable/Workforce housing gap is key to achieving a Beautiful, Prosperous, Livable Salt Lake City. The Becker Administration’s affordable housing initiative was titled 5000 Affordable Homes in 5 Years. Our current mayor shelved that initiative to create a new one titled Growing SLC – A Five YearPlan 2018-2022 creating 7,500 affordable homes. Both administrations approaches were sound and similar. Fact is, some of the same city associates wrote both plans. As Mayor, I will not hit the re-start button on our affordable housing plan that would cause the loss of precious TIME. My administration will simply update our current plan by adding aggressive “how” and “when” actions to achieve our desired end-result – adding more affordable/workforce housing - NOW.
Leadership is NOT just about passing a new ordinance, creating a new policy or passing another piece of legislation –it is more about rolling up your sleeves and getting actions completed that achieve the GOAL.
There are approximately 190,000 people who commute in and out of the City every day, and according to surveys, 40% of this group want to live in the city but can’t afford to. We need to create solutions, so these people can live where they work and recreate. I believe the affordable housing shortage isn’t 7,500, but closer to 75,000.
To achieve our housing goals, SLC must adopt a form-based zoning approach - zoning to the existing fabric of our neighborhoods. High density will be focused in our downtown area and not in our surrounding neighborhoods. We must build more 400-500 square foot micro apartments that offer zero parking for millennials that choose not to own a vehicle because they prefer to use alternative transportation options like UTA, ride sharing, walking, bikes, scooters, etc. Micro apartments create a true affordable / workforce housing option.
ADUs and SROs also offer some creative solutions to our affordable / workforce housing gap. Helping existing single-family home owners convert their home into a series of rentable single rooms with shared common space and bathrooms for $400 to $600 per month is a viable option to help reduce our housing gap. Supporting some areas of Salt Lake City to plot split their existing homes to add ADUs, like stand-alone tiny modular homes or container homes, creates added income for those homeowners and expands housing availability. We can elevate the quality of life for residents both economically and environmentally. People shouldn’t have to choose between clean air and housing affordability. Instead, residents can choose to reduce mobile emissions by living where they work and recreate.
There are some fantastic projects happening right now in Salt Lake that have been delayed due to our city’s difficult permitting processes. Obtaining a permit in SLC can take up to 18 months or more. These delays cause an increase in the cost to build, which can make the project not so affordable. I pledge to make Salt Lake City’s permitting process fast and friendly. Achieving a permit in 90 days will become the new normal in Salt Lake City.