August 26, 2018, By Robert John Stevens
Written in response to Utah has a ‘housing crisis’ in a lack of affordable homes:
Utah governments and their hundreds of pages of regulations are responsible for Utah’s housing crisis by making it financially impossible to settle.
When 19th-century pioneers were asked to settle lands, they moved onto them and went to work.
Today you can’t move onto your land and build. You must ask for government permission every step of the way.
You will be required to pay for 1) a government-mandated perk test, 2) soil test, 3) soil exploratory pits for underground water level tests, 4) piezometers and a year of government water-level monitoring, 4) well-water quality tests, 5) an environmental impact study, 6) plat drawings, 7) multiple title reports as requested, 8) a subdivision feasibility letter, 9) noxious weed certification, 10) water rights, 11) a well, 12) a waste-water treatment system and drain field, 12) power brought to your property and connected to your home, 13) gas or propane, and 14) And to build, pave and dedicate a road.
Utah County’s annual budget is $85 million. How many miles of new sewer and municipal waste-water treatment systems do they build? None.
Because of government regulations, 96% of Utahans compete for 4% of the land in towns.
Utah County where I live does not want new settlement unless they are done by cities. In my case, I have two lots that were finished 19 months ago and but denied subdivision approval because the county requires their driveways to connect directly to a state or county road and must not pass through twelve feet of my interior, private paved road.
What can be done? Here are some ideas to consider:
- Allow private roads, especially those that will have low traffic. The public doesn’t want to pay for the maintenance of low-traffic roads.
- Allow roads to be completed in phases as cities do. This makes the most sense.
- Bond for temporary cul-de-sacs but don’t build them
- Grant subdivision approval but deny a building permit.
That will enable a seller to sell a lot. Escrow the funds to pave and dedicate the road.
Once dedicated, allow a building permit. It would be difficult to convince a buyer of this.
It was never my intention to be a land developer. I thought people could buy farmland and move onto it. Utah County has so many utility requirements that I had to develop and sell off lots to pay for them. For example, I could have used geothermal, solar and/or wind energy instead of having more than a half mile of trench dug and cable installed for Rocky Mountain Power.
Most people can only imagine there’s a lot of hoops to jump through.
The difficulty is fighting tyrannical governments and their hundreds of pages of stale, corrupted, inflexible laws, and dealing with their employee’s unrighteous dominion and animosity towards We the People.
If you’ve ever had to buy a service from the government or get their permission to do something, you know that they are usually awful to deal with. No service that private markets can render should be monopolized by governments.
I’ve attended dozens of county and planning meetings and have never heard the word liberty used outside of the Pledge of Allegiance. Some employees feel it is the proper role of government to provide for the safety, welfare and health of the people; they forget that Founding Fathers knew the property role of government was to protect liberty–your right to do whatever you please without government intervention as long as you don’t hurt your neighbors. There is a huge difference.
— Robert John Stevens, February 6, 2018
by Robert John Stevens, June 23, 2016
Community-established regulations may work better than government-establishment regulations because government-established regulations are usually created by government employees who don’t personally experience the need, pain or side effects.
Years ago when Microsoft tried to create their own standards for Internet Explorer (IE) they created problems for millions or programmers. Today most programmers wish IE would just disappear. Fortunately it continues to lose market share.
The United States was established as independent states where each can innovate without interference and the best ideas are independently tested and adopted by other states.
It would be a very interesting test to see if community standards can replace government regulations. If one town, city, county or state successfully embarked on it, even with a small subset of their regulations, it would be a role model and case study for the rest of the nation.
Government would again be returned to the people, its rightful owners. The size of government would diminish. Innovation would flourish. The act of replacing government regulations with community standards may go viral.