Why Does Utah Have a Housing Crisis?

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.

Brigham Young on Young Men and Small Homes

by Robert John Stevens, February 18, 2016

Brigham Young founded 350 to 400 settlements in Utah, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming, and established a system of land distribution later ratified by Congress.

He taught that young men should build a 10×10 home and beautify its exterior with flowers and shade trees1, and that a one-and-one-quarter-acre city lot was large enough to sustain a small family.2

Considering how difficult the U.S. Government has made it for young families to form independent households, and for innovators to start and succeed, consider how much more relevant Brigham Young’s wisdom is today.

I have a solution for U.S. public lands: Let entrepreneurs and their families homestead it so they can live and work together inexpensively, and if their efforts result in entrepreneurial success that benefits the human family then let them have it.

Here is an example of a modern 160 Sq Ft Home.

1 Discourses of Brigham Young by John A. Widtsoe. I’ll post the specifics later.

“I will give each of the young men in Israel, who have arrived at an age to marry, a mission to go straightway and get married to a good sister, fence a city lot, lay out a garden and orchard and make a home, and especially do not forget to plant a proper proportion of mulberry trees. This is the mission that I give to all the young men in Israel. And I say to you, sisters, if you do not know how to milk a cow, you can soon learn. If you do not know how to feed the cows, you can learn. If you do not know how to feed the chickens, get them and learn how, and if your husband takes you to live in ever so small and humble a cottage, make it neat and nice and clean, and set out flowers around the doors, and let the husband plant fruit trees and shade trees, and let wives help their husbands that they may be encouraged to take hold of more important business that will create an income sufficient to sustain their wives, and by economy and care become wealthy in a short time, and have your carriage to ride in. What a satisfaction it will be to you to know that what you possess is the result of your industry and economy.” — Journal of Discourses Vol 12, p. 200

2 “A central public problem was finding places to accommodate the incoming Saints. Salt Lake City was divided into ten-acre blocks, and each family head was allotted by community drawing a one-and-one-fourth-acre lot on one of the blocks in the city. There people would keep their livestock, gardens, and other “home” properties. — Leonard Arrington on Brigham Young