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Heber City Council to discuss affordable housing strategies

Ken Lund on Flickr

Facing a dearth of affordable housing across the Wasatch Back, Heber City leaders will meet with housing solutions advocates Tuesday, June 18.

Amid growing housing pressures, Heber leaders will discuss ways to address the city’s lack of affordable housing during their meeting Tuesday evening.

The conversations come after Councilmember Mike Johnston described the impact of the workforce housing shortage on the city in stark terms at last month’s Wasatch Back Economic Summit.

“It’s a huge problem for us," he said. "We cannot find workers. We have no workforce housing. All we can hire is people that already live in Wasatch or Summit [counties], and we’ve been cherry-picking those people out of Park City…. We can’t hire firefighters…. We can’t hire police officers. We can’t hire teachers. We can’t hire people to work in the hospital. We’re losing businesses.”

The 4 p.m. work session will begin with a presentation from Steve Waldrip, the governor’s senior advisor for housing strategy and innovation. He’ll speak about the statewide housing crisis and the need for owner-occupied homes in Heber. Waldrip will also explain new financing tools that Utah cities and developers can use to create affordable housing.

He will be followed by Mountainlands Community Housing Trust representatives Jason Glidden and Angelica Espinoza. They’ll talk about their organization’s contract with the Wasatch County Housing Authority to implement deed restrictions and help people buy homes.

During the meeting’s regular session at 6 p.m., representatives from Habitat for Humanity will speak to the council about their projects in the community and who qualifies for services.

Housing solutions can be elusive. For most new developments, just a small share of affordable units is required. In plans for one Jordanelle Ridge neighborhood, for example, 14 of the 355 units – or about 4% – will be affordable.

One larger project in the works is the Celebration housing development, which would add 230 units of affordable housing near Wasatch High School. The development is still making its way through approval processes after a city council discussion in April, when some councilmembers raised concerns about the proposal’s impact on traffic and density downtown.

More information about Tuesday’s meeting and a link to attend online can be found on Heber City's website.

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