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Costs of Living 

Incremental Gains, Party Poopers

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Costs of Living
In its anxiety over the housing shortage, Salt Lake City has put itself on a destructive trajectory that appears to be a gimme to developers and a middle finger to low- and middle-income residents. The so-called Affordable Housing Overlay is likely to be as successful as the city's venture into the Accessory Dwelling Unit craze. You know, those "ADUs," which are accessory structures designed for permanent housing and separate from a main structure? Instead, residents duped the city, using at least 1,500 ADU units for short-term rentals, architecture professor Brenda Scheer said in a public hearing. Other critics of the overlay said it would "destroy the character of their communities, lower property values and worsen problems with on-street parking," The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Crazy as it seems, the city thinks $1,400-a-month rent is "affordable." Bill Tibbitts of Crossroads Urban Center suggested they look at California's "no net loss" policy to avoid losing affordable housing, but developers have both money and the city's attention.

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Incremental Gains
Speaking of developers, remember why we moved the state prison from Point of the Mountain? Sure, it could have been rebuilt on-site, but the profit motive won out. Fast forward and the old prison is likely to be demolished sometime this year while The Point will become "a regional model for sustainable residential and commercial growth across Utah as well as a major economic engine," The Salt Lake Tribune reported. At one point, the idea was to save the prison watchtower, which historically would have been a reminder of a cruel past. Preservation Utah then lobbied to save the 61-year-old Chapel by the Wayside, which was a symbol of redemption for many inmates. Last week, members of the land authority were moved to preserve the chapel building, redeeming themselves at least a little.

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Party Poopers
Primary elections are partisan. That's what Utah Republican Party chairman Carson Jorgensen spit out when he took his bag of goodies and left the Utah Debate Commission. Well yeah, they are, but that doesn't mean they have to be rigged. Jorgensen opted the Republicans out of the Utah Debate Commission because he wants to stack the deck with hand-picked moderators and topics the party chose. But the commission stood firm in its independent, nonpartisan mission. "They told me they were an independent organization, and they aren't moving off that position," Jorgensen told The Salt Lake Tribune. The dust-up hearkens back to 1988, when the League of Women Voters stepped away from moderating presidential debates because demands "would perpetuate a fraud on the American voter." Soft-ball questions from duty-bound moderators will do just that.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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