City council puts hold on new housing developments in West Valley City

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- New housing developments have been put on hold in West Valley City-- largely because the city is simply running out of land.

On Tuesday night, the city council approved a 6-month moratorium on new zoning applications.

“This land is ripe for development, we just want to make sure we get it right and the development that ends up on the ground represents the legacy that these pieces really are,” said Nicole Cottle, who is West Valley City’s Community and Economic Development Director.

West Valley City, Utah’s second largest city, has 35 square miles of land within its city limits-- only a small fraction of which isn’t developed.

The city council voted unanimously to impose a moratorium on new housing zones – giving the city a chance to make sure every open acre counts.

“This is actually a very innovative use of the moratorium process that state law has granted us,” Cottle said. “It's innovative because the city council wants to use this time to really produce a collaborative effort between the property owners that own parcels in our city, developers that are interested in developing, and the city council.”

The open areas are already allocated for homes. But the city wants to decide what type of homes will be built and if there will be amenities like trails in the neighborhood. Even though the moratorium is short, builders said it will have an impact.

“A moratorium of any kind can affect the homeowner, the landowner, the future homeowners, the developers, the builders, the city themselves--because it puts a stop to development,” said Jaren Davis, the Executive Officer for the Salt Lake Home Builders Association.

Davis has been working with West Valley City, and he said he hopes zoning decisions will be based on supply and demand.

“We appreciate any city municipality to take the effort to decide what it is the residents want in their community and develop out that community that meets the ideals but that works collectively,” Davis said.

The moratorium is set to last for 6 months, but city officials said it’s not likely they’ll need that much time.