Town & County

Heber City Planning Commission to discuss 40% affordable housing deficit in public input meeting

HEBER CITY, Utah – In 2019, the Utah State Legislature passed SB 34, requiring cities to address moderate income housing in the General Plan and list a minimum of 3 strategies to address the affordable housing need. Since then, the Heber City Planning Commission has drafted plans to address the need for affordable housing, and is now asking for the public’s opinion.

The Heber City Planning Commission is holding a meeting today at 6 p.m. to discuss the moderate income housing plan. The meeting can be attended either in person at Heber City town hall, or virtually. To attend the meeting virtually, please refer to Heber City’s website.

Moderate income housing is currently defined in Utah Code 10-9-307 as ‘‘housing occupied or reserved for occupancy by households with a gross household income equal to or less than 80% of the median gross income for households of the same size in the County in which the City is located.”

In 2022, Wasatch County’s department of housing and urban development identified the median family income for a family of four, which is $108,200. That means to qualify for moderate income housing in Heber City, a family of four must make less than 80% of $108,200, which is a bit less than $87,000.

In Utah state code, moderate income housing is defined by ‘gross household income’, which means the income of all residents living on the property, regardless of relation or dependency.

In 2020, the Heber City Planning Commission did a survey on household incomes and the value of owner-occupied homes in Heber City. According to the survey, the median household income in Heber City is $90,000, while the median value of owner-occupied homes is $289,500. According to the same survey, a home must be valued at $275,500 or less to be considered affordable.

This means that in 2o2o, the median household in Heber City was only $3,000 away from qualifying for affordable housing in the county, yet the average independently owned home in town was $14,000 too expensive.

To combat this problem, Heber City has multiple development projects in construction, and these developments have agreed to provide some units for affordable housing. The Sawmill, Orchard, Wasatch Vista, Parkview Place, Heber Meadows North, and Coyote Ridge developments will provide an estimated 583 affordable homes to the Heber Valley in the next five years.

Construction on Coyote Ridge development in Heber City. Photo: Townlift

While there is progress being made, Heber City is still projecting an affordable housing shortage in the next five years if more affordable homes are not built. By 2027, there is a projected need of 953 affordable homes, which is 370 less than the 583 projected to be completed by that time.

According to the Heber City Planning Commission, “To meet the projected need of 953 units, the remaining 370 needed units would have to come from the future 931 Market Rate units. The additional needed units equate to 40% of the remaining 931 projected future units. That is, 40% of all future market rate units needs to be affordable.”

To meet the projected demands of affordable housing, Heber City will ask developers to reserve 953 of 1514 projected new units for affordable housing. These units are expected to be completed in the next five years. Heber City will also continue to foster relationships with non-profit and grant programs to help provide more affordable housing.

Wasatch County has had a County-Wide Nexus Study done for affordable housing, which shows Heber has a need of 14% of all future residential units to be affordable housing.

To voice your questions, comments, or concerns on the subject, attend the meeting today at 6 p.m. or learn more on the planning commission’s website.

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