I have read with interest the “Erda Incorporation Feasibility Study” prepared by Zion’s Public Finance. The study identifies the current population of Erda at 2,927 residents, projecting that population to grow to only 3,629 in five years. I believe this projection to be low. Development pressures from neighboring Stansbury Park will result in residential development in the new Erda City that exceeds historic trends. Further, the new LDS Tooele Valley Temple “will likely stimulate residential growth such as townhomes and condominiums, which are attractive to a retired population near the Temple site” (Study at page 16).
Utah law requires cities with populations over 5,000 to prepare a Moderate Income Housing Plan. In the near-term, Erda City will have to prepare such a plan, which will require Erda City to allow the construction of moderate income housing. (See UCA 10-9a-401 and -403.) This housing will require lots smaller than one acre, smaller even than one-quarter acre, as well as condominiums, townhouses and apartments. This is a good thing, since all cities should accommodate a healthy mix of income and age demographics. Lower-income people are not “those people” to whom a city’s doors should be shut.
It is my understanding that a main objective of Erda’s incorporation is to seize from Tooele County control over Erda’s development destiny. If Erda’s incorporators want to control development by prohibiting higher densities and smaller lots, incorporation is exactly the opposite way to go about it. Erda’s incorporation will result in less control over residential density, not more, because of State moderate-income housing requirements. Erda’s best development-control approach will be a good relationship with the County Commission/County Council.