Provo Municipal Council passes 2019 budget

Provo City Center is pictured Wednesday, March 21, 2018. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

The Provo Municipal Council began discussion on an ordinance providing optional overlay zones allowing accessory apartments in basements of owner-occupied homes and detached apartments — including tiny homes.

During Tuesday’s work session the council heard from Dave Knecht representing the housing committee on the issue.

Affordable housing was one catalyst for bringing the idea forward.

Knecht said while the ordinance would address more affordable housing, the main reason the housing committee was bringing it forward for discussion was because there is a redundancy in the code.

The idea of allowing basement accessory apartments has received a large number of responses on several social media posts.

One of the main concerns of those responding is homes remaining owner occupied. There is no guarantee that will happen and is hard to enforce.

While popular in other settings, it doesn’t appear residents are clamoring to build tiny homes for aging parents or children in their back yards from other social media posts.

“So far no one has come back and said I want a detached option,” Knecht said. “They must have a minimum of a 6,000-square-foot lot.”

The accessory apartment and detached accessory were adopted for county land when Utah County commissioners unanimously voted Aug. 20 to allow them in the unincorporated areas.

The intent of the county ordinance is to create more housing opportunities in unincorporated Utah County for people of differing income levels, according to the ordinance language. It could include renting out someone’s basement, or building a smaller “accessory apartment” on the property.

Off-street parking, the number of renters allowed in an accessory and setback requirements were a part of the discussion.

The question asked by some residents is how to provide four off-street parking spots. Suggestions included two on street and two off street as an alternative.

“It may be that parking will be a case-by-case basis,” Knecht said. “Off-street parking is required.”

Residents in the Wasatch neighborhood are concerned that owners live in the main unit only, Knecht said, in reference to potential detached apartments and tiny homes. It is in the verbiage of the ordinance.

Councilman George Stewart said he hoped the ordinance stays close to where it already is.

“We need more time to think about it,” Stewart said.

David Harding, council chair said, “We need to be very careful and have more time for public feedback.”

“The health and safety of the community is the most important,” Stewart said.

The council is seeking more time to study and discuss the issue before it is sent to planning commission.

The council voted unanimously to address the issue again in the Sept. 10 council work session.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

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