Historic District Moratorium Approved by Senate

Senate Majority Whip Wayne Niederhauser (R-Sandy)

(KCPW News) A state lawmaker from Sandy is intervening in a conflict in Salt Lake City’s Yalecrest neighborhood between preservation and property rights. Utah Senate Majority Whip Wayne Niederhauser’s bill would impose a one-year moratorium on new historic districts, which restrict how a home can be remodeled. Critics of the bill say it’s not the state’s role to intervene in a local issue. KCPW’s Jeff Robinson asked Senator Niederhauser what prompted him to sponsor this legislation.


Niederhauser’s SB 243, imposing a one-year moratorium on new historic districts, passed the Senate Wednesday on a 20-to-6 vote. The Senate will formally vote on it one more time before it moves to the House.

  1. Jon Dewey

    SB 243
    What about my property rights? Don’t I have a right to the protection of my property value? If a monster house is built next to me and invades my privacy, obstructs my view and sunlight and ruins the charm and character of my block face that would diminish my property value. The original Monster House in Yalecrest on the 1700 block of Hubbard is still vacant. It’s never been occupied and was built in 1998, all 10,000 sq. ft. of it.
    Also when is someone going to stop the misinformation. Senator Niederhauser repeated, again, that you cannot change your color of your house. This is NOT true. The guidelines that exist are that, guidelines, not mandates and there is a process to get approval for additions, that is if your plans even have to go through the approval process. Most additions don’t even rise to that level, check with the city on the stats. My addition that I’m currently building had to go through the local historic district process during the city’s 6 month moratorium when local historic district guidelines were in place, these were put in place to protect the neighborhood while the process evolved, allowing input from all sides. If Niederhauser’s bill is passed there is no built in protection for the neighborhood, it will be a free for all and the erroding of character and charm and scale will certainly continue in Yalecrest. Where is the protection in his bill? It is not fair to both sides, only one.
    And regarding compensation, your interview is the first I’ve heard of that angle. In fact I’ll be receiving state tax credits for my in compliance addition. 20% of the job in tax credits, there’s the compensation. You comply you get compensated, it’s a win, win.
    There is so much wrong and bad information that has gone on and gone deep. The tactics being used to derail the local historic district in Yalecrest, by rising to the level of the State Legislature is reprehesible. It’s a local issue. Westmoreland Place received their designation and we started the process at the same time. Just because the opponents of the local historic district wrongly believed they weren’t being heard, and that they just couldn’t change the process to their desire fueled them to go beyond the neighborhoods and city’s bounds.
    Jon Dewey
    1724 E. Princeton
    17 yr. Yalecrest resident

  2. Jeoff Johnson

    I disagree with Mr. Dewey on this issue and I believe that sighting the infamous Garage Mahal on the 1700 block of Hubbard as demonstrating a need for an LHD is more disingenuous than saying that paint color would be controlled under LHD guidelines. Has Mr. Dewey forgotten that he helped craft the existing Yalecrest Overlay which prevents another Garage Mahal? Focusing on “paint color” (while ignoring the myriad of other restrictions that come with an LHD) or the “ Garage Mahal” is misleading and misses the following larger question:

    Should a neighborhood have a direct say as to whether it adopts LHD guidelines? If so, what minimum percentage of the neighborhood’s property owners should be in favor of said LHD before a City or municipality is allowed to adopt one?

    I would like to know what property right Mr. Dewey had when he purchased his home 14 years ago that he doesn’t have now? I’m curious too why it’s a democratic process when he and the rest of his group submit a petition calling for adoption of LHD for the entire neighborhood (without verifiable majority support) but it’s “reprehensible” for another group to seek protection from the State legislature?

    Most people would define “reprehensible” as the actions of someone snooping into another’s tax records or making things so miserable that several good families move away from the Yalecrest neighborhood.

    The State was asked to intervene because most of the neighborhood is against having the draconian guidelines of an LHD forced upon it. Whenever there was any manner of vote in the neighborhood meetings, 65-70% voted against LHD. Additionally, far from a “free for all” according to the City there have been no applications or permits for demolition issued since the temporary moratorium was lifted in September of 2010.

    There is no imminent danger to the Yalecrest neighborhood, yet the City was marching right ahead to impose an LHD on the Yalecrest neighborhood without any verifiable consensus. The City has failed in its process and the State is acting properly to safeguard homeowners’ property rights.

    It’s BECAUSE so many of us have felt that “we weren’t being heard”, that we welcome the State’s intervention and an improvement to the City’s process. Mayor Becker and Councilman Martin repeatedly stated that they would not support LHD adoption unless the majority of the neighborhood wanted it.

    Now, with a nudge from the State, the City will have an opportunity, during a one year moratorium, to establish among other things a process for a verifiable vote by affected property owners.

    Sounds democratic to me.