Saturday, February 11, 2006

RDA Bill Unveiled

First, I should apologize for not writing more frequently. With the state legislature in session and in my role as the Utah APA Legislative Chair, much of my free time to blog has been taken up instead with writing legislative updates and getting them out to the Utah APA legislative email network. I'd love to spend more time writing and blogging, but the realities of life and job just make it hard. OK, enough whining.

Sen. Bramble has released the language for the rewrite of the RDA laws for the state, something that has been worked on for the last year. The bill, SB196, has been pretty much agreed to by all the groups involved. While it preserves RDAs as a tool for community and economic development, it is somewhat more cumbersome and not as easy to use as it has been in the past. Of ocurse, some of this change is the result of abuses, both real and perceived, by some communities. Why is it that we can never leave well enough alone, but instead find ways to twist and misshape tools that were intended for one purpose, thus causing us problems as legislators are brought into the picture? What we really should have been doing is going to local and legislative leaders saying, "this tool is not working as well as it should, and is not addressing the problems we really need to address. Can we craft a new tool (or changes?). But I also realize the political reality that unless something is about at crises stage, no one will pay attention to it.

Stories in the Trib and DesNews are good summaries of what is happening with this bill. This tool is sorely needed to give us a way to both redevelop older areas, and provide infrastructure improvement for areas for economic growth. We need to pay more attention to the latter, and find ways to make it even better.

The successor land use bills to SB170 are coming down to the home stretch, with only about two and a half weeks left in the legislative session. SB267 is easy to support, but SB268 needs some work. We shall see what happens this coming week.

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