Utah Sen. Jake Anderegg’s recently-filed affordable housing proposal encourages the state’s cities and towns to allow the construction of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, in order to increase the supply of housing.

The proposal also includes an expansion of the state’s low-interest lending fund for affordable housing construction, and encourages high-density development near transit lines.

State law requires cities — but only encourages towns — to adopt at least two or more strategies to foster housing construction. SB34 would refine that to call on housing policies that serve “residents of various income levels.”

Under the bill, housing plans submitted by cities must include an analysis of “how the municipality will provide a realistic opportunity for the development of moderate income housing within the next five years.”

Anderegg called SB34’s promotion of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, also known as mother-in-law apartments, “low-hanging fruit” in terms of the potential to generate new housing, especially in largely built-out cities. Cities typically encourage ADUs by loosening zoning restrictions in existing residential areas, letting homeowners build new dwellings in their homes, garages or as stand-alone backyard units.

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