New Utah law banning land-use voter initiatives may be unconstitutional

The Saint ReportPlanning and Zoning, saintblogLeave a Comment

In March The Saint Report aired concerns raised in the Law of the Land blog about a new law in Utah that prohibits the use of local initiatives for land use ordinances or changes in land use ordinances (see Controversial new Utah law limits land use initiative and referenda).

Now Cathy McKitrick reports in the Salt Lake City Tribune that the state attorney general’s office believes the new law may violate Utah’s constitutional provisions concerning initiatives. Dan Harrie, another blogger at the Tribune, suggested that like a defective car there should be a Lemon Law for laws.

Utah’s law, known as SB 53, prohibits voters from requiring that the implementation of a land use ordinance be submitted to the voters, and it comes at a time when other states, like Florida, consider a constitutional amendment — such as the Florida Hometown Democracy amendment — to require local referenda if a county or city wishes to amend its comprehensive plans for land use.

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