U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is sponsoring legislation that would allow state and local governments to buy federal land to help curb the nation’s housing shortage.
The grant will open up unused space to ensure accommodation legislation, or Housing Lawallows local governments to purchase federal land and land under the Bureau of Land Management below market value.
BLM rejects the bill. Senate committee testimony Published in June of this year, the agency stated that it opposes the action because it “needs to sell land without adequate evaluation to the public or future generations or adequate compensation to the American taxpayer.”
Federal government 63% owner The land in Utah. Lee addressed the audience at the event on August 15. Sutherland InstituteA Utah-based conservative-leaning think tank, that much BLM land is “just sitting there” and not “environmentally sensitive.”
Federally protected monuments, parks or wilderness areas are not eligible for purchase in the bill.
Lee’s proposal would amend the federal Land Policy and Management Act to allow a state or local government to designate public land for residential use. The Ministry of Home Affairs will have to approve the selected land.
A Report of the Joint Economic Committee Opening up federal land for housing in the HOUSES Act would fill 35% of Utah’s housing shortage.
The report also estimated that 4.7 million more Americans could buy a home because of the bill, with the average household spending 30 percent or less of their income on a mortgage or rent. An additional 21% of Utahns can afford a home, the report says.
currently, More than 70% The value of Utahns is beyond home ownership.
Included in the bill is legislation that would require housing development to be “for people in need,” and not for residents looking to buy a second home, vacation home or investment property. Additionally, at least 85% of the purchased land must be used for residential purposes and related community needs such as grocery stores and schools. More than 15 percent of the land cannot accommodate commercial activities.
The bureau notes that some lands owned by the federal government can be sold, but not “endangered species, cultural or historic resources, mineral claims, mining leases, rights of way, hazardous materials, or grazing permits.”
Under the HOUSES Act, once public land is identified by a state or local government, the Department of the Interior has one year to approve the sale. If the department does not meet the deadline, the land will be considered sold.
The BLM takes issue with the proposed timeline because it does not allow the agency the time necessary to survey the land for potential problems or conduct an environmental assessment.
Additionally, the BLM suggests that lands that were once considered habitable may no longer be.
Some land may be considered “economic” to manage. Other areas may be used for a variety of purposes, such as solar or wind energy development, new conservation designations, oil and gas leases, listing of new threatened and endangered species, establishing rights-of-way or other impairments. “
Lee told KUER that this is his top priority this year. The HOUSES Act was brought up in Congress but did not get very far.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Lee said. “Such a major change does not go from introduction to promulgation in a short period of time.”
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