OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – The Ogden City Planning Commission is working on a proposal to add more residential homes to the city amid a tight housing market.
Barton Brierly, Deputy Planning Manager at Ogden City Government, estimates that there are 200 buildings in Ogden that were originally single-family homes and have been converted to businesses over the years.
With the city now facing a demand for housing, some want to convert the commercial buildings back to their original residential use.
“We just have a variety of buildings in Ogden which were originally constructed as single-family dwellings on Washington Boulevard or other commercial areas… so we have quite a few former single-family homes that have been converted to businesses. We had an inquiry from a gentleman who had one that had been converted to a business, and he asked if he could sell it and go back to using it as a house,” Brierly explains. “Our current ordinances don’t allow that because its a commercial zone.”
Now, the planning commission is discussing whether or not the houses should be converted back to the original single-family homes. Brierly says physically, this would not be difficult to do.
“It’s actually not that difficult because they were originally constructed as single-family houses… just the zoning currently didn’t allow that,” he says. Going from residential to commercial is usually more difficult, he explains.
He says though the commission hasn’t really received any opposition to the idea, there is a concern that converting the buildings to residential use might be unhelpful to business in the area.
“The main concern is that these are commercial areas and in general, we want to encourage businesses to use them as businesses. We want to encourage new businesses, and this is an opportunity to bring business to Ogden, to have vital commercial areas where people want to shop and do business,” Brierly states. “We want to be careful about losing too much of our commercial land supply…”
The planning commission sees this as an “opportunity to encourage rehabilitation of some older buildings as opposed to letting them continue to deteriorate, and they did feel like this was an opportunity to provide some additional housing in a tight housing market,” he states. “There is in general, Utah is having a housing shortage and so people are looking at these former homes as a place to live.”
According to ogdencity.com, 49% of renter households and 28.5% of owner-occupied households with a mortgage experience housing cost burden, which is defined as housing costs higher than 30% of household income.
The proposal still needs to go to the City Council, where it may or may not be approved.