Insights Gained From Trying to Settle in Utah County Outside of Incorporated Cities

  1. Utah County alone comprises 2,144  square miles but due to government regulations, 96% of its citizens must compete for 4% of the land inside incorporated cities, making new farms emerge nearly impossible. 
  2. Despite the housing shortage, in 2018 Utah County granted subdivision approval for fewer than twelve lots.
  3. Steep Utah home prices are breaking up families, causing children to leave the state.
  4. Underground water rights are time bombs with expiration dates. The Utah Department of Water Rights requires proof of designated use or owners will lose their water rights and must cement up their wells.
  5. Above groundwater shares for flood irrigation are not transferable across canal companies, making them unavailable for most lands west of I-15. 
  6. The United Nations reports flood irrigation has destroyed land worldwide the size of the country of France. Apostle John A. Widtsoe’s solution was dry farming. Few today have heard of or read his book.
  7. Utah County requires twenty times more water for a 5.25-acre lot than is needed for culinary use in a home.
  8. Settling in county lands likely requires families to build, pave and dedicate a road because regulations require driveways to connect directly to a county or state road without passing through an inch of private land. Regulators do not permit dead ends, cul-de-sacs, dirt or gravel roads, or to build roads in segments. Our 3/4-mile horseshoe-shaped road cost us hundreds of thousands and then Utah County required we pay another $6k in greenbelt rollback taxes.
  9. Power must be installed — solar, wind, geothermal solutions are disallowed.
  10. Under the Utah Farmland Assessment Act (FAA) of 1969 (aka greenbelt taxes), the Utah County Assessor requires farm production plus profit. Considering most food is purchased abroad for multi-national stores, local farmers have limited markets. 

    Even before livestock arrives to graze, the county assessor, armed with online aerial photos looks for production decencies and then withdraws land from greenbelt status, forcing five years of rollback taxes, inflicting unrecoverable financial distress.
  11. The Utah Noxious Weed Act criminalizes all citizens who have noxious weeds growing on their property. Utah County’s list contains 54 noxious weeds. Failure to comply can result in prosecution. Eradicating noxious weeds could take years. Utah County’s page for the noxious weed Hoary Cress says “Complete control is not expected in one year’s time. For control/eradication of an infestation, it may take years of consecutive monitoring and treatments.” Utah County 14.12.C.9 requires noxious weed certification for subdivision approval which is, without doubt, a tyrannical roadblock. As long as the wind blows, noxious weed seeds will spread.
  12. Brigham Young taught that young men should build a 10×10 home, beautify its exterior with flowers and shade trees and attract a wife. Today we call those tiny homes.