West Valley City leaders need to say ‘no’ to Salt Lake County’s proposed shelter in our city. If West Valley City’s leadership really wanted to, they could stop it.
West Valley City leaders have no authority to stop a homeless shelter. The Utah State Legislature recently passed HB441 which says cities cannot stop a homeless shelter from being built within their borders. The bill stripped authority from cities and put it in the hands of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. While our city leaders can’t stop the shelter on their own, they are committed to fighting alongside West Valley City’s concerned residents and business owners. We will work together to demand that our voices are heard.
West Valley City leaders should use zoning laws to stop a homeless shelter from being built in West Valley City.
We wish that we could, but the legislature specifically took away our ability to stop shelters. The legislature recently passed HB441 which says we cannot put into place any zoning regulation in an effort to stop the building of a shelter. The bill also says that Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams doesn’t even have to consider the zoning regulations that are already in place in our city. This is our city and we want a say in its future. We are seeing a significant uptick in economic development in West Valley City and have worked hard to lay plans that ensure this positive trend continues. We are extremely distressed that our carefully laid plans will be disrupted by this overreach. What can we do? We can fight together to make our voices heard.
I live on the west side of West Valley City. A shelter on the other side of the city won’t hurt me or my neighborhood.
This is wrong. The entire city will suffer from the impact of a homeless shelter. Homeless shelters require substantial public safety support and neither the West Valley City Fire Department nor the West Valley City Police Department have the ability to sustain such a significant draw on their resources. Response times will suffer. Service will suffer. You will pay more property taxes. Our residents deserve better.
Things to consider:
Our WVC Fire Department had its busiest year ever in 2016 with more than 11,000 calls answered by our crews. 2017 is already on pace to surpass those numbers. WVCFD Chief John Evans explains, "Last year was the busiest year in our history for our Fire Department. The burden of a new homeless shelter is unsustainable." The West Valley City Fire Department is already one of the most efficiently managed fire departments in the valley. It cannot be stretched any further without jeopardizing our ability to serve the residents of our city. Chief Evans explains, "Our Fire Department is doing all we can and it is not fair for our residents to shoulder the added cost for added services that come with a homeless shelter."
West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo shares the same concerns. Chief Russo served as the chief of police in a city that housed a homeless shelter. His insight into the impact a shelter might have is invaluable. "I can tell you that the impact is considerable," explains Chief Russo. "When police respond to calls at these facilities, it's not just one officer going, it's two. I have eight patrol beats. If two officers go to a call at this facility, that's 25% of my on duty staffing at that moment. That means communities will be left unguarded." Chief Russo adds, "Our city is simply being told that we have to accept this and that we have to deal with it. This puts communities at risk and we are very concerned about that."