Advisory Opinion Topics

 

Each Advisory Opinion Topic is briefly explained below, including links to Opinions focusing on that topic.  For more information, please contact the Ombudsman Office.

 

Use the search bar at the top of any page to conduct a keyword search of the entire Website, including the Advisory Opinion library.

Appealing Land Use Decisions

The “Appealing Land Use Decisions” Advisory Opinion topic covers appeals of land use decisions. Appeals is not on the list of Advisory Opinion topics found in § 13-43-205, but, as they are an important aspect of land use, they may be addressed in conjunction with another topic.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-701 to -803 and 17-27a-701 to -803
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Appealing Land Use Decisions Opinions

Application Review Fees

The “Application Review Fees” Advisory Opinion topic includes questions about the fees charged by local governments to process a development application. Review fees should be reasonable, and should not exceed the costs to process and approve the application.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-510 and 17-27a-509
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Application Review Fees Opinions

Compelling, Countervailing Interests

The “Compelling, Countervailing Interests” Advisory Opinion topic refers to an exception to the Vested Rights Rule. An applicant may not claim vested rights in a development application if there is a compelling, countervailing public interest that would be jeopardized if the application were approved.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509 and 17-27a-508
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Compelling, Countervailing Interests Opinions

Complete Land Use Application

The “Complete Land Use Application” Advisory Opinion topic addresses when a land use application is considered complete, and ready for consideration. An application is considered complete when it complies with the local government’s requirements, and all fees have been paid.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509(1)(f) and 17-27a-508(1)(f)
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Complete Land Use Application Opinions

Compliance With Land Use Ordinances

The “Compliance With Land Use Ordinances” Advisory Opinion topic concerns the statutory requirement that local governments must comply with the terms of applicable land use ordinances. In other words, a local government may not ignore its own land use ordinances.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509(2) and 17-27a-508(2)
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Compliance With Land Use Ordinance Opinions

Conditional Use Applications

The “Conditional Use Applications” Advisory Opinion topic covers all aspects of conditional uses, which are land uses designated as “conditional” because unique characteristics require special consideration of the use.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-507 and 17-27a-506
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Conditional Use Applications Opinions

Development Bonds

The “Development Bonds” Advisory Opinion topic concerns financial guarantees (often in the form of bonds) required when a development application is approved. Local governments may require bonds to provide funds to complete public improvements when needed. Development Bonds is not on the list of Advisory Opinion topics found in § 13-43-205, but, as they are an important aspect of land use, they may be addressed in conjunction with another topic.
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Development Bonds Opinions

Entitlement to Application Approval (Vested Rights)

The “Entitlement to Application Approval (Vested Rights)” Advisory Opinion topic concerns Utah’s “Vested Rights Rule.” That rule states that an applicant for land development is entitled to approval, if the application complies with the zoning ordinances in place on the date the application was filed.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509(1)(a)(ii) and 17-27a-508(1)(a)(ii)
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Entitlement to Application Approval (Vested Rights) Opinions

Exactions on Development

The “Exactions on Development” Advisory Opinion topic concerns exactions, which are property donations required by a local government to obtain development approval.
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Utah Code Ann. §§ 10-9a-508 and 17-27a-507
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Exactions on Development Opinions

Impact Fees Act

The “Impact Fees Act” Advisory Opinion topic concerns impact fees, which are charged to help pay for facilities needed because of new development. The Opinions cover all aspects of impact fees, including calculation, enactment, and administration.
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Utah Code §§ 11-36-101 to -705
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Impact Fees Act Opinions

Interpretation of Ordinances

The “Interpretation of Ordinances” Advisory Opinion topic includes how local government interpret and apply their ordinances and laws. Often, a land use decision turns on how an ordinance is interpreted. Interpretation of Ordinances is not on the list of Advisory Opinion topics found in § 13-43-205, but, as it is an important aspect of land use, it may be addressed in conjunction with another topic.
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Interpretation of Ordinance Opinions

Limit on Single Family Designation

The “Limit on Single Family Designation” Advisory Opinion topic concerns a provision in the Utah Code establishing minimum limits on the number of unrelated individuals that may be allowed in a residential unit.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-505.5 and 17-27a-505.5
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Limit on Single Family Designation Opinions

Nonconforming Uses & Structures

The “Nonconforming Uses & Structures” Advisory Opinion topic concerns nonconforming (or “grandfathered”) uses and structures, including questions of when a use qualifies for nonconforming status, and when a use must be discontinued.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-511 and 17-27a-510
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Nonconforming Uses & Structures Opinions

Occupation or Use of Property

The “Occupation or Use of Property” Advisory Opinion topic addresses claims that a condemning agency is occupying or using private property without legal authority. A property owner may request an Advisory Opinion to review whether the agency has proper authority to use the property.
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Utah Code § 13-43-205(2)
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Occupation or Use of Property Opinions

Pending Ordinances

The “Pending Ordinances” Advisory Opinion topic relates to an exception to the Vested Rights Rule. If a local government has already initiated ordinance changes when a land use application is filed, the applicant may not claim a vested right to approval of the application under the ordinance language being changed.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509(1)(e) and 17-27a-508(1)(e)
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Pending Ordinances Opinions

Proceeding With Reasonable Diligence

The “Proceeding With Reasonable Diligence” Advisory Opinion topic concerns a developer’s responsibility to begin work on an approved project, or else risk losing any vested rights acquired for that project.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509(1)(g) and 17-27a-508(1)(g)
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Proceeding With Reasonable Diligence Opinions

Requirements Imposed On Development

The “Requirements Imposed On Development” Advisory Opinion topic refers to requirements or conditions imposed by local governments when development applications are approved.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509(1)(h) & (i) and 17-27a-508(1)(h) & (i)
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Requirements Imposed on Development Opinions

Review for Application Completeness

The “Review for Application Completeness” Advisory Opinion topic refers to a statute which mandates that a local government determine whether a development application is complete and ready for consideration within a reasonable time after the application is filed. If a decision is not made within a reasonable time, an applicant may request that the government make its determination within 30 days.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509.5(1) and 17-27a-509.5(1)
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Review for Application Completeness Opinions

Review of Warranty Work

The “Review of Warranty Work” Advisory Opinion topic concerns questions about warranties (or financial guarantees) on improvements constructed and donated to a local government. A local government must determine, with reasonable diligence, whether the work done on the improvements meets the government’s specifications, and whether a warranty (or bond) on the work may be released.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509.5(3) and 17-27a-509.5(3)
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Review of Warranty Work

Review Within a Reasonable Time

The “Review Within a Reasonable Time” Advisory Opinion topic concerns a requirement that local governments shall review a development application, and either approve or deny it, within a reasonable time. If the review and decision are not completed within a reasonable time, the applicant may request that the local government make its decision within 45 days.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509.5(2) and 17-27a-509.5(2)
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Review Within a Reasonable Time Opinions

Subdivision Plat Approval

The “Subdivision Plat Approval” Advisory Opinion topic addresses issues raised about plat approvals, including conditions and requirements placed on plats. Subdivision Plat Approval is not on the list of Advisory Opinion topics found in § 13-43-205, but, as it is an important aspect of land use, it may be addressed in conjunction with another topic.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-601 to -611 and 17-27a-601 to -611
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Subdivision Plat Approval Opinions

Substantive Land Use Review

The “Substantive Land Use Review” Advisory Opinion topic concerns a provision in the Utah Code that an applicant is entitled to substantive review of a land use application under the land use laws in effect on the date that the application is complete.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509(1)(a)(i) and 17-27a-508(1)(a)(i)
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Substantive Land Use Review

Temporary Land Use Ordinances

The “Temporary Land Use Ordinances” Advisory Opinion topic concerns temporary ordinances adopted by local governments, sometimes referred to as a “moratoriums.” Temporary Land Use Ordinances are not on the list of Advisory Opinion topics found in § 13-43-205, but, as they are an important aspect of land use, they may be addressed in conjunction with another topic.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-504 and 17-27a-504
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Temporary Land Use Ordinances Opinions

Transferable Development Rights

The “Transferable Development Rights” Advisory Opinion topic concerns programs to transfer development rights, as provided in the Utah Code. Under a transfer program, development rights from a designated “sending” zone may be transferred to a designated “receiving” zone.
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Utah Code §§ 10-9a-509.7 and 17-27a-509.7
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Transferable Development Rights Opinions