County Executive David N. Zook (standing) addresses the first meeting of the Housing Task Force he assembled to address issues of affordability and availability of local housing.
CACHE COUNTY – The task force assembled by County Executive David Zook to tackle serious obstacles to local housing kicked off on April 20.
The task force, which is led by former Providence Mayor John Drew and County Economic Development Director Shawn Milne, is composed of local stakeholders representing a broad range of perspectives on the housing market.
“Housing availability and affordability impact many aspects of our economy and community,” Zook said. “One of our goals is to ensure that our kids and grandkids are able to stay here to support that economy and community.”
Zook tasked the group with developing a report outlining recommendations to improve both affordability and availability of housing. That report will also identify aspects of the housing crisis that local governments and industry professionals can directly influence.
That report is expected in June.
“Let’s see what Cache Valley’s best and brightest can come up with,” Zook said.
Other members of the task force include Karina Brown, Cache County Policy analyst; Jess Lucero, USU Social Worker; Phil Redlinger, Cache Valley Veterans Association; Brett Greene, Cache Valley Bank; Scott Danielson, Associate Vice-President of Instruction, Manufacturing, Construction and Transportation at Bridgerland Technical College; Blake Dursteler, Center for Growth and Opportunity; Jay Stocking, Sierra Homes; Jeff Jackson, Visionary Homes; Justin Nunez, realtor; Josh Runhaar, Neighborhood Nonprofit Association; Leticia Shifflit, Realtors Association; Bracken Atkinson, Wasatch Properties; Curtis Wall, Smithfield City Council; Tim Watkins, County Development Services; Janea Lund, Department of Workforce Services; Rep. Dan Johnson (R-Dist. 4); Sen. Chris Wilson (R-Dist. 25); Sandi Goodlander, future County Council member; Mike Desimone, Community Development Director, Logan; Sara Doutre, Planning Commissioner; Ben Palmer, USU Student Representative; Val Potter, former member of the Utah Commission on Housing Affordability; Jeanell Sealy, Providence City Council; Damon Cann, former North Logan mayor; Brian Blotter, Human Resources. Malouf; Randy Simmons, USU professor Economics; Shaun Dustin, former Nibley mayor; Gordon Zilles, Cache County Council; Jeff Nebeker, Providence; Laura Gale, BRAG; Brian Carver, BRAG; Zac Covington; BRAG; Lucas Martin, BRAG; Paul Davis, BRAG; Adam Tripp, Property Management Company; Chris Harrild, County Development Services; Skarlet Bankhead, City of Providence; and Andy Rasmussen, realtor.
“Cache Valley is a beautiful place to live, work, learn and play, “ said Barbara Y. Tidwell, chair of the Cache County Council. “We need to plan for growth to support the needs of our community.”
Cache County added approximately 20,500 people during the 2020 Census and Utah was the fastest-growing state in the nation, increasing by 18.4 percent between 2010 and 2020.
Of the new residents of Cache County, 17,500 or 86 percent were internal – children of current residents.
Cache County has one of the lowest employment rates in the county, exacerbating demand for housing.
The Milken Institute recently hailed the Logan metropolitan area as the best performing small city in the country, but also ranked the area as 178th for housing affordability.
“I’m confident that the Housing Task Force will make recommendations that will help us address the complex issues affecting housing in our county,” said Zook.