New Bill from Senate President Warren Petersen Aims to Increase Housing Supply in Arizona

Arizona State Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) announced his introduction of new legislation which aims to shorten the administrative approval process for construction projects and potentially speed up the rate of home building in the state.

“20 years ago, the homebuilding process from start to finish would take approximately six months. Today, that process can take up to four years,” said Petersen. “I believe this action will soon provide relief for our citizens that are hurting from sky high housing prices by quickly increasing supply.”

The Arizona Sun Times reached out to the State Senate for additional information but did not hear back before publishing time.

Under Arizona law, the legislative body of cities and towns must regulate all procedures involving the approval or rejection of construction plans and hold public hearings during this process. Should Petersen’s new bill, Senate Bill (SB) 1103, become law, it would give municipalities the ability to authorize administrative personnel to approve site or development plans without the need for public hearings.

Other changes outlined by SB1103 include allowing cities to let applicants with “a history of compliance with building codes and regulations” be eligible for an expedited permit review. Additionally, municipalities could approve a self-certification program for projects requiring a professional engineer’s approval so professionals can sign off on their work rather than waiting for a city engineer to approve it. This legislation will be part of the Senate Committee on Government meeting on Wednesday at 8:30 am.

Petersen said the changes outlined in SB1103 would eliminate “bureaucratic red tape,” which may help cities and towns get construction and development projects moving quicker. Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls said any additional options a municipality can have to expedite home construction projects would be helpful.

“As an engineer, I know that the factors impacting the timeline to bring a home to market are complex and cannot be laid completely at the feet of municipalities; however, we believe that providing cities and towns with additional options to expedite regulatory processes is a great step towards addressing Arizona’s housing needs,” said Nicholls.

As reported by The Sun Times, Petersen spoke about introducing legislation to accomplish this goal before the 2023 session began, a promise he is now following through on.

Furthermore, a December study from the Common Sense Institute Arizona (CSIAZ), the state’s population grew to an estimated 7.4 million in 2022, which is playing a role in the housing crisis.

The CSIAZ states that Arizona is roughly 100,000 housing units short of the needed numbers, and as a result, the small supply has caused prices to rise in the state. The institute found that the monthly mortgage payment grew to roughly $2,100 in 2022, which is higher than ever.

“Continued growth is critical to our state’s long-term prosperity, however, we cannot overlook the increasing number of Arizona residents who are being priced out of housing of any kind,” according to the CSIAZ.

Yet, the CSIAZ made recommendations for increasing the housing supply in Arizona, which included cutting bureaucratic red tape and giving municipalities and professionals the tools to expedite projects, similar to what Petersen has introduced. Other suggestions included allowing local government to form a “Housing Opportunity Zone,” allowing professional contractors to adopt building codes for the state, and establishing universal zoning definitions.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Warren Petersen” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Houses” by Eziz Charyyev.



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One Thought to “New Bill from Senate President Warren Petersen Aims to Increase Housing Supply in Arizona”

  1. Dave Cavena

    Is he going also to increase the water supply?