The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

Cottonwood Heights (23/50)(1 is most free, 50 is least free)

To learn what the below scores mean and how they were calculated, read our ranking methodology.

Individual Liberty (41/50)

This category compiles scores on 17 different data points to determine how well Cottonwood Heights respects and protects the liberty of its citizens.

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Code Accessiblity3510%This city's laws are available online and in a searchable PDF document.PDF document format
Dog Licensing310%Depending on whether the dog is fixed or not and the length of the license you purchase, licensing fees for each dog ranges from $5. to $25.Link
Free Speech3015%This city requires a permit to stage a protest on public property, but does not require a fee.14-56-050
Daytime Curfew110%This city does not impose a daytime curfew on minors.
Vice Regulation3410%This city exceeds the regulations of state law on public consumption of alcohol by prohibiting beer in all public places. Smoking is also prohibited in certain outdoor areas.10-36-065, 14-65-040
Campaign Contribution Limits110%This city does not regulate free speech by imposing a limit on campaign contributions for city elections
Loitering4810%The loitering laws in this city prohibit wandering or lingering without apparent reason or at an unusual time or place.10-36-070
Violation of Ordinances1110%While some ordinances may impose a specific penalty, in Cottonwood Heights the default penalty for a violation of any city ordinance, if not specified, is a class B misdemeanor which carries a fine of up to $1,000.1-08-020, Per city staff
Gun Regulation815%Under authority granted from state law, Cottonwood Heights has chosen to regulate the discharge of firearms in city limits; however, the city's law does make an exception for self-defense.10-64-030

Private Property (4/50)

63 different data points are included in this category to discern the degree to which Cottonwood Heights respects and protects private property rights.

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Conditional Use Permit Fees1210%The cost of a conditional use permit is $150.Fee Schedule
Home Building Fees210%The total cost of permit fees for building a typical single family home is $3,025. This includes $1,834 in permit fees, no impact fees, no site plan approval fees, and $1,191 in plan check fees.Per city staff
Animal Restrictions1115%Chickens are permitted in at least one residential zone with a $25 permit. Beehives are permitted in residential zones without a permit. Assuming a lot size of 0.15 acres, this city only allows you to have 3 dogs, allows 6 chickens, and 5 beehives.Animal Regulations, 8-13
Short-term Rentals1715%This city prohibits property owners from renting their residential property on a short-term basis as is often done through services like Airbnb and VRBO.19.89, and per city staff
Taxes & Cost of Government530%The cost of government in Cottonwood Heights as a share of the total taxable economic base is $40 per $10,000. As a share of total personal income, the cost is $172 per $10,000. On a per capita basis, the cost is $420. The city gets 47% of its tax revenue from property taxes, 36% of its tax revenue from sales tax, and 17% from other sources including fees and fines.City Financial Statements
Bonded Debt115%The city does not have any bonded debt.City Financial Statements
Lobbying15%This city does not employ lobbyists to represent the city.Per Records Request

This city also has restrictive land use ordinances that violate property rights.

Free Enterprise (41/50)

The final category includes 35 different data points in an effort to review Cottonwood Heights's protection—or violation—of the free market.

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
City-owned Enterprises3015%This city owns 4 enterprises that could instead be offered by the private market: a redevelopment agency; a garbage collection service; a recycling service; a water park; City Financial Statements
Beer Sale Restrictions2110%This city regulates the retail sale of beer by prohibiting sales from 1 am to 7 am.5-24-290
Alcohol Licensing1810%The city requires $300 for a retail beer license, $300 for a restaurant license, and $300 for a tavern license.City Fee Schedule
Sales Tax4120%This city imposes a combined sales tax rate of 6.85% on its citizens. Additionally, residents are required to pay a RAP tax at the rate of 0.1%. The city also has a municipal energy tax rate of 6.0%, a transient room tax at 5.75%, and a leasing tax at 7.5%.State Tax Commission
Business Licensing4035%This city charges the following licensing fees: $100 for a home occupation license; $170 for a small commercial license; $5510 for a large commercial license; $118 for a temporary firework stand; $118 for a temporary christmas tree lot; and $50 for two solicitor licenses.City Fee Schedule
Commerce Regulations4210%Cottonwood Heights prohibits excavations on Sunday. No dancing is allowed between 1am and 7am on any day. Pawn shops cannot be open between 10pm and 7am. All forms of restaurant entertainment (including dancing, singing, stand-up comedy, etc) are not allowed between 1am and 8am. Billiard halls must shut down between 2am and 6am. Card or game rooms must shut down between 1am and 7am. And no sales of valuable items at auction may occur between 6pm and 8am.5-38-140
5-38-60
5-75-130
5-77-080
5-28-100
5-28-230
5-30-300
5-42-090
, 5.42.090

City Data

Overall Ranking: 23/50

Click here to compare Cottonwood Heights's data compared to the other cities.

Year incorporated: 2005
Population (2010): 33,433
FoG: Council-Manager

County: Salt Lake
Class: 3
Cluster: E

MHI: $74,825.00

Best Score

Bonded Debt

Worst Score

Loitering