The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

Violation of Ordinances

Category: Individual Liberty

Municipal codes include a number of provisions that criminalize or regulate otherwise benign or peaceful activity, often in the name of public health or safety. Examples range from weed control to requirements for businesses to close on Sunday. For this reason, it is very important what type of penalty might come with such regulations.

While most city codes prescribe specific penalties for prohibited activities, many laws don't explicitly state a penalty. For these laws, the city's default penalty would be imposed. In order to measure the impact of city regulations on individual liberty, we measured the default penalty level prescribed by city code along with its corresponding fine. We also measured the default fine level for the lowest penalty level, a class C misdemeanor.

The first measure, default severity, used a three-point scale with a score of one denoting class B as the default, a two denoting class C as the default, and a three when an infraction was the default. This measure counted for 70% of the total metric score. The second and third measures looked at the fine for the default penalty (20% weight) and the fine for a class C misdemeanor (10% weight) respectively. These three measures—default severity, fine, and class C fine—were individually normalized using statistical z-scores and added together using their respective weights to create the metric. The violation of ordinance metric counts as 10% of the Individual Liberty category.

To see a specific city's laws for this metric, click on its name in the right column, then find the row in the table below the Individual Liberty category.

City Scores

To learn about our scoring methodology, click here.

Rank City Score
1Layton3.646
2Bountiful1.830
2Clinton1.830
2Payson1.830
2Saratoga Springs1.830
6American Fork0.601
6Lehi0.601
8Ogden0.105
8Provo0.105
8Riverton0.105
11Brigham City-0.312
11Cedar City-0.312
11Cedar Hills-0.312
11Centerville-0.312
11Clearfield-0.312
11Cottonwood Heights-0.312
11Draper-0.312
11Eagle Mountain-0.312
11Farmington-0.312
11Heber City-0.312
11Herriman-0.312
11Highland-0.312
11Holladay-0.312
11Hurricane-0.312
11Kaysville-0.312
11Lindon-0.312
11Logan-0.312
11Midvale-0.312
11Murray-0.312
11North Ogden-0.312
11North Salt Lake-0.312
11Orem-0.312
11Pleasant Grove-0.312
11Roy-0.312
11Salt Lake City-0.312
11Sandy-0.312
11South Jordan-0.312
11South Ogden-0.312
11South Salt Lake-0.312
11Spanish Fork-0.312
11Springville-0.312
11St. George-0.312
11Syracuse-0.312
11Taylorsville-0.312
11Tooele-0.312
11Washington-0.312
11West Haven-0.312
11West Jordan-0.312
11West Valley City-0.312
11Woods Cross-0.312