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12/10/13 City Council vote report:
Orem council members passed the PD-34 rezoning request last night with a 6-1 vote, Hans Andersen dissenting. Many members of the community spoke both for and against proceeding with the project. Most residents from the area were not against the proposal, rather they wished to have specific concerns addressed and the project to move forward in stages rather than approving the entire project at once.
City staff made recommendations on changes to the ordinance as follows:
1. Remove the exemption for having neighborhood meetings, so that these meetings will still be required in every situation where the ordinance currently requires them.
2. Lower the building heights in the limited zone to 45’ where buildings are located within 50 feet of the back of curb on 800 East and 800 South and that building heights in the limited zone adjacent to 590 East be reduced to 35’.
3. Clarify the language regarding sign locations in Appendix BB to indicate that either two medium entry signs OR one large entry sign will be allowed at the major entrances at State Street, University Parkway, and the three southern entrances from 800 East.
We appreciate these changes, particularly in requiring continued public input in the process as the project moves forward.
Mr. Andersen made a request to hold off on implementing the sign ordinance portion of the zoning request. Counsel for the City has indicated that there is a very high probability the City will be sued by sign and business owners over the inequity of the ordinance allowing billboard and off-premise advertising in this zone of the City only. The request was made that Woodbury take on the liability for any lawsuit that might arise – they declined to accept liability. There were no other council members who sided with Mr. Anderson, and the sign ordinance remains as written.
Arturo Morales of SFO made a public statement regarding the project. Following that statement he asked that any council member that had received campaign contributions from the Woodbury corporation to recuse themselves from the vote. The request was not made to imply a lack of integrity on the part of the council members, but rather to avoid the look of partiality or impropriety. Council members have been privy to information regarding this project long before the public, and knowing that only certain candidates received donations from Woodbury, although not illegal, it could look to have been a donation with an expectation of a specific outcome. The laws requiring disclosure of campaign contributions to political candidates were put in place to help avoid these concerns. We respect the legal right of the council members to not recuse themselves, but wanted the public to note the donations had been made and accepted.
SFO Statement on Development of the University Mall Property:
After meeting with residents and with Rob Kallas, Mall Manager and other Woodbury representatives, SFO has come to these conclusions regarding the proposed University Mall expansion project:
1. We agree – it is Woodbury’s property to do as they desire, but as currently zoned. A rezone of this magnitude deserves more thorough vetting by those impacted by the growth, change in feel to the neighborhood, property values, traffic, etc.
2. No scaled models, final building designs or plans have been presented to residents. Only available are photos of what this project “could” look like, or photos of similar projects in mainly out of state cities. With a very broad range of uses and building heights allowed in the zoning request, how will residents know exactly what they will be forced to permanently live with? With the potential for 1,500 residential units in this commercial complex, neighbors in the residential areas surrounding the mall should have time to more thoroughly consider the implications of this increased population in their neighborhoods.
3. Building heights for more than 90% of the property are set for 180 feet, plus the roof and additional architectural features*. This is almost twice the height of Midtown Village, four stories plus taller than the North Pointe Plaza bldg on 1600 North, and four feet shy of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City. There is no limit mentioned on how many buildings can be this height. This could potentially create an isolated island with the look of a much larger metropolis, one directly out of proportion to surrounding neighborhoods and developments.
4. This zone change should be granted in similar manner as other commercial development requests requiring completion of each phase in two years and then re-submitting to the council for the next phase of development. Once approved this project can move forward for 5 years without further notice to area residents. Will we find out in three or four years this is not what residents bargained for? There is no taking it back once this property is rezoned.
5. Orem has worked hard to develop our identity as Family City USA. A project of this magnitude is generally found in existing large commercial zones with similar height buildings, not surrounded by neighborhoods, schools and smaller commercial developments. Is this the look we want for Family City USA?
6. SFO is not opposed to growth and economic development. We are opposed to a carte blanche rezone of this entire project when Woodbury hasn’t presented a final plat design or given residents a more concrete plan of how this is going to look and the impact it will have on the surrounding neighborhoods and the general culture of our City itself. We also believe 35 days from first presentation to approval, particularly during the holidays, leaves residents at a disadvantage to prepare their concerns or even to thoroughly vet this project.
Because approval for any residential development is at least one year away but Woodbury wants to start construction on phase 1 in January, we propose that Woodbury follow current zoning ordinances and develop the property in phases with a two year site plan (not the requested 5 years), a decrease in the height allowance for the buildings and a thorough vetting process for each phase by neighbors and other interested Orem City residents.
*See Section 22-11-47. PD-34 zone, page 5 of the re-zone request, section H. . a, b, and c, found here:
A timely message from the City newsletter:
Give to Charities, Not to Panhandlers
Like other communities throughout the country, Orem has panhandlers. Many have expressed concern about these individuals holding signs asking for help at intersections and other locations. Protected by free speech, the activity of panhandling cannot be banned altogether. However, there are laws in place to protect the safety of both the public and those who are panhandling. For example, panhandlers may not engage in aggressive solicitation, block pedestrian traffic, or enter roadways to receive donations (Orem City Code 9-2-14)
As community residents, we play an important role in helping to address the problem of panhandling in Orem. Panhandlers thrive in areas where they are receiving money. We all want to be generous, particularly during the holiday season; however, donating to panhandlers is not a positive, lasting way to help the poor in our community.
Without question, Orem has homeless and hungry individuals and families, and your donations of money, food, or time can go a long way towards helping people in need. Instead of giving to panhandlers, please consider giving funds to reputable charities, churches, or homeless trust funds. The agencies below work directly with the City of Orem and other cities in Utah County to address the needs of homeless and low-income individuals and families. Please contact them to find out ways you can help the poor in our community. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Community Action Services and Food Bank
Food and Care Coalition
Congratulations to our winners!
Mayor Elect Richard Brunst, Councilman Elect Dave Spencer,
Councilman Elect Tom Macdonald, returning Councilman
Thank you for your vote against the property tax increase!
NEWS: SFO chair Arturo Morales on Fox 13 News regarding University Mall Rezone. Click here to watch!
The University Mall (Woodbury Corp.) Development
Below is the most recent proposed ordinance change for the University Mall (Woodbury Corp.) development for a "regional shopping center and mixed use development" (11/11/13). You can scroll through, enlarge the text or the entire document with the buttons below. The second document is a draft from Oct. 24th. You will notice many changes between the two documents.
Some residents concerns:
It's your neighborhood. It's your City.
Be informed. Ask questions. Attend meetings.