In its quest to help Orem continue to develop economically, the City Council has run into some obstacles.
The city has spent the past five years preparing sections of north Orem along State Street and 800 North as a commercial redevelopment area, but some residents are concerned.They were concerned enough that the Council decided to postpone its adoption of the final plans for the redevelopment area until January so they can answer some of the questions.
One major concern is the Council's power to condemn property.
"The city does have power of eminent domain to aid development," said Daryl Berlin, Orem's city manager. This means that the city can condemn and take over property that is considered to obstruct development.
Arthur Miller, a resident of Mon-A-Lea Mobile Manor within the development area on State Street, said he and other residents are worried about the possibility of their homes being condemned and then relocated.
And Miller didn't think that there were a lot of places for mobile homes to go.
Mayor S. Blaine Willes said, "That is up to the park owner. There must be a willing seller and a willing buyer and also an adequate plan of relocation."
The Orem City Council has never used the power of eminent domain, Willes reminded the crowded City Council chambers. "But the facts are that we cannot say what the future will bring."
Russ Evans, who owns an antique furniture business, said he is still worried about the possibility of being relocated. He doesn't think there is another place for his business to go if the City Council determines that it is "in the way" of other development.
To meet this concern, Berlin said incoming development projects have to meet certain standards."The facts are that we cannot say what the future will bring," Mayor S. Blaine Willes said. The council may choose to help incoming businesses, he said. But they may also choose not to help.
A new proposal must meet the following standards, Berlin said. It must:
- Show that it will bring growth and revenue to the city.
- Show that quality jobs will be created.
- Show that the project will enhance the area.
It's not an easy or short process, he said. "I think there are 78 steps to create a project area."
Still other citizens were concerned with the agricultural areas on 800 North, wondering how they would be affected by the changes.
This would be the eighth redevelopment area Orem has created, Berlin said.