Zoning ordinances can be very confusing to slightly interested bystanders. But when they affect you and your property, the ordinances can mean a whole lot more.
Orem resident Gary Rackman is trying to find solutions to the problems he believes have been caused by the way the city has zoned his property."I need your help," Rackman told the Orem City Council. "As it stands right now, I cannot sell my property the way it is zoned and I cannot make any improvements, either."
Rackman's property, which includes a Texaco station on the corner of 800 N. State, is zoned PC-3, which means the land must be sold for commercial development in parcels of at least three acres.
Also, in a recent meeting, the council passed a resolution restricting property owners in a PC-3 zone from expanding their businesses unless they conform to PC-3 standards.
Rackman wants the council to change the zoning on his land to C-3, commercial development in smaller parcels, so that it will be marketable, and because he needs to upgrade his facilities and he can no longer do that.
Rackman said he bought the land as an investment and he would like to sell it. A small parcel of land owned by Kay Adams next to his would also be put up for sale, he said.
Orem's director of developmental services Ed Stout said, "I don't know of any other landowners in the area who would be upset to change the zone back to C-3."
The landowners might not be upset, but the idea didn't appeal to all the council members.
Councilman Keith Hunt said the city has put a lot of thought into the decision to design the area around 800 North and State for large, commercial development.
"There has been a lot of citizen input and most were in favor of the change," Hunt said. "If we change it back we are going against what a lot of people want."
But Councilwoman Lucile Steele said helping Rackman would alter only a small portion of the area.
"The people who really wanted a PC-3 zone will still have it," she said. The change would also respond to requests from other owners of small properties in the area who would like a C-3 zone.
Hunt said, "I still have strong feelings that we should develop that corner and it may be at the expense of the landowners."
The council did not make a decision but voted 4-3 to send the issue to Orem's Planning Commission with a recommendation that the zone be changed.
Mayor S. Blaine Willes said, "If the zone is upgraded to C-3, there will be virtually no chance to develop the area as a large parcel."