City officials say it's time cities other than Provo start laying some brick to satisfy Utah County's demand for apartment living.
"We've been taking more than our share over the last 10 years. Maybe now that has to be changed a little bit," said Mayor Joe Jenkins.A Provo Redevelopment Agency analysis of multiple-unit construction in the county from 1980 to 1990 appears to validate the mayor's position.
During that 10-year period, 79 percent of the county's apartment units were built in Provo, 13 percent popped up in Orem, and other cities totaled 8 percent.
"Provo has been the prime provider of multiple-family units units and does not have as much raw land to develop as the rest of the county. . . . Therefore, developers should be encouraged to look at and develop property in other cities," the report says.
In discussing the report at a meeting Friday, Jenkins said he didn't want to point a finger at Orem. The study, however, makes direct comparisons between Provo and Orem while lumping the county's remaining cities together.
"There is a need for multiple-density developments in the county, that includes Orem," Orem City Manager Daryl Berlin said in an interview. The city is re-evaluating its master plan because "most of the property zoned for multidensity is all gone."
Berlin said he expects a move toward more apartment complexes in Orem providing they are tastefully designed and meet public approval.
The many apartments in Provo "are a reflection of BYU more than anything else," said Berlin. "I expect we will see the the same thing happen here with Utah Valley Community College."
The changes will be more pronounced when UVCC becomes a four-year school, he added.The Provo study says BYU enrollment has remained fairly constant the past 10 years. The LDS Church-owned university had about 2,100 more students in 1990 than in 1980. In contrast, UVCC added about 3,400 students during those 10 years.
The county's overall housing shortage, however, affects more than just students. There is an increase of young professionals and working couples in the area.
Provo officials say increases in population and jobs have been more significant outside the city. "The analysis of the data suggests that construction in Provo has surpassed the growth of its population and job growth," the report says.
From 1980 to 1990, Provo's population increased by 12,724 residents compared to 15,162 in Orem and 17,598 in the rest of the county. The study shows that from 1979 to 1989, 43.5 percent of the county's 22,273 new jobs were created in Provo. The number of jobs in Orem grew 31 percent, while the rest of the county increased 25.5 percent.
City officials want to preserve Provo's undeveloped land for single-family dwellings. Jenkins is working on a city-subsidized program to build more low- to moderate-income housing in the city.
There are more apartments in Provo than houses, according to a study by University of Utah research analyst James A. Wood. Of 24,940 dwellings in the city, 14,730, or 59 percent, are apartments. In contrast, only 5,160 of Orem's 18,400 units are apartments.
"Does that mean that Provo should not have anymore multiunit housing? No," Jenkins said. The city will do its "fair share," he said.
Wood's study projected Provo would have to build 1,960 apartment units in the next five years to accommodate growth. The projection for Orem is 415. Santaquin followed with 80.
"Provo's fair share is not 1,900 units over the next five years," Jenkins said.
Utah County housing
Apartment units constructed from 1980-1990
Provo 79% (2,488 units)
Orem 13% (404 units)
Other cities 8% (254 units)