You can have too much of a good thing.
The City Council on Tuesday agreed that the high standards set for commercial development along 13th South were pricing the area out of the market."The idea was that 13th South should be special," Councilman Keith Hunt said at an earlier meeting. "It was supposed to be an elegant and beautiful entrance to the city."
A 13th South corridor plan called for some of the elegance to be achieved with more landscaping than in other areas, more and larger trees, larger lots and greater front-yard setbacks. The Commission for Economic Development in Orem last year suggested many of the standards be dropped so 13th South would attractive more business.
Many of the approximately 20 residents who came Tuesday to voice their views to the City Council were worried council would give away too much.
"CEDO is a strong pro-development lobby," said Robert Riggs. "I would hope some council members are pro-neighborhood to balance it out.
"At CEDO's request, you are chipping away at the promises you gave residents a few years ago. When individual developers look at sites, they will ask for more concessions. What you give away now, you will never get back. Why make concessions before you know what you will get in exchange?
"With the sound of an `aye,' you will make 13th South more developable, but you will lose the vision you had for the area."
Residents of the Victoria Park subdivision were upset at CEDO's suggestion that the city drop plans for a buffering wall between that residential area and high traffic areas.
"That wall has been given and taken away more times than some of the residents can count," said Harry Payne, a Victoria Park resident.
Payne was concerned that besides the safety issue of more traffic, residents would be subjected to more air and noise pollution.
Another resident mourned the deterioration of the "showplace standard."
The City Council agreed to change the master plan to allow for younger trees to be planted as landscaping. Where it previously required a tree every 30 feet, the plan now calls for one every 50 feet.
Businesses may now have more than one free-standing sign where the sign ordinance allows them. The council voted to keep the landscaping strip along 12th and 14th South streets at 25 feet rather than changing it to 20 feet. Members also decreased the average height of required berms from 4 feet to 2 or 3 feet once it realized children playing on snowy hills could slide down steep inclines into traffic.
The council also decided Victoria Park residents eventually will get their buffer wall, although members were not sure how it would be paid for.