Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
FILE - Utah Valley University students walk through the food court of the Sorensen Student Center on campus in Orem Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. A local ballot initiative aimed at paving the way for a student housing project near UVU jumped to a 200-plus vote lead Friday after a ballot count update.

OREM — A local ballot initiative aimed at paving the way for a student housing project near UVU jumped to a 200-plus vote lead Friday after a ballot count update.

Orem Proposition 5 had the narrowest of margins of support at the end of election night — a single vote — but swelled following the release of new numbers by the Utah County Clerk's Office Friday morning. Unofficial results now show “yes” votes leading 8,551 to 8,334 against.

The proposal, supported by UVU and Orem municipal officials, would rezone a piece of private property adjacent to the school that was once occupied by single-family dwellings. While supporters have argued the proposed 450-unit, 1,600-bed development is needed to keep up with UVU's growing student population, some Orem residents argue the placement of the project is inappropriate and will only serve to increase crime and traffic in the area.

1 comment on this story

A citizens' group organized in opposition to the proposition, Let Orem Vote, noted in postings on its website that adding high-density housing in a neighborhood the group calls "an established residential area" is going to negatively impact "the stability of homeowners that live next to UVU" and bring unwanted automobile traffic into the area.

A representative of Woodbury Corp., the company that owns the property and is planning the development just east of the UVU campus, Taylor Woodbury, argued before the election the project is wanted in the community — by Utah Valley University officials who know their student housing already doesn't accommodate its growing population.

According to reports earlier this week from the Utah Count Clerk's Office, tens of thousands of ballots remain uncounted.