Monday, August 31, 2009

Villages at Celebration

There is a large amount of land that Provo City has asked a developer to make a concept plan, Specific Plan Development, as its called. This land is all part of Utah County (346.72 acres) and Provo wants to annex it. Part of the land is owned by Provo School District. Other land is owned by farmers, and the developer.

The Developer is Gardner, Plum & Associates. Apparently the city council really likes the work these guys do, so they want him to develop it. I along with many of my neighbors have been trying to fight it. Tomorrow night (September 1, at 7:p.m.) is the City Council meeting set to decide if it should go forward or not.

Here are all immediate problems I see with this development (it looks pretty on paper, for the most part, but here are some of the realities):

CRIME - This development would be out as far west as you can go at the north of Provo. The housing scheduled for the first 2 phases (which is all the developer's representative said they would build and leave it up to someone else to buy the land and build the rest) has already been approved, by the planning commission (which we felt like we were lied to about, because everyone kept saying it was a city council decision), to be smaller homes, on smaller lots, with the approval to have only 5 feet between each home - essentially adding 210 starter homes on skinnier streets. Also the only street in and out of the development (first 2 phases) would be lined with town homes. Police have told us that with higher density housing like this, our crime rates would go up, especially if it is tucked away in a corner like it is. Just last week a gang member tagged my neighbor's house. Can't imagine what they will do if this development gets to go forward.

SAFETY - This development (phases one and two = 200 homes) is only 1 block away from the Lakeview Elementary School. The street the school is on, is the only street that goes into this development. It's just a wide neighborhood street, not a major road. We already had a kid hit by a car last school year, just imagine adding 400 + more cars on this street.

COMPLETION - The developer's rep, has said that this entire plan is probably a 15 year project. I'm afraid that this will start like other projects and never get finished. They might get started, but that doesn't mean they won't stop at 3 years and not complete it. Or what many have done, is once the project is approved and they get the first few phases done, then they sell it and since it is already zoned for certain things it makes it easier for the new developer to make even more changes, that we might not like.

THE PLAN - Like I already mentioned basically what we are looking at is 200 started homes all wrapped up in a pretty bow. Everything else on the plan is not going to be built by this developer, according to their own spokesman. Every thing on the plan is likely to change since every step will need to be approved by the city council, so the new owners can come in with a different plan. This plan has already gone through some changes. They took out some of the green space, and a church, and added more houses. I'm sorry, but quality of life issues need to be addressed. Overall this plan would add around a 1400 houses. In that same amount of houses from west of I-15, from the river to 2000 N. there are 4 churches (3 LDS and 1 other).

Long term issues with this plan, if it goes through:

UNIVERSITY AVE. SIZE ROAD - The road through the middle of the plan is a University Ave. sized road, which is approx. 2 blocks west of the school. It really divides this development in half. If put in, it would also force the school district to have another situation like Provo High, where kids have to cross a major road to get to their ball fields. Which by the way, the developer's rep. told the planning commission that the school will just have to sell their land, if they won't do it that way, because they will lose.

INFRASTRUCTURE - As of right now, there is not an approved plan to even have water out to this development (except for the first 2 phases, because they put the pipes in just a few weeks ago, before the city council meetings). It's absurd that the city would approve a project before they even have funding or a way to get the basics down. This water project is a $18 million project, that they seem to think 200 homes are going to pay for the whole thing, because they said it wasn't going to cost any of us any money. I highly doubt that a project this expensive will never cost any other property owners a cent.

I'm out of time for now. As you can see there are many issues with this plan overall, and I haven't even hit half of them!

Planning Commission report with latest site plan (it's on the very last page, page 31):

Phases 1 & 2 is what they are planning to go ahead with right away (possibly phase 3 also). The orange lots are smaller than the Cobblestone homes across the street to the east. You have to zoom in, but you can see all the town homes along 1390 North and so on.

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