By Aubrey Prince
BYU will no longer allow any new apartment complexes outside of Provo to be approved for BYU student housing.
H. John Pace, director of the off-campus housing office, said the new policy has been in place for a month or two, and prevents new housing complexes in Orem from becoming BYU-approved.
However, already approved Orem complexes will be able to renew their approval despite the new policy.
Carri P. Jenkins, spokeswoman for BYU, said the policy change came after a very thorough review of existing housing procedures.
She said the decision was made primarily because of the existing and potential opportunities for BYU housing to grow in Provo.
BYU is working with a limited amount of resources and had to draw the line someplace, Jenkins said.
“BYU-approved housing is more than just a name,” she said. “With BYU approval comes a great deal of responsibility on BYU”s part, and it”s simply not possible, feasible nor reasonable for BYU to approve every new complex being developed.”
Pace said the policy no longer makes BYU drain its resources to approve places in Orem that aren”t needed for BYU students.
According to Jenkins, there are 22,405 beds available in BYU-approved housing in Provo and Orem. Only 14,000 of these are inhabited by enrolled BYU students.
Married students, graduate students and students who live at home or with relatives, are not required to live in BYU-approved housing.
“There is simply no reason for us to be using our limited resources to approve houses in Orem that we don”t need,” Jenkins said.
The BYU off-campus housing policy states that all single BYU students who are not living with their parents are required to live in university-approved housing unless they are specifically excused in writing by the BYU Off-Campus Housing Office.
Pace and Jenkins both said this policy wouldn”t significantly affect BYU students because there is plenty of housing growth in Provo.
According to Pace, in the past year, five new condominium complexes in Provo have joined BYU”s off-campus housing program, and three more are planning to join.
Mayor Jerry Washburn of Orem said he has concerns.
“This could be significant,” Washburn said. “What this will do, obviously, is diminish the number of students living in Orem.”
Pace said the off-campus housing office has already denied BYU approval from at least one complex in Orem since the policy change.
“When you reduce the market, you have some negative fall out,” Washburn said.
Orem City councilwoman Judy Bell said she sees BYU”s policy change as a blessing.
“This policy will free up housing in Orem, and we will be able to house our own students,” Bell said. “I”m really excited about that.”
Debbie Bishop, owner of Mountain View Management, a company that manages housing in Orem and Provo, said Mountain View Management is responsible for Lakeridge, a BYU-approved complex in Orem.
Bishop, who was unaware of the policy changes, said she thinks they are a good idea.
“BYU shouldn”t have to force UVSC students to obey their standards, which is what they”re having to do with the UVSC students who live in approved housing in Orem,” Bishop said.
Bishop estimated that less than one-tenth of her Orem housing is rented to BYU students, but non-BYU students rent at least one-third of her apartments in Provo.
Bishop said a variety of reasons influence UVSC students to live in Provo”s BYU-approved housing.
“There”s not enough housing near UVSC, they like to live near the BYU environment and they want to be in the college wards and in that social atmosphere.”
Jonas King, 23, a senior from Bountiful, Davis County, majoring in history, lives in Lakeridge apartments close to UVSC and Krispy Kreme Donuts.
King said he chose to live in Orem because he wanted to live with a friend who goes to UVSC and also wanted the choice of being able to avoid the BYU atmosphere.
“I know Provo is closer to BYU, but Orem is more low-key,” King said. “I have no feelings of antagonism toward BYU regulations, but here I can still uphold the rules without being inundated by the Provo scene.”