Provo City Council debates future of Provo housing

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The proposed ordinance would rezone 5.73 acres of Residential Agricultural (RA) land so that it could be used to build 27 single-family homes. (Provo City)

Provo City Council members questioned what the future of Provo’s housing market should look like after a rezoning ordinance was proposed at a council meeting on Sept. 15. The council also unanimously voted to amend the face mask mandate passed by the council on Aug. 27. 

The primary purpose of the amendment to the mask mandate was to delete extraneous language in the ordinance and add clarification. The only additive change to the ordinance was that performers or speakers at large public gatherings are now exempt from wearing a face mask. 

The proposed rezoning ordinance would rezone approximately 5.73 acres of land in the North Timpview Neighborhood to create 27 single-family homes. The land is currently classified as a “Residential Agricultural Zone,” meaning it is meant to allow for families who keep farm animals or fowl. 

Councilor Shannon Ellsworth expressed concerns that this type of rezoning would worsen socioeconomic segregation within Provo. She said that Provo needs diverse types of housing spread throughout the city — like duplexes or residential facilities — that allow for people in different stages of their lives or different economic backgrounds.

“I think we’re creating a rich side of Provo and a south side of Provo,” she said. “Residents should be able to find housing in any quadrant of the city.” 

Councilor David Harding was hesitant to oppose the proposed rezoning as it was unanimously recommended to the council by the Planning Commission. But he thought the land could be used in more innovative ways so people didn’t have to move out of the neighborhood when they move onto different stages of their lives, like needing a bigger house if their family grows.

“It creates a sustainable neighborhood,” he said. “If everyone moves in all at the same time, in the same stage of life, and move through it together, that causes strain on all of our community institutions.”

Councilor Harding also emphasized the importance of having integrated neighborhoods. 

“Our neighborhoods will be stronger if we have broader diversity of housing within the neighborhoods, not just some spread out,” he said. 

Councilor Bill Fillmore strongly supported the proposed rezoning, saying single-family homes would fit nicely in that part of the city. He said the location was not ideal for other types of denser housing because it was not close to a transportation hub or city center.

The council moved to continue their discussion of the ordinance at their next meeting after they are able to gather more data on the types of housing already in that area.

The Provo City Council is scheduled to next meet on Oct. 6th. Directions for how to view and participate in the council meeting are available on the council’s website.

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