North Timpview residents strongly oppose high density housing

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

Residents of the North Timpview neighborhood responded to the Provo City Council’s prior discussion on the future of Provo housing and adamantly said they didn’t want to see any changes in the makeup of their neighborhood at a council meeting on Oct. 6. 

At the Oct. 6 council meeting, the council passed an ordinance that would rezone 5.73 acres of land in the North Timpview Neighborhood from a “Residential Agricultural Zone” (RA) to a “One-Family Residential Zone” (R1.10). Dudley and Associates proposed this zone change so that they can build 27 single-family homes in the area.

The rezoning ordinance was first brought before the council on Sept. 15 and the councilors discussed potentially diversifying the types of housing in that area rather than just building single-family homes. The councilors decided to continue their discussion at the next meeting so that they could do more research on the types of housing already in the area. 

During the meeting 15 Provo residents called in during the public comment section for the zoning issue, and only one person called in to comment on any of the other 12 items on the agenda.

All of the callers were residents of the North Timpview neighborhood and almost all said they didn’t want high density housing added to their neighborhood. Their primary objections were that higher density housing would add more traffic to the neighborhood, making it less safe for the children in the area, and that it would destroy the “sense of community” in the neighborhood. 

However, the council hadn’t discussed high density housing at the last meeting but had talked generally about housing other than single-family houses—like duplexes or residential facilities. The Provo City zoning map shows that a majority of high density residential zones in Provo are downtown or surrounding BYU and made up of apartments and condos.

North Timpview Neighborhood Chair Bonnie Morrow said the property owner, the developer and all of the residents in the area were excited about building single-family homes in this area, so she didn’t understand why the council was trying to stop it. 

“The stars and the moon have aligned. Everybody on our side of the fence is happy,” she said. 

North Timpview resident Sandra Chamberlin said her family moved to the neighborhood two years ago because they didn’t want to live in an area with high density housing. She said she preferred the safety of knowing all of her neighbors.

Another resident, who was unnamed, said people often think high density housing means affordability, but that isn’t the case. She said there are people in the neighborhood who if they sold their homes, would not be able to afford one of the condos in the area.

Councilwoman Shannon Ellsworth said she wasn’t sure where the idea of high density housing came from, but she was still interested in creating diverse housing types throughout Provo. “I hope that people won’t see low, medium, or high density housing as a threat.”

Councilman Dave Harding said he wanted to clarify that when the council zones an area, they aren’t forcing the developer to do anything but are just setting a limit for what is allowed. He said he was interested in having a discussion about housing diversity, but not high density housing. 

The council passed the zoning change 5-2, with Harding and Ellsworth opposed, turning the area into a one-family residential zone. 

The Provo City Council is scheduled to next meet on Oct. 20th. Directions for how to view and participate in the council meeting are available on the council’s website.

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