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Proposed zone designations to help city planning

By Genelle Pugmire - Daily Herald - | Jan 5, 2012

PROVO — What do Pasadena, Calif., and Provo have in common? Besides both having a nationally recognized parade, Provo’s community development department is suggesting city leaders look at Pasadena as a prototype for city planning and have introduced new multi-family zoning and design standards as a step in that direction.

City planners took a proactive stance during Tuesday’s council work session, proposing standardizing the building of multifamily units. That will not only set unified parameters for developers but also give the city a clearer vision of what Provo could look like.

New multifamily zones were proposed to the council, taking the place of the Project Redevelopment Option, or PRO zones, in the city. There are 33 PRO zones in Provo.

According to Provo city planner Bill Peperone, working with developers on PRO zone projects is labor intensive. The city also noticed that while these PRO zone projects are independent of each other, they all had many things in common.

Brent Wilde, assistant director of community development, said the PRO zones put the city in reactive mode and didn’t reflect long-term planning

“With the new zones we will have more control and not just respond as requests come in,” Wilde said.

The multifamily zones would include: low-density residential (up to 15 units such as townhouses); medium-density residential (30 units such as two- and three-story complexes); high-density residential (up to 50 units); campus high-density residential (up to 80 units an acre, such as the Joaquin Village at 600 N. 600 East); and campus mixed use (up to 80 units an acre, in concept like Alpine Village at approximately 1300 N. Freedom Blvd.)

The zones also will have residential design standards for uniformity and a more planned neighborhood look. Those standards will include yard design, building location and facades, driveways and parking, landscape design, building form, mass and scale and building materials.

Peperone added, “This way we’re not giving away the farm. It makes it easier to manage, there’s more predictability and it helps implement neighborhood planning.”

While these new zones aren’t mapped throughout the city, Peperone said the first area up for consideration is the north half of the Joaquin neighborhood, between University Avenue and 900 East, and 800 North to 500 North.

After looking at the potential for city planning, Councilman Hal Miller said, “This clearly improves what we’ve had to date.”

Councilman Sterling Beck agreed and added he would like to see design options that offer indoor bicycle parking similar to what New York City has implemented as a way to encourage bike use.

Mayor John Curtis said, “This is all part of the 2030 visioning and city planning.”

According to Peperone, the city is working on the zoning and planning for downtown from the new Interstate 15 interchange on Center Street to University Avenue and from 500 North to the north edge of the Provo Towne Centre. The overall goal for a vibrant downtown is to have elements of housing, commercial and retail business and professional offices, he said.

“With the LDS temple coming on line, it’s making us rethink things,” Peperone said. He adds that for years the city has been talking about how it can get students downtown to shop. The new zoning and planning for housing in downtown will do that.

Peperone said that eventually every block in the city will be looked at.

“Provo has needed this for a long time,” he said.

The zoning issue will be on the Jan. 17 council agenda.


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