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OREM CAN'T SEEM TO FIND A SUITABLE SITE FOR LOW-INCOME SENIOR-CITIZEN HOUSING

The city may have a need for low-income senior-citizen housing, but city staff and a developer can't seem to find a suitable site for such a project.

The city doesn't have any zones that allow the kind of high-density construction proposed for a senior-citizen complex; the city owns few properties large enough for such a project; and residents living near proposed sites are bound to be vocal in opposing large-scale apartment complexes, regardless of who'll occupy the units.Tuesday the city decided a three-acre parcel on 400 East it bought several years ago with the intention that it be used for senior-citizen housing wouldn't work for a project proposed by Multi-Ethnic Development Corp.

Multi-Ethnic builds apartment complexes for senior citizens using Department of Housing and Urban Development funds; the corporation then manages the buildings.

Multi-Ethnic Development Corp. wants to build a three-story apartment complex, with 60 one-bedroom units, in Orem. Census data show that the 60-85 age category is the fastest growing in Orem. About 13 percent of residents ages 55 and over rent housing units.

The size and number of apartments proposed by Multi-Ethnic Corp. for the 400 East property dismayed the council. It also dismayed about 50 residents, who attended the council meeting to protest construction of the complex there.

The council circumvented hours of public comment by stating at the outset they didn't plan to approve the original site.

"I don't think it fits, I think it's the wrong piece of property," said Councilman Keith Hunt.

Resident Andrea Patten gave the council a petition signed by 95 people opposed to building a three-story complex on 400 East.