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STAYING LAWFULLY WEDDED TO RULES MAY BE TRICKY FOR STUDENT HOUSING

SHARE STAYING LAWFULLY WEDDED TO RULES MAY BE TRICKY FOR STUDENT HOUSING

The need is great, the desire is strong, but getting into the married housing available to Utah Valley State College students isn't an easy task.

In fact, those trying to provide the housing walk a legal tightrope.James Boyd, representing College Partners, plans to put in 112 units of student housing for married couples at 611 W. 1200 South, just south of the campus.

He asked for and received approval recently from the Orem City Council for the $5.4 million Lakeview Manor Apartments, "targeted to low-income married students."

However, Orem City Attorney Paul Johnson immediately cautioned the council in its discussion and subsequent action not to include any restrictions on the issue.

Because the site is within Orem's student housing overlay zone, the following conditions exist:

- A conditional use permit is required.

- Only college students and their spouses and dependent children are permitted to live in the apartments. Non-students are not permitted.

- The parking requirements for student housing must be met.

- The density must be less than 30 units per acre.

Johnson said he believes the Fair Housing Act may well supersede the city ordinance.

"This item seems to be in conflict with the fair housing act," said Johnson, who noted the overlay ordinance would promptly be coming back to the council for revision.

"This issue is raised when limiting access to married students," Johnson said.

Boyd said limiting to married couples would come about naturally as a result of the Internal Revenue Service monitoring the low-income status of the renters.

"Each year we'll be paying $6,900 for an audit. There can only be one single tax return from any one apartment," said Boyd.

That would allow couples or single parents making less than $16,900 a year to rent a unit at Lakeview, but it would economically restrict the management from renting to several students in any one apartment.

Each apartment will have one bathroom, said Boyd. That would make it unappealing for several students to rent together as roommates.

If College Partners fails to pass the yearly IRS audit, it stands to lose $3.8 million in tax credits over 10 years, Boyd explained.

"We're highly motivated to see it doesn't happen."

Also, parking would be inadequate should the apartments end up being rented to single students.

"The need is so great for married student housing," said Boyd. "And the president (of the college) is so interested in seeing some provided, the school has agreed to take the overflow parking, if necessary."