Orem's City Council denied a controversial project Tuesday that has taken up huge chunks of council and staff time over the past several months, frustrating a developer and wearying city officials.
In so doing, the council opted not to use its powers of eminent domain to take out a home that stands in the way of a road for a proposed apartment development. Nor will the city chip in $100,000 to pay for building the residential road the city is requiring.Pinnacle Pointe Apartments at Sandhill were to have been developed at 1430 S. Sandhill Road with a conditional use permit for up to 288 units on 13.8 acres.
The project ran into trouble early when planning commissioners found major problems with street alignments and refused to approve the project. It then came to the council with a recommendation for denial.
In a series of lengthy council meeting discussions, Pinnacle Pointe came under attack for three things: a tandem parking setup where some cars would park behind vehicles, blocking the first vehicle's exit; a lack of a road connection to the project's east side; and high density in an already impacted area.
"It's too much on too little," said Councilman Timothy Christensen. "But the real heartburn I have is trying to carve out an exception for a project that's not gone through the procedure. It's a huge mistake."
Councilwoman Judy Bell said the site plan has been changed so dramatically from the original schematic that it needs to return to the planning commission for review.
"I will not grant a site plan that hasn't gone through them. All we're doing is talking, for months. I suggest resubmission and another go through the process," said Bell. She said the wrangling has been mostly about roads but there are other problems just as worrisome.
"I have a problem with tandem parking. That's a disservice to anyone. If we approve this, we've bound ourselves to using eminent domain and to participating in the road which we've never done before," Bell said.
Mayor Stella Welsh said Orem officials have never built a road for a development and have, in fact, denied a similar request just a few months ago. She said she cannot in good conscience commit to using eminent domain to guarantee a development a road, either.
Councilman Chris Yandow said Orem has generally only been comfortable with using its powers of condemnation when the party involved requests the declaration for a tax benefit.
Councilman David Palfreyman said a cash outlay for the project's road on the part of the city would be improper use of taxpayer money.
Developer Vic Deauvono has asked the city to participate in paying for a connecting road from 1430 South to Sandhill Road since he would need to purchase additional property for the road.
Without the connecting road, there would be too much additional traffic dumped onto Sandhill Road, the council has said.
Val Lindsay, a resident adjacent to the property in question, urged the council to deny Deauvono's requests. "You really need to look at the impacts on 1300 South. It's already a slow-moving parking lot," he said.