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Provo approves high-rise development near BYU

By Celeste Tholen Rosenlof | Posted - Feb 7th, 2013 @ 7:29pm

PROVO — In the midst of major changes on Brigham Young University's campus, city leaders moved forward with one of two proposed high-rise student-housing developments this week.

The approved seven-story building will be located at 580 E. 800 North. The first floor will be retail shops, with housing for 700 beds on the upper six floors. The Provo Municipal Council approved the project at a meeting on Feb. 5.

At the same meeting, the council voted to delay their decision on a proposed six-story building at 743 N. 900 East, which would house 316 beds.

Parking was one concern among several others about the 900 East building. Both buildings have only eight allotted parking spots per 10 beds, leaving the rest to street parking.

"We're hoping that these kids won't bring their cars to school, and as a the Joaquin Neighborhood develops their neighborhood plan, there's discussion of a parking program," Provo Municipal Councilman Gary Winterton said.

Some of those parking solutions, include parking permits or meters, and enforcing parking hours. More than anything though, Winterton said they hope the proximity of the building to campus will encourage students to leave their cars at home.

"BYU is looking to make it a pedestrian-friendly area, and this complex is right next to their property," Winterton said. "So this fits what we're hoping to do in having that area become more pedestrian. Maybe have fewer cars in that area. They're walking right to campus. ...We're just hoping that that will become a model for what this high-density area can become."

Residents expressed concern over an already overcrowded 900 East, which may see more congestion as BYU's plans to eliminate Campus Drive move forward and Utah Transit Authority expands routes through Provo.

"900 East and 700 North is what we're hoping will soon be our bus rapid transit route," Winterton said. "That will be an intersection there. We need to look at that and make sure that what we're creating at this point will still be compatible."

The building's height, Winterton said, was a concern for leaders who are looking to create a high-density zone, which the building would border. The height of the 800 North building would be minimized by surrounding buildings and the nearby hillside, Winterton said.

The decision will be revisited in the council's next meeting in March.

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