City Planning FAQ
What does the future hold for 1600 North between State Street and the freeway?
The city is working with the regional planning office (Mountainland Association of Governments) to study this part of 1600 North. We will see what the study shows, but we will work very, very closely with homeowners and property owners along this corridor so no one is caught by surprise.
I'm curious about the city's plan to encourage more families to move into town. While I feel like the new apartments are nice and present a nice front on the old streets, I fear that they won't attract families that will have an investment in the overall quality of Orem. What are your thoughts or plans?
Many of those moving into these apartments are young families that at some point will invest in homes. In addition, apartments are also being occupied by older couples who want to downsize but stay in the area. While these new apartments provide needed housing, the City does not want this development to come at the expense of singe family neighborhoods. The City wants to preserve the character of existing neighborhoods wherever possible. The City is working very closely with neighborhood residents to develop plans that address these and other concerns. If you are interested in getting involved visit orem.org/planning and click on the “Neighborhood Plans” tab, where you will find a button to “Contact a Planner.”
What upcoming project or improvement are you most excited about? Any fun new businesses you've heard of coming to Orem soon?
In 2015, the City of Orem adopted the State Street Corridor Master Plan to guide the future development of the corridor. Since that time, the Orem Planning Division has been working hard to encourage the goals of the plan which will “enhance the open space system to encourage walkability, community gathering, healthy living, and active storefronts”, and to “improve the aesthetic appearance of the corridor.” This will be accomplished a variety of ways, and most importantly will involve the participation of residents, property owners, and businesses owners. The City is dedicated to making decisions on the future of Orem by consensus and with the input of as many residents and stakeholders as possible.
In what major ways have you seen Orem change over the years?
According to US Census data, from 2000 to 2016 the City of Orem increased from 84,324 residents to an estimated 97,499. While adding 13,175 new residents over 16 years is nothing to sneeze at, it equates to an average annual growth rate of just 1%. By comparison, Utah County added 223,759 residents over the same period growing at an average annual rate of 3.2%. A growth rate of 3.2% means the population will double every 22 years, versus every 70 years at a 1% growth rate. In other words, Utah County is growing a lot faster than the City of Orem—-particularly the northern end of the County. Back in the 90’s, Orem accounted for a quarter of the County’s population. In 2016, it made up only around 16.5%. What does this all mean? There is currently a popular misunderstanding that Orem is growing fast, perhaps too fast to manage. The reality is that Orem’s population growth is positive, but certainly not out of control. Orem is growing slower than Utah County on average and also slower than the State of Utah (Utah's annual average growth rate from 2000 to 2016 was 2.1%). Orem’s State Street Corridor Master Plan outlines the City’s plan for new growth. One of the major objectives of this plan is to focus new development along State Street at major intersections rather than having it occur in other areas haphazardly. This will protect the existing residential neighborhoods throughout the City and also encourage reinvestment along State Street.
Will Orem ever have a "Night Life"? Traveling to SLC for entertainment makes living in SLC more appealing then Orem.
We are hoping to get more of this. Part of the State Street plan is to develop a "downtown" that will have more shops, restaurants, arts, nightlife, etc. We have heard a lot about this and there are some private developers that have talked about wanting to create this. The University Place Development will have an outdoor stage, a "main street" through the development, and other things to address the "lack of a nightlife in Orem". However, we anticipate the "nightlife" being more than just the mall. Great question!
How do you deal with accusations that you are furthering the concepts of Agenda 21?
Agenda 21 was a non-binding document produced by the UN in 1992 to promote sustainable living, smart growth, and care for the environment. It has, like most U.N. documents, no teeth. The "21" in Agenda 21 refers to the 21st Century. In reality, its a pie-in-the-sky vision, but still gives a hopeful vision of future possibilities. Agenda 21 conspiracy theories have circulated in the U.S with some people claiming that it was part of a UN plot to deny property rights, undermine U.S. sovereignty, or force citizens to move to cities. Conspiracy theorists believe that this non-binding UN resolution was "the linchpin in a plot to subjugate humanity under an eco-totalitarian regime." This is absolutely not true. When the City makes plans for the future, Agenda 21 is never referenced or even considered.
Is there any hope for syncing the streetlights on Orem's main roads?