Monday, June 25, 2018

Housing In Provo City

Photo credit: Matthew Taylor
Affordable housing has been making the news across the country.  It is not unique to Provo or to Utah that many people are struggling to find housing that can be purchased or rented in a range that is attainable for the average worker wage. According to a report in the Gardner Business Review, Utah’s demographic growth “produced exceptionally strong demand for housing, which in turn has put upward pressure on housing prices.”         

Because of the shortage in affordable housing, the Provo City Council made it one of their priorities beginning in 2016. Council’s Housing Committee was formed and the Committee worked to educate themselves on issues relative to affordable housing, brought in experts to discuss ways in which the Council can assist in increasing affordable housing options, and are working on legislation to assist developers to increase housing options in the City.

We have heard that some people believe that Provo City is turning down development projects for higher density housing. This is simply not true. The City Council has not turned down any higher density projects in the past three years. In fact, over 1,500 new housing units have been approved during that time or are currently in the process of approval. Several of those projects have been built and several others are currently under construction (see Table below).

In contrast, Orem has slowed on its development of higher density projects because they have a moratorium on new higher density housing projects on their main roads. Their total approved units over the same time period was 709. Almost all of the new projects in Orem are “market rate,” whereas a significant portion of Provo’s new housing units have been built for low- and moderate-income residents. Two of the projects over the past three years in Provo involve Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

Photo credit: Tosh Metzger
Additionally, the Council has designated parts of downtown and much of the remaining vacant ground in Southeast Provo for higher density housing. This allows projects to move forward without having to come back to Council for additional zoning approval. The Southeast Area Neighborhood Plan included changing the General Plan in the area to encourage new developments designed to meet the specific needs of single, working adults. There is currently a project moving forward aimed at supporting this demographic.

The overall housing shortage isn’t something we can resolve overnight. However, we are confident that we are making strides in the right direction. We have several other ideas we are looking into - Community Land Trusts, inclusionary zoning, and opening new opportunities for accessory units in the City. We have appreciated the support of many local agencies who have partnered with us in looking for solutions and invite you to join the conversation with us.

Recently approved higher density housing projects
Project Name
# of Units
Start-Up Crossing
100 Units
Liberty Place
120 Units
Central Park Station
59 Units
Pacific Heights
71 Units
City View Apartments
Under Construction
159 Units
Tri Tara
Under Construction
46 Units
Spring Creek Townhomes
Under Construction
120 Units
Riverwoods South Apartments
218 Units
The Mix
260 Units
401 Lofts
12 Units
The Arbors
68 Units
Blue Sky
136 Units
South State Street
Under Council Consideration
64 Units
480 N. Freedom Apartments
Planning Commission Approval
67 Units

1,509 Units

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