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Provo City Council looks to tighten development rules in the foothills

Provo City Council Chambers | Provo City

PROVO, Utah – The Provo City Council is ready to put new rules on development in the foothills following public opposition to a housing project earlier this year. 

The Critical Hillside Overlay would impose new restrictions on 845 acres near the east bench. 

Council Chairman George Handley said during an online town hall Thursday night that housing could still be built in the area if the rules are passed. 

“It simply provides what we hope are more rigorous and clear standards for those areas that are or might be deemed to developable. So, that if we do choose to develop, we do it right,” Handley said. 

The rules do not stop the building of homes in the foothills. But they would require builders to respect the ecology and aesthetics of the area. 

For example, buildings would have to be designed to follow the natural contours and to blend in with the natural surroundings. Landscaping would also have to incorporate natural features. 

Incentives would be given to developers who keep trails intact or increase housing density, which would keep more green space available to the public. 

Chairman Handley acknowledged the concerns about the earlier housing project, as well as the gravel pits that have also caused environmental concerns. 

“The foothills are a tremendous treasure to our community, but they’re also easily degraded and damaged. That damage is sometimes very difficult to repair,” Handley said. 

Despite the environmental concerns, the overlap has been scaled back from its original size due to concerns from homeowners that it would prevent them from doing repairs to their property. 

The Provo City Council is expected to vote on a final draft of the rules on May 19th. 

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