Proposition 5, the referendum containing the proposed PD-48 zone change to develop student housing in the Palos Verdes neighborhood, only affects this project, according to Taylor Woodbury and Kyle Jardine.
Woodbury is the COO of Woodbury Corp, and Jardine is the development manager of PEG Development. The proposed zone change will allow the developers to build high-density student housing in near the Gunther Technology building.
The event was a chance for the developers to set the record straight and dispel any myths being spread by the opposition. Armed with a PowerPoint presentation, the duo tackled frequently asked questions, design concerns and traffic concerns.
“What we’ve been doing is we’ve been holding a few information sessions all over Orem, and we’ve had people reach out to us saying ‘hey, you really should hold one at Utah Valley University,” Woodbury said.
He said that they have been working on getting this project approved for nearly two years and that they adjusted the project several times after receiving feedback from Orem City and its residents, as well as Alpine School District.
Some of the changes that were made include widening 960 South and adding a traffic light, removing access to 400 West, and increased the parking ratio to 0.8 per person.
Both Jardine and Woodbury encouraged attendees to vote for the proposed zone change.
However, Let Orem Vote, a political inaction committee (PIC), wants residents to vote against Proposition 5 because of concerns it has with traffic, crime, and the relationship between UVU and the developers.
The PIC says that the development will result in nearly 5,400 new car trips. However, Jardine said that 70 percent of cars in the housing development will flow through campus rather than the surrounding neighborhoods.
Woodbury and Cameron Gunter, CEO of PEG, are both members of UVU’s Foundation Board, which is an endowment that raises funds for the university and invests also those funds.
According to the Foundation’s website, “it has contributed millions of dollars in support for UVU. This support includes funding for scholarships, curriculum development, and institutional support.”
“We’re responsible for fundraising in the school and then also for investing endowment dollars the school has,” Woodbury said. They then get a return on investments that go back into the university for things such as new scholarships, new buildings and even new professors he said.
There is an arm of the Foundation known as the Investment Committee, which uses Foundation money to invest in projects beneficial to the university. Woodbury and Gunter are not on this committee.
According to the Foundation’s 2017 Annual Financial Report, the Investment Committee invested $2 million in the Palos Verdes Drive LLC at 37 percent interest.
Woodbury and Jardine addressed Let Orem Vote’s concerns by saying that Woodbury and Gunter were never part of any discussions on the neighborhood and were never present.
Foundation Board minutes from May 2018 on Utah’s Public Notice website show that Gunter and Woodbury excused themselves during an executive session.
Let Orem Vote’s website also accuses Woodbury of tearing down the houses because the homeowners objected to the proposed rezone.
During the event, Woodbury said that the houses were torn down because there was increased crime in the vacant neighborhood. He said that there were break-ins, drug deals and squatters in the empty houses.
An increase in crime is one of the reasons Let Orem Vote opposes the neighborhood.
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