Orem resident hopes to halt high-rise building construction with petition

Posted at 8:27 PM, Oct 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-06 10:22:46-04

OREM, Utah -- Residents in Orem are petitioning to make sure a lot on the corner of North 1200 West and West 1200 North doesn't get turned into a 140-foot tall building.

"One hundred forty feet will definitely be a disaster for north Orem," said resident Brian Kelly, who organized the petition.

He lives blocks away from the proposed construction. He thinks it'll negatively impact nearby residents and congest traffic on North 1200 West.

"Height and the traffic are an issue," he said.

The building, which will house Orem-based tech company Jive, would stand along Interstate 15.

Right now, a vacant building sits on the dilapidated lot.

The Orem City Council approved re-zoning the land in September to allow for the 140-foot tall structure.

Current zoning regulations only allow for 60-foot tall buildings.

"There's where they sign it, right here," Kelly said, pointing to his petition.

If he gathers the required 6,400 signatures, the matter would show up on the ballot in two years- bringing the issue to voters.

"Signing the petition ultimately kills the project," said Steven Downs, Assistant to the Orem City Manager.

Downs said if the petition goes through, it halts the chance for growth and development in Orem.

Other companies have moved away before, he said.

"Adobe and AtTask, which is now Workfront- Xactware, have all left," Downs said.

City officials want Jive to stay- and in the proposed new building.

"It's an area, part of town that is very visible from freeway," Downs said. "It speaks a lot to what Orem is, because as you pass through Orem, this is what you see."

The company agrees that their building will rejuvenate, not hinder, the area.

"The building that we're going to be putting there is a gorgeous building." said Jive CEO John Pope. "It's going to be great for the area."

He said they're lowering the building height, as requested by the city when they passed the zoning change. Originally, plans called for the structure to rise up to 180 feet.

Downs said it's a great compromise and strikes the balance of being sensitive to residents, while still allowing for development.

Kelly doesn't think so.

"There are people that want to see it built but somewhere else," he said.

Kelly plans to hold a petition drive to gather signatures on Tuesday at the Bonneville Elementary School, 1245 N. 800 West, from 6 to 8 pm.

He has until late October to collect enough for the ballot.

Pope said as of now, they plan to break ground on the new building in early 2016, with construction lasting nine to 12 months.