Farm Resists Encroaching Sprawl

Development encroaches on one of the last family farms in Orem, Utah. Now the Cook Family Farm intends to stand their ground in the face of new city mandates and developer pressure.
August 25, 2008, 9am PDT | rmarkosian
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"Farmland along Utah's Wasatch Front is quickly being devoured by housing, big box stores and retail outlets. As corporate investment is flowing into Utah, cities are competing for tax revenue these will projects provide. Consequently, there are very few farms close to city centers, and there is no longer a agricultural zoning that once protected suburban farmers. Instead, farmers are zoned as mixed-multipurpose use. This allows cities to mandate that farmers obtain building permits for greenhouses and barns. In the latest twist, Orem City, Utah is imposing on Farmer Verl Cook, a requirement to provide a half-acre parking lot for his greenhouse customers, a $150-$200 thousand dollar expense.

Verl Cook's Greenhouse and Farm is providing fresh cheap produce for Salt Lake City's Farmer's market, one of the last large operation farms able to satisfy the "localvore" movement, all the while he is being pressured by both developers and Orem city to sell. According to Cook, these City mandates and pressure is all in an effort by Orem City to reap the rewards of an additional mega store or housing project where his farm is located (just off Interstate 15)."

Thanks to Richard Paul Markosian

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Published on Sunday, August 24, 2008 in Utah Stories
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