Purchase of a surf machine for the whitewater facility in the Boathouse District, the potential rezoning of a formerly agricultural plot for affordable housing, and the controversial Greenwell Ordinance on Historic Preservation, contributed to a five-hour OKC Council meeting Tuesday.
How the sausage gets madeLocal government according to columnist Marty Peercy
City Manager Craig Freeman brought an item recommending over $1.4 million in allocations from MAPS 3 funds for the Boathouse District to construct a double-occupancy surf machine, and no I’m not making a joke.
A double-occupancy surf machine is the sort of amusement you might see at a Whitewater Bay or on a cruise ship. And one is coming soon to a Boathouse District near you. But not everybody was excited about the new feature of this struggling district.
Ward 6 Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon* stated that since this body only two weeks ago agreed to bail out the Boathouse District, she would far prefer to see the district in a better financial position before allocating further funds to them.
Ward 5 Councilman David Greenwell said that a year ago this district requested and was allocated $7.9 million to make this project work, then last week they came asking for more.
Greenwell said that the leaders of the district have lacked transparency and that the Council has been misinformed along the way. He added that the allocation had already been promised but that it all bothered him.
The project was voted to be sent for bid with only Hamon voting against.
A proposed development at 9521 SW 15th Street came up for consideration.
The land was zoned AA (agricultural), but the developer sought a rezoning to Planned Use Development (PUD). The developer wants to build homes in a low-density residential fashion.
The plan would use tax credits from the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency to build homes on 6,000 square foot lots that would then be leased with an option to purchase by families who might otherwise face difficulty buying homes.
Residents of the neighborhood abutting the proposed development voiced protests.
Concerns about the development included increases in traffic in the area, tree removal, noise and dust, and danger to Vietnamese neighbors who walk in the streets. The most compelling argument to Ward 2 Councilman James Cooper was a concern for the floodplain.
The plot in question has many runoff areas that do not terminate in Mustang Creek. Construction will divert all runoff to that creek, changing the landscape and water table.
The rezoning passed with Cooper alone voting no.
The controversial historic preservation ordinance change presented by Ward 8 Councilman Mark Stonecipher and David Greenwell of Ward 5 was brought for the next required public hearing before a final vote at the October 22 Council meeting.
The ordinance was heard by the Planning Commission on September 26 and received no recommendation from that body. Greenwell and Stonecipher intend to move ahead requesting a vote on the ordinance.
Residents of the Crown Heights neighborhood and an attorney representing the homeowners’ association of Heritage Hills attended the meeting to protest.
A lively conversation formed around the horseshoe. Greenwell explained the 5th and 6th amendments to the U.S. Constitution to whoever on the Council might not believe in said document. Several attorneys explained their opinions, and largely all the white men in the room came to detente.
*Disclosure: Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon is the wife of Marty Peercy who wrote this report.
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