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The regular meeting of the City Council of Oklahoma City on July 30 saw a quick handling of business as usual and a general air of cooperation from a sometimes divided body.

Streetscapes in the Paseo, new appointees, abandoned buildings, and a permit for an Emergency Shelter and Feeding Site were among the items on the agenda. Below are highlights.

How the sausage gets made

Local government according to columnist Marty Peercy

Three new appointments were approved unanimously in one vote: Kris Dahlgren to serve on the Citizens Capital Improvements Tax Advisory Board, Harshil Patel to serve on the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Commission, and Brent Bryant to serve on the Oklahoma City Post-Employment Benefits Trust.

One revocable permit was issued to EnMotive Oklahoma for the “Hottest 5k,” August 9, 2019 with an after party at Wheeler Park.

The Council quickly convened, each in turn, as the Municipal Facilities Authority, Public Property Authority, and the Environmental Assistance Trust, and passed each item on those bodies’ agendas before reconvening as the City Council.

Consent docket

The Consent Docket came on for consideration. Four items were set aside for separate discussion or voting.

First was a resolution amending the Continuum of Care Operating Agreement transferring that agreement from Homeless Alliance to Mental Health Association Oklahoma as of June 30, 2019. This was set aside so that Councilperson Hamon could recuse as MHAOK is Hamon’s primary employer. The item passed.

Next were two streetscape projects set aside by Councilman Cooper in order to comment and bring the projects to the public’s attention. One project is in the vicinity of Paseo between NW 28th St and NW 30th St. The second is North Portland Avenue between NW 23rd St. and NW 36th St.

Marva Ellard
Marva Ellard, developer of the Sieber Historic Apartments and Villa Theresa Residences properties, makes her presentation for saving the old city jail across the street from the current county jail. Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press

The final item was a deferred item from last meeting regarding the old city jail.

Marva Ellard wants to save the building and renovate it. She was asked at the last meeting to come back with a timeline for the project. Stonecipher said in Council that he wasn’t satisfied with the timeline and asked that the item be deferred again until next meeting. The Council agreed.

The remainder of the Consent Docket was unanimously passed.

Several rezoning items were agreed to on recommendation of the Planning Commission. These items were all before the Planning Commission weeks ago and there were no surprises among them.

A permit for an Emergency Shelter and Feeding Site at 5901 S Missouri Avenue came for consideration. This was protested during the early stages of the permitting process at a level requiring a vote “Aye” of at least 7 members of the Council. It passed unanimously. The organization is called Joe’s Addiction and serves people experiencing poverty and homelessness in SE Oklahoma City. They have a coffee shop that serves as a drop-in center and community center and church. (Full disclosure, I have had a working relationship with this organization for several years.)

The Municipal Counselor’s office gave a presentation to the council about new fee schedules and compliance regulations for medical marijuana businesses. The ordinance was accepted for introduction. That means that it will have public hearing at the meeting of this body on August 13, and then considered for adoption on August 27.

The following agenda items were to declare properties dilapidated, unsecured, or abandoned.

Items from Council

Councilman Stonecipher took time to report on the recently adopted fine reduction, or “amnesty,” program. He stated that without any advertising the program has already brought in over $22,000 in previously unpaid fines. He said that next month the program will be advertised in a local magazine.

Councilwoman Nikki Nice thanked Municipal Court Administrator LaShawn Thompson for her critical role in making the Amnesty Program work, along with the entire Municipal Court staff.

Nice went on to say that at the previous evening’s Opportunity Zone meeting, the Amnesty Program was discussed at length. She said the meeting was well attended and gave the community an opportunity to hear about Opportunity Zones and to give feedback about the future of the community.

Nice also invited the Council and the community to a block party at NE 7th St and MLK on Sunday, 8/4. She said the block party will be attended by Energy FC players and staff. It will feature music and food trucks.

Councilperson Hamon reported to the Council about her recent trip to a conference in Detroit with Councilwoman Nice. Hamon said that the conference had a focus on reclaiming power at a local level.

Councilman Cooper thanked Councilman Stone for giving him a tour of Ward 4. He also thanked Boys & Girls Club for inviting him to watch and discuss a movie with participants.

And then he warned those assembled to not be intimidated by white supremacists.

Cooper also invited residents to attend a meeting of the 39th St. District at Expressions Church to discuss redesign and streetscaping in the district on July 31. The designer for the project will be present to get insights from the community.

Streetlights

The Council received a report on streetlight repairs. Part of this report was a brief presentation about the Oklahoma City Police Department’s Metal Theft Unit. That unit has two detectives who investigate and combat the theft of metal. It’s quite successful is what we heard.

Public Comment

Local public Commenter, Ronnie Kirk of Ward 7, was the only resident who came for public comment. He discussed, as usual, restrooms in parks, access to the river, and jobs for young people.

The meeting adjourned and as I left Mayor Holt wished me a happy birthday on behalf of the people of Oklahoma City.



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