I do not recommend attending the meeting of the Oklahoma County Planning Commission. It is important, but it is not fun, and it is barely interesting.
The Planning Commission is made up of one County Commissioner, currently District 1’s Carrie Blumert holds this seat, and two appointees from each of the three county districts.
District 1 appointee Irene Martin chaired this meeting and Planning Director Tyler Gammon, Jr. provided background and took the votes. Each vote of this commission was a roll call vote if you want to know how dry it was. When the meeting was called to order Gammon called the name of each member of the Commission, just like in school. They answered “Present” or “Here.”
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I attended Thursday, Below is a list of the agenda items that were voted on.
- Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting, which passed. On member, District 1 appointee Charles Defuria abstained, an act that I found bathed in mystery.
- Two applications from the Jennifer Turner Family Trust, one to rezone and one to Plat were deferred until August. They had been deferred until July, but I guess those particular ducks were not yet in a row. Also, stick around because this gets almost interesting at the end.
- Trent T Lauridson dba Regency Bank applied for a special use permit to continue using a modified house for storage of chattel property, but not livestock one presumes. This comes up every three years. It was unanimously approved.
- Crafton Tull & Associates applied for a final Plat for Phase 1 of a single-family residential subdivision called Tuscan Estates. That subdivision is on North Rockwell south of NW 234th St. Incredibly bland stuff here.
- Principal Planner of the County, Erik Brandt came to discuss and review with the Commission a final draft update of Oklahoma County Zoning Regulations.
- The Commission voted unanimously to receive the June 2019 Fee Fund Report. While I have had great fun since saying “Fee Fund Report” out loud, I do not know what it really is. Likewise, I do not care too much.
- The final item for voting was to adjourn. And adjourn they did.
Of particular interest to me was the review of new Zoning Regulations. They’ve removed some zoning categories that are overly complicated, like Multi-Level Duplex which is honestly a thing I don’t believe exists. They’ve added a couple of categories to keep up with changing desires in the zoning community. They’ve added some landscape, signage, and lighting regulations.
Next month the consultants that have been working on the revisions will be at the meeting, so go ahead and slap that into your calendar. During Brandt’s review Commissioner Blumert asked if this revision is something they do every two years. The long-timers in the room laughed bitterly. Apparently they revise the regulations when they are funded to do so. This will be the first revision since 1991. I’ll wait to go on while your mind reels.
Brandt said the subdivision regulations will have even more significant revisions because it’s been a similar amount of time. Lucky for Tuscan Estates, they got in ahead of that.
Something you may have learned if you were at this meeting is that “dba” means Doing Business As. I already knew that, but maybe you didn’t and now you do and I think you should just pretend you’ve known it all along.
You may also have learned that Gretchen Crawford of the DA’s office sits with the Commission during their meeting to keep an eye on the legality of the proceedings. This became especially important during the penultimate agenda item, New Business.
None of the Commissioners had
His name is Jason Dunn, we learned, and he has property very near the property involved in the two deferred items from earlier. He’s concerned that he and his neighbors were not notified about the application from the Trust, nor about it’s hearing at this meeting. He was in no way disrespectful, and his affect was calm and almost apologetic for the interruption.
District 1 appointee Dave Ritchie asked the DA’s office if the Commission could appropriately hear Mr. Dunn at this point and Crawford said no because there was no agenda item for Citizen’s Comments and so it would violate the Open Meetings Act. I agree with her.
Commissioner Blumert asked if they might simply reopen one of the relevant agenda items in order to hear Mr. Dunn. Crawford said that they could not because they had already been voted on. I disagree. Mr. Dunn was satisfied to stick around and discuss with Mr. Gammon after the meeting.
As the meeting adjourned I reflected on a time an hour earlier when I had not ever sat through one of these meetings. What a time to be alive that had been.
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