The Edmond Sun
Opposition by residents living near Oak Ridge Drive was not enough to stop the City Council from approving a rezoning request by Hansen Properties from office space to duplexes and restricted commercial use. The vote was 4-1 with Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner casting the no vote.
Concerns about traffic on Oak Ridge, renting duplexes, lacking green belt protection and fears of decreasing property values brought residents from surrounding neighborhoods to protest the item.
“I paid cash for my home. It’s not much, it’s less than $200,000,” said Karen Hoskins, nearby resident. “It’s all I got. I have to keep the value in my home.”
This development will be north of Second Street about one-third of a mile west of Interstate 35. To the north of this PUD is the Windsong addition and to the west of the property is an undeveloped flood plain. The Ridge Pointe subdivision is to the east of the tract. Mason Oaks is a single family addition to the northeast.
A 5.55-acre tract off Second Street will provide a 24,000-square-foot, brick veneer retail center, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
The northern piece of adjoining land is proposed for the 3,000- to 4,000-square-foot duplexes. Ten duplex lots totaling 20 dwelling units are proposed for a typical lot size of 85 feet by 120 feet.
A sight-proof stockade fence will be built along the north property line from Oakridge Drive to the west boundary of the last duplex lot.
The developer will provide additional widening for a 23-foot right turn lane on Oakridge Drive, said Steve Manek, city engineer. Paving will extend 150 feet north of Second Street.
Attorney Todd McKinnis, representing the applicant, said the throat of the turn lane will be 32-34 feet wide with access to Second Street. Oakridge Drive is currently a one-drive approach to the property.
“It’s an older road — narrow,” said Nick Massey, city councilman, who is up for election April 2 against Shilpa Abbitt. “That doesn’t change the fact this particular lot is going to be developed somehow, either all commercial, or a combination of commercial and duplexes.”
Massey said the council follows the standard of balancing what is best for a neighborhood with the long-term good of the community.
“All of you have said that we want to listen to the residents,” said Tom Petty, who lives in the area. “And here we have a lot of residents saying no to this. Keep it as planned. Keep it commercial. And we had a 2-2 vote last time and now we have a full council. If it gets approved, you’re not listening to the residents.”
Petty asked why the city has a Planning Commission if the City Council does not take the planning commission’s recommendation to vote against the item.
“First of all, planning commissions are statutorily required,” said Mayor Charles Lamb, who is on the April 2 ballot for re-election against Richard Prawdzienski. “They are appointed. They’re not elected, and then the application can frequently go through changes by the time we see it.”
Waner said she is concerned the project will create too much traffic congestion.
“I think office is a better buffer. I think we need to give recognition with what the Master Plan tells us is best for carrying the traffic,” Waner said.