A rezoning effort by Hansen Properties failed this week to allow duplexes to be built west of Oak Ridge Drive.
The proposed development, north of Second Street about one-third of a mile west of Interstate 35, brought about 25 nearby residents protesting the item at the Edmond Planning Commission. The item failed 2-3 with commissioners Rob Rainey and Mark Hoose voting in favor of the project.
“I appreciate builders wanting to build and make money on their transactions, but this is wrong,” said nearby resident Ted Petty. “I think all this room is from Oakridge Circle, and we have a real issue with duplexes going in.”
To the north of this PUD is the Windsong addition and the west of the property is an undeveloped flood plain. The Ridge Pointe subdivision is to the east of tract.
The proposed zoning is a mixed use planned unit development on 4.38 acres of land. One of the tracts is already zoned for restricted retail commercial. It borders the front on Second Street and will be left alone for developing a 24,000-square-foot, brick veneer retail center, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
The adjoining piece of land is proposed for the duplexes. Ten duplex lots totaling 20 dwelling units are proposed for a typical lot size of 85 feet by 120 feet, Schiermeyer said.
“The homes all in Windsong are in the $200,000 range,” Petty said. “And you’re talking about putting in very high potential rental properties right next door to that with no green belt protection, or any other than a chain link fence which is ridiculous.”
Nathan Wells said the project will lower the value of his neighborhood. Retail is the proper use of the land, Petty said.
Petty asked if a study has been made on the additional traffic that the development would bring to Oakridge. City Engineer Steve Manek said there has not been a traffic study on the duplexes. Retail would bring more traffic than duplexes, he added. No improvements are planned for Oakridge Drive, which is a one-drive approach to the property.
“This morning I waited five minutes just to turn onto Second Street,” said Wells, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
Former Mayor Dan O’Neil said Oakridge is little more than an overgrown alley and should be completed as a full-scale street. The road was built during the 1930s for people to live in the country, he said.
“Any plan that says we don’t want to finish that road would be incumbent on the Planning Commission to carefully consider that,” O’Neil said.
Jean Kern said Oakridge Circle, a one-lane road, is dangerous to approach in the dark with no turning lane from Second Street.
“Part of the reason that I did buy the home — one of the first homes down there — is the restricted development behind the lots that backs up to the woods. It never crossed my mind that Edmond would consider duplexes,” said Michael Jensen, nearby resident.
Ernie Isch, representing the applicant, said the current zoning is a step-down from the proposed duplex development process. Windsong is complete with 24 units while only 20 units are proposed by Hansen Properties, Isch said.
“If you wanted us to come back and do a single family development, we could actually increase the density,” Isch said. “But we’re planning 3,000 to 4,000-square-foot duplexes, which would be 1,500 to 2,000 per side. They will be very nice.”
Planning Commission Chairman Barry Moore said he approves of the idea of office space for the tract, but that retail does not make sense.
“I think this is an irrational proposition with the duplexes,” Moore said. “I just think this is a bad precedent. I think there is a traffic nightmare out there already.”
The item will go before the City Council on Jan. 8.
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