The Edmond Sun

November 2, 2012

Residents decry plan for East Edmond apartments

James Coburn
Special to The Sun

EDMOND — More than 100 Arbor Creek homeowners crowded into the Downtown Community Center Thursday night to question a proposed zoning change.

At issue is the Bomasada Group development firm of Houston’s plan to change an undeveloped retail zone to 3-story multi-family apartment use. Arbor Creek is located north of East Second Street and south of Danforth along Saints Boulevard, just east of Interstate 35.

A common point of contention among the homeowners is that they have purchased their homes during the past two years expecting the city of Edmond’s zoning to stay the same. Opposition in rezoning the parcel is unanimous, said Matt Burns, Arbor Creek resident.

“Nothing you can say, no matter how beautiful it looks, is going to allay my concerns as a property owner there,” said Burns, who learned of the project four days before the meeting.

Developers identify conceptual site plans, said attorney Todd McKinnis, representing Summit Property development. Plans that developers identify for the city are based on what the developer is considering at any given moment, McKinnis said.

“Those are not part of our process of what we submit to the city of Edmond,” McKinnis said. “That’s marketing our property with potential end use.”

Single property owners can only make a purchase decision based on current zoning, Burns said. There is no provision giving a developer automatic rezoning from commercial retail to multi family, Burns said.

“I don’t think we have automatic zoning,” McKinnis said. “I’m not arguing about anything. What we did is what our PUD said.”

The 2006 planned unit development of the 53 acres identified it as retail and office zoning, McKinnis said.

Arbor Creek developer Caleb McCaleb, who purchased the Arbor Creek land from Summit, asked why the property was not zoned multifamily if it had always been intended for that use. McKinnis said Summit did not know where the multi-family would fit when the PUD was made.

McKinnis said the PUD included permission to ask for up to 32 acres of multi-family. In 2011, Summit Property renewed the same PUD with the City Council.

“And now we have roughly a 22-acre piece that we’re going to ask the city to zone C3 multi family,” McKinnis said.

Plans are to construct no more than 285 apartments, McKinnis said, which is less than the 345 apartments which would be allowed if rezoning the land is approved.

“We feel it would just be wonderful for the community,” said John Gilbert, Bomasada senior vice president. The company takes a caring approach in creating a proud element of any community, said Tim Dison, Bomasada vice president.

McKinnis said he wants to hear as many concerns that the neighbors would like to share. There are no plans to extend the service road, Dison said in answer to one of the property owners’ questions.

The class A apartments would rent at a $900 a month minimum for a 700-square foot unit, Gilbert said. Class A means they would include finishing close to those of an upscale home with upgraded cabinetry and kitchen island.

“Every attempt to save trees is certainly a goal high on our list,” Dison said.

Natalie Burns said that she and her husband, Matt, value knowing her neighbors with the security of recognizing their faces. Renters generally do not live at their apartment for the long term, Natalie said.

“So I’ve sort of lost that entire dream and feeling,” she said.

Dison said the apartments would be homes for people with just as much pride in their dwellings as a homeowner. Properties are managed by caring managers, he said.

“Don’t think for a second because somebody’s got a single family home nearby that they’re any better,” he said.

The Edmond Planning Commission is scheduled to hear the item on Nov. 20 to make a zoning recommendation to the City Council.

If the City Council approves the zoning change on Dec. 10, the next step would be consideration of the site plan with the platting of the property, said Jan Ramseyer-Fees, a city planner and Community Connections coordinator.

“Doing nothing in this case is the right thing for everybody,” Matt Burns said. | 341-2121