Preserving the historic legacy of the Coffee Creek addition from a development its residents deemed incongruent propelled Clay Booth to declare his candidacy for Edmond City Council, Ward 1.
Booth, 59, is an attorney and a resident of Coffee Creek. He also advocated at the city council, as an attorney representing the addition, for the preservation of the neighborhood against a PUD plan to reshape the closed golf course with residential and some commercial development.
The PUD was denied at the city council; however, a case is pending in district court. Booth said a motion to dismiss the case in favor of the developer was not allowed Friday. The case is moving forward, he said.
The city council’s decision leaves the possibility of single family development intact. Attorney Randel Shadid in representing the developer Double Eagle Development warned that his client still has the right to develop the property owned by Double Eagle Development. However, he had said the outcome of development would likely be even more incongruent with the longstanding appeal of the neighborhood.
Shadid recently announced his retirement that became effective Jan. 1.
Booth said Coffee Creek epitomizes the ambiance of Edmond. Booth said he is not against developments in Edmond, but developments should be approved when they respect the community, he explained.
Ordinances exist to assure the credibility of developers, Booth said, and he believes compatibility is a central element of rezoning.
The lawsuit asserts the homeowners’ rights to live in a neighborhood they say is intrinsically linked to a golf course. Homeowners argued that the branding of a golf course was part of the original plat and marketing materials when they purchased their property.
Booth moved to Coffee Creek in 2006 feeling very excited to live in a golf course community.
“The bottom line is there needs to be a way where I know as a homeowner or that I know as a business person what I can and can’t do in the City of Edmond when it comes to development,” Booth continued. “And I think the city needs to follow the standards that they have established.
“I think that would give certainty to everybody who lives here.”
Booth said traffic density is a critical factor to weigh when considering the pros and cons of any developer’s proposal that calls for a rezoning or a variance from existing standards.
Drainage issues are another factor for the city council to oversee.
“We saw that in downtown. They were revamping downtown to keep businesses from flooding,” he said.
Booth said the existing Edmond Plan is valuable to the community. On Jan. 14, the city council will take final action to approve the updated Edmond Plan.
Historic preservation of Route 66 will be important, he said. And he likes the city council’s support in its renovation of the Edmond Historical Society and Museum.
Booth wants to encourage more development along Broadway knowing the city considers incentives and making it a priority, but he believes the council’s approval of sign variances for businesses are too liberal.
“Some developers want to have a sign 30 feet in the air, and if they can’t get it there, then what they want to do is have a five-story building,” he said. “That’s what I’m saying in part with the balance between the community and developers.”
Booth does not have a problem finding stores and businesses with Edmond’s existing sign ordinances, he said. Ordinances diminish confusion and make it clear what developments can or cannot do, he emphasized.
“It’s going to depend on the drafter. Right?” he said. “If they hired a New York city planner to come write up a city plan, do you think he will (consult) as a guy who grew up in Oklahoma or in Edmond?”
People choose to raise their families in Edmond based on what they know. So the Edmond Plan is a value resource to be respected, he said.
Booth has one adult son, and his wife, Karla, has two daughters — both adults.
Booth said he admires Edmond residents for standing up and telling city leaders what is important to them.
“I think it is important for the city to know,” he said. “If they don’t hear from anybody, maybe somebody up there in the city council or city planners needs to be concerned. I think it’s important for people to speak up.”