There’s already talk of a referendum petition if the Edmond City Council gives final approval of a plat for the Heritage at Coffee Creek.
Edmond City Council members voted 3-2 Tuesday night in favor of the preliminary plat for the proposed development. Mayor Dan O’Neil and City Councilman Darrell Davis voted against the item .
The preliminary plat requested by Double Eagle Development LLC is located on the south side of Coffee Creek Road, east of Kelly Avenue on the former Coffee Creek golf course. This property is zoned for single family residential purposes, City Planner Randy Entz said.
The site is the former Coffee Creek Golf Course that closed nearly three years ago.
“The scope that I believe the city council is afforded on a plat is nothing more than a variance,” said local attorney David Box, representing the applicant.
Entz said the variance encompasses three streets in excess of 700 feet of block length required by ordinance.
“To be clear if there was not a variance, this case would have never come to the city council,” Box said.
The case would have headed to District Court if the Edmond Planning Commission had not recently approved the preliminary plat, Box added.
City staff supported this variance because it improves emergency access, layout of utilities, traffic dispersal, and access for city services such as solid waste. No hardship by the variance on infill developments is sought, Box said.
“An alternative would be to have a series of cul-de-sacs on those streets instead,” Entz continued.
Resident Clay Booth said he would like more public accessibility to the engineering department’s review of the application.
Coffee Creek II resident Darrell Coffman said safety is an issue for the council to consider.
“It has to deal mainly with the street extension where Coffee Creek and Shortgrass intersect,” Coffman said.
Children often walk to and from a swimming pool in the area without watching traffic, he said. Vehicles make u-turns in an already congested area of traffic there, he explained.
He also cautioned council members that a yes vote on a variance could be misunderstood as a signal to proceed with the overall development of The Heritage at Coffee Creek.
Coffman told City Councilman Nick Massey that a series of cul-de-sacs would be safer by keeping traffic from emptying from a major neighborhood street into the pool area. Massey later said the idea of the variance did not originate with the developer but was suggested by city staff.
MAYOR QUESTIONS COMPATIBILITY
Coffee Creek II Neighborhood Association President Tonya Coffman said the plat layout will bring too much population density for emergency vehicles. However, Box reiterated that city staff supports the variance, and is an objective voice in describing how emergency access will improve with the longer street.
City Councilman Josh Moore said the original Coffee Creek II had seven variances approved in its design. Emergency vehicles could potentially use the former golf course for quick access in the neighborhood, said Dan O’Neil, mayor.
“We won’t have that now,” O’Neil said.
Car lights in windows don’t improve the quality of life, O’Neil continued.
Mike Rohlmeier of Shortgrass Circle spoke of the potential noise imposed by additional street traffic near houses.
“You’re going to have a lot of hazards here by people riding bikes and walking,” he said.
David Price said the developer’s interest is not compatible with Coffee Creek II. The applicant requested to place 201 lots on 96.64 acres. The front building line will be 20 feet. The plat also includes 15 common areas, totaling 51.4 acres. Lot sizes range from 6,000 to 11,500 square feet in size, with the majority of the lots trending to the smaller size but meeting the zoning district allowed minimum.
O’Neil questioned if smaller lot sizes will be compatible with the rest of Coffee Creek according to the Edmond Plan. Lot sizes already vary in Coffee Creek, Entz said. Smaller lots than 6,000 square feet already abut the former golf course, he said.
“They’re interested in profit and that’s it,” Price said.
Edmond Neighborhood Alliance member Ed Moore said it is tough to design and infill neighborhoods. He said it’s beyond his comprehension why the city would approve city blocks longer than the 700-foot standard.
“In this infill type of a thing — you are putting risk on the current homeowners,” Moore said.
NEW REFERENDUM PETITION SOUGHT
IF DEVELOPMENT MOVES FORWARD
On Wednesday Coffman told The Edmond Sun, “Any application made to the City of Edmond for rezoning the northeast corner of Coffee Creek and Kelly will be met with a referendum petition filed on behalf of the homeowners of Coffee Creek. We will obtain the required number of signatures necessary to have it placed on a ballot, and it will be brought to a vote of the citizens of Edmond.”
Massey said Coffee Creek II would be better off with the former planned unit development that the city council voted against in 2018. Massey was one of three council members to vote against the item then.
He made the comment, “Be careful what you wish for — you may not like what you get.”
Massey said he voted no in 2018, not because he did not believe the PUD was the best choice, but because Tonya Coffman presented 1,000 signatures for an initiative petition against the PUD.
“I thought I needed to listen to voters,” Massey said. “Of course I’ve heard since then that most of those people don’t even live in Coffee Creek, but that’s another story.”
Massey said he hopes the developer returns with a PUD because it would be a better option.
Tonya Coffman said on Thursday that the referendum was never presented as a singular neighborhood effort. Coffman said residents from all over Edmond contacted them and even stood in freezing rains to sign the petition.
The North Coffee Creek Homeowners Association filed a lawsuit Aug. 15 in District Court against the developer of the Coffee Creek Golf Course to protect the property interests of the HOA and its member homeowners.
The lawsuit remains active in District Court regarding the homeowners’ rights to live in a neighborhood they say is intrinsically linked to a golf course, Coffman said. Coffman does not expect another court hearing on the matter until 2020.
Homeowners argue that the branding of a golf course was part of the original plat and marketing materials when they purchased their property.