The Norman Transcript

November 26, 2013

Development patterns favor modern trends

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Land use and shared space continue to be at the top of Norman’s routine business as the city works to find funding for infrastructure and core services.

On Tuesday, land use changes were simple and straightforward — mixed use, infill and a slightly higher density in property near campus. The Norman City Council approved those requests without debate, but trends in development and the continual demand for housing in Norman remain evident.

At Classen Boulevard and Boyd Street, the applicant requested a zoning change to C-2 General Commercial, with special used for a mixed building on the site adjacent to the existing gas station.

This zoning will allow an infill project incorporating retail and housing on an adjacent vacant lot. A mixed use addition on a similar lot already was approved and built on the west side of the existing convenience store.

Now, the applicant wants to build a similar expansion unit on the east side, according to city staff reports.

The addition would have about 800 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, with an efficiency style apartment of about 800 square feet on the upper floor. The council voted unanimously in favor of the zoning change.

At 1418 George Ave., the property owner requested a zoning change to allow construction of a single-story addition to an existing home to create a duplex. The council had previously approved a duplex next door at the corner of George and Stinson streets.

The new unit will have a separate driveway entrance, according to staff reports. The same architect designed both George Avenue duplexes. The measure was unanimously approved.

A request for an amendment in the PUD of the 36th North Business Park on the east side of 36th Avenue Northwest a half-mile north of West Rock Creek Road also included the possibility of mixed use.

The preliminary plat consists of 20.5 acres, which has been proposed as a multiple-use business park.

“The only change in this application is in the PUD narrative,” said Tom McCaleb, representing the applicant.

Residential components of the PUD are unchanged. The PUD amendment will allow a commercial component to the bottom floor that only affects industrial or commercial properties on the east side of the plat. This development will consist of a Mixed-Use PUD — office, commercial and residential uses could be included.

The west seven acres of the development will continue to be limited to buildings of no greater than two stories, and commercial uses will be restricted to the ground floor with the possibility of residential or office uses on the second floor. One automobile service station is permitted within this portion of the development.

The remaining area will consist of buildings with a maximum height of four stories, with commercial, office and residential uses permitted. Again, commercial uses will be restricted to the ground floor of the buildings. The development has been designed with several open landscaped features, according to city staff reports.

The site was originally platted as Broce Industrial Park Addition in 1973 and has gone through many zoning changes throughout the decades.

While none of the zoning changes adopted Tuesday will put a strain on existing infrastructure, the city continues moves forward with road building and capital improvement projects to meet the needs of a growing population.

A recently passed wastewater rate increase will help fund improvements and expansion of the southside water reclamation facility, and voters will consider a stormwater fee for improved drainage and renewal of the Public Safety Sales Tax in the near future.

On Tuesday, the city council set dates for the upcoming city council elections. Even-numbered ward seats will be up for re-election in 2014. After a lengthy debate, an April 1 council election date was chosen, with June 24 to serve as the runoff date if needed.

The measure establishing the April and June election dates passed in a 6 to 3 vote, with council members Robert Castleberry, Tom Kovach and Chad Williams voting against.

Should the PSST renewal initiative be ready in time, voters could see it on the April ballot, as well. City leaders said a vote on the possible stormwater fee is further down the road.

In other city business, Castleberry requested that the $63,969 contract with Sooner Theatre be amended to include an additional $13,005 that was part of cuts the council made during budget negotiations this summer. With the audit completed and money available, the council unanimously approved the amendment.

Joy Hampton




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