The Norman Transcript

Government

December 12, 2013

Committee will study corridor between campus and downtown

NORMAN — A newly appointed committee is charged with creating a vision for Norman’s future.

Developers who built high-density student housing in Stillwater went away disappointed earlier this year after Norman leaders could not agree on an economically viable high-density model.

Now, without the pressure of pending projects, the city has a chance to create Norman’s vision for its future, at least in the corridor linking campus to downtown.

When the highly contentious, high-density talks hit a standoff, the University of Oklahoma reached out to the city and suggested a joint visioning process for a core area of Norman.

Whether Norman will adopt zoning to allow higher density than currently allowed remains to be seen, but those decisions will be based on a model created by residents and local stakeholders, rather than pushed forward by outside forces.

“This is not high density part 2,” Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. “It’s really asking the question of what kind of redevelopment we want in that area.”

On Tuesday, the Norman City Council approved appointments to the new Center City Master Plan Visioning Committee, an ad hoc committee that has been established to move forward with redevelopment discussions in the area, including the Campus Corner commercial district and the commercial district on Main Street east of Flood Avenue and west of the railroad tracks.

“It’s a fairly narrowly defined area,” Rosenthal said.

A memorandum of understanding with the university is expected to come before the city council in January outlining a cost share arrangement.

According to city staff notes, the composition of the committee was “designed to reflect the diverse interests of the University of Oklahoma, Campus Corner and downtown business communities, the neighborhoods and the city.”

The committee will help develop a community vision and will oversee the implementation of policies to realize that vision.

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