The Norman Transcript

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November 29, 2012

Zoning change moves forward

NORMAN — Three city council members vote against measure

Norman City Council members voted 5-3 to approve a zoning change request to allow construction of a proposed apartment complex at the southwest corner of 36th Avenue Northwest and Tecumseh Road.

Protesters from nearby Cascade Estates and Castlerock neighborhoods had gathered 835 petition signatures opposing the change, and many of the residents filled the city’s council chambers, overflowing into the outside hall at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“I think it was pretty clear from myself and the residents that the opposition to this was about the rezoning,” said Ward 8 Council member Chad Williams, who voted against the request. “As a city, we spend tons of money all the time to pay for plans and for people to give us studies of what we should do as far as planning for the city, and then we ignore it. It was all about zoning for me.”

Also dissenting were Mayor Cindy Rosenthal and Ward 1 Council member Roger Gallagher. Ward 4 Council member Greg Jungman, who works for Housing and Urban Development, recused himself because the applicant hopes to use HUD financing for the project.

“We’ve debated this project for quite a long time now,” said attorney Sean Rieger, who represented the applicant.

At an October meeting, the Norman Planning Commission handed down a 3-3 split decision, which sent the item forward to the city council without a recommendation from the commission. City staff recommended approval, according to city reports.

The request to amend the Norman 2025 Land Use and Transportation Plan from Commercial Designation to Medium Density Residential Designation to allow for the multi-family housing project came from OSOI Tecumseh Development LLC and NE Development LLC.

At the October meeting, city staff reported to the planning commission that the multi-family development would serve to buffer the nearby single-family residential neighborhood from the burgeoning commercial area east of 36th Avenue Northwest, but neighbors said they want more commercial development in the area, not multi-family housing.

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