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April 23, 2013

High-density ordinance reconfigured

NORMAN — High-density discussions took a turn for the different Monday night as members of Norman City Council dumped the proposed draft ordinance prepared by city staff and shifted to three density zoning levels.

Norman’s Ward 4 residents, unhappy with city drafts of the proposed ordnance, had written an ordinance of their own. Neither side was happy, and neither side wanted to budge much — based on early council discussion Monday evening — until Mayor Cindy Rosenthal suggested that a compromise could serve everyone’s interests.

Gone are ideas of specific high-density districts assigned by area. Instead, the city council can approve levels of density based on the project proposed. Each proposal would be considered on its own merit.

All projects still will require a traffic impact study, with the goal to maintain the current service level.

“There will have to be recommendations on what types of improvements are needed,” City Attorney Jeff Bryant said.

The levels would be High Density 1, 2 or 3, with the following guidelines for each:

· HD1 would have a height restriction of 37 feet or whatever will allow three stories (staff will clarify on the exact feet for the ordinance draft) and 40 units per acre density. There would be no retail at this level.

While some argued this is already available in RM-6 zoning, HD 1 would be a more urban setting without the setback requirements of RM-6. On-site parking would be required but could be a surface lot. Structural parking would not be required, and no parking impact fee would be required.

· HD 2 would have a height restriction of 48 or 52 feet, with 75 units per acre density. While structured parking would not be required, an impact fee that would provide a tradeoff for a parking structure would be required. Those fees will go to a dedicated fund for a parking structure that would serve the area.

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