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November 28, 2012

Zoning request draws protest

City council to weigh property right issues

(Continued)

NORMAN —

In addition, those buildings will have no windows facing the residential neighborhood and the height of those buildings will be two stories, not three.

“The closest windows that actually face the neighborhood are over 300 feet away,” McCaleb said.

The project proposed “tuck under” garages, a characteristic of higher-end apartments, he said.

Other high-end elements include 70 percent or more masonry and high-quality materials.

“I can’t think of another facility that has integrated garages like this,” Rieger said.

He said the $103,000 per unit cost is unusual for Norman. The area has changed because the HealthPlex was built in the area.

Rieger said 25 acres of high-density residential was planned for across the street, but the high-density residential was lost in the shuffle when the hospital came along, leaving a shortage of high density, which is needed, Rieger said.

The complex would target young professionals and will have 65 percent one bedroom units.

Protester Heath Hans said the funding from Housing and Urban Development is making the project possible.

He said with interest costs so low, he questions why HUD financing is needed.

“In 2008 when the market dropped, things changed at that corner,” Hans said.

He urged the city council to hold on and believe that commercial growth will come to that corner.

Hans said available funding right now for multifamily is what is pushing that development, but multifamily does not meet the area’s needs.

“I think the HUD financing was mischaracterized,” former council member Hal Ezzell said. He spoke in favor of the project.

Joy Hampton366-3539jhampton@normantranscript.com

 

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