NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
This letter is in response to recent letters and reporting in regard to high-density housing, especially the project being pushed for Campus Corner. In layman’s terms, high density is the new terminology for developers to build high-rise apartments with little or no parking. The return, of course, is money, limited land investment and four to five levels of apartments.
Developers have even enlisted the Sierra Club as an endorsement against urban sprawl, but proponents of high density fail to tell the whole story. The Sierra Club supports high density with the following stipulations: 1) non-stress of existing parking and traffic systems, 2) developed public transit system, 3) compatibility with neighborhood and 4) integrated shopping system (walkable grocery, etc).
The proposal on Campus Corner fails all these criteria.
1. Parking: Campus Corner has added more than 2,500 restaurant seats in the last nine years, and guess how many parking spaces — zero, nada! This high-density proposal adds only 250 parking spaces for approximately 300 tenants. Some of these spaces are double-counted for the proposed shops, employees and customers. Conservatively, there is a shortage of 150 spaces, adding to the current lack of parking (ironically, the one agreement of opponents and developers — lack of parking — which leads to the next question ... how about a parking garage? The answer? Not enough ROI). Traffic — the one study done so far did not reflect the answer developers wanted and has disappeared. Do the study at 4 in the morning to prove no traffic impact!.
2. Developed public transit system: Painfully inadequate.
3. Compatibility with neighbors: Go to the new athletic dorms, stand on the east side at 3 p.m. and look for the sun. Will the parishioners at St. John’s ever see the sun in the afternoon again? Imagine this monstrosity in your neighborhood looking into your bedroom.
4. Integrated shopping system: No grocery store, dry cleaning, Target or other necessity stores within walking distance. Driving required.
John Lundgren had an interesting letter several weeks ago extolling the praise of high-density housing. He neglected to tell you he had skin in the game, i.e. he owns some of the property that the developers want. The developers want to make money based on projections and models that are generic and not specific to Norman and Campus Corner. The recent proposal is being hustled through the planning process to avoid new high-density rules with the aid of a lame duck council. Urge your council member to listen and follow the vote of Ward 4’s Greg Jungman. It’s our ward.
31-year business owner, 27-year property owner and 33-year resident