The Norman Transcript

Opinion

June 27, 2013

The right decision

NORMAN — Sometimes the best solutions take planning, planning, planning and then some compromise. The decision to step back and re-evaluate the controversial high-rise, high-density residential proposal for Norman is one of those situations.

This week, the Norman Economic Development Coalition (NEDC) board voted to delay its sale of property targeted for a new development “until a well-defined vision and comprehensive plan have been developed for the Campus Corner and downtown Norman area.”

NEDC noted that it believes there needs to be “true vision for the overall development of Norman’s core areas of Campus Corner, downtown Norman and the connecting corridor” before proceeding further. This approach makes sense.

What’s also a plus in this ongoing conversation is the fact that the University of Oklahoma has agreed to become involved in this project. OU President David Boren pledged the university’s resources and support through the Institute for Quality Communities.

President Boren said he was supportive of the NEDC’s decision and the slowdown approach on this project that will allow a better look toward the future. Instead of creating high-rise, high-density projects one-by-one across Norman, there should be a developed plan that will allow the area to grow together and for the future.

President Boren’s view of bringing the best experts nationally and internationally through OU’s newly established Institute for Quality Communities to help Norman become a model community can only benefit all of us.

Mayor Cindy Rosenthal also commended the NEDC’s decision and said the city looks forward to working with the university on this project.

Although we support strong (and properly managed) business growth in Norman — including the right high-rise, high-density development — it was clear that the path to reaching a compromise in this ongoing controversy was highly unlikely. There were strong stands on both sides, which typically ends in no one winning.

We applaud the decision by the NEDC to delay its sale of the property and President Boren for bringing OU’s resources to the table for discussions. These moves are a step in the right direction that will allow better planning and most likely an agreeable solution on how to deal with future high-density residential developments in Norman.

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