The Norman Transcript


April 21, 2013

Will Norman’s new high density zoning ordinance protect Norman’s Stakeholders?

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

When I recently switched my homeowners insurance, the adjusters initially refused to provide coverage because a tree was touching my house.  What’s wrong with a tree?  It gives shade and a place for animals to live!  The problem was that it created a safety hazard and could have cracked the foundation.  Had the tree been growing just a few away, there would have been no concerns.  To protect my house (and qualify for insurance) I cannot allow a tree to grow so close to my home’s foundation. 

Like a tree, the particular placement of a building project determines whether it is a hazard or an asset to a community.  Zoning rules serve two important purposes.  First, they protect property owners from encroachment created by changes in land use.  Zoning creates some reasonable expectations of long term land use of neighboring properties and allows individuals to better assess the long-run value of their property.  Second, zoning helps local governments predict growth and plan for service delivery, including water, fire, police, schools, and transportation infrastructure.  Ultimately, well-designed zoning protects existing and future property owners and taxpayers.

 Developers design projects that are expected to meet demand at a reasonable profit.  Their cost-benefit analysis, however, does not include potential impacts on the neighborhood or the community as a whole.  For instance, it is hard to imagine that the 6-unit apartment building being built at 930 Elm Ave did not have a negative impact on the value of the neighboring single family home.  Now imagine a high rise apartment that fundamentally changes the nature of a neighborhood.  Will our new zoning ordinance protect YOUR neighborhood from such an encroachment? 

 Collectively, citizens and taxpayers have tremendous ‘skin in the game’ when it comes to zoning ordinances.  The community dialogues hosted by the City, as well as a survey conducted by a private citizen, Jeanette Coker, were crucial for assessing the values and vision of community stakeholders.  At 5:30 p.m. Monday there will be a committee meeting on the high density ordinance. In addition to the working draft created by the City Planning office, a group of citizens have submitted an alternative which more closely follows the community dialogue reports. 

As we move forward, it is important that we consider the collective body of input to create a well-designed ordinance that balances the needs of all the stakeholders in the community.  

Cynthia Rogers


For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • James Garner will be missed

    Editor, The Transcript: Norman native son James Garner was a fine actor on stage, screen and television. I enjoyed the “Maverick” TV series and, in particular, the 1959 episode “The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill” in which the very popular ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014