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April 29, 2014

Leaders to put hold on building permits in Center City Visioning project corridor

NORMAN — The Norman City Council has instructed city staff to create a resolution that will put a hold on building permits in the Center City Visioning plan area. The administrative delay will include demolition and new construction.

Remodeling and storm shelters will be permitted.

Council members Greg Jungman and Stephen Tyler Holman were concerned with ongoing projects that might not fit the future zoning within the center city corridor identified as part of a project the city is looking at in conjunction with the University of Oklahoma.

Portions of the project area have been zoned as R-3 since 1954. This allows for construction of multi-family housing without notification to single-family residences.

Additionally, the city is considering high density for portions of the corridor so projects could be overbuilt or underbuilt, depending on the future zoning in the area.

The visioning project was conceived in response to redevelopment pressure, with the city trying to respond fairly and within sometimes outdated zoning applications to proposals coming in for rezoning or special permits.

A series of talks on high density in Norman stalled last year, and now the city is working proactively with OU to create a plan for the city’s future within a defined corridor that is bounded by Gray Street on the north, Flood Avenue on the west, Boyd Street on the south and the BNSF Railroad on the east.

The plan includes a charrette process, to be hosted at 127 W. Main St. Three public meetings in May will garner public ideas for the vision, as well as public input on the work in progress by the design team.

Meanwhile, old zoning is allowing projects that may not fit in the new vision.

Holman said the R-3 zoning allows for a wide variety of structures with no notice to nearby historic homes.

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