The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

September 18, 2013

Site plan ordinance OK’d by Enid City Commission

ENID, Okla. — The detailed drawings of how parcels of land are improved no longer will go through public meetings, after an ordinance passed Tuesday by Enid City Commission becomes law.

Called “site plans,” the engineering documents currently go through Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, which meets once each month. Enid Planning Administrator Chris Bauer, however, has said there is no need for the MAPC to vote on them. By the time a site plan reaches the panel, he said, staffers already have confirmed it complies with city regulations.

City staff canvassed other cities in the state and found others that have just an internal review.

“They already do staff review and then building permits. They don’t go to their planning commission,” Bauer said.

Local real estate developer Bob Berry opposes the changes. He said the most contentious site plan process in Enid’s history was his development of Oakwood Mall, and the outcome was better because the public had a say in the site plan process.

“What the public got out of the mall that we did not offer were some of the following,” he said, listing large setbacks, a ring road, stormwater detention, making Oakwood a four-lane street, adding two sets of stoplights and paying cash to the city for downtown revitalization.

He recalled the food court also was moved out of Vance Air Force Base’s accident potential zone.

“None of this would’ve happened without that adversarial relationship between the public and the developer,” Berry said.

The ordinance suggests the city’s lack of transparency, he said.

“The city’s job is to protect the public’s interest,” Berry said, “not us developers.”

By a vote of 4-1, the ordinance passed. Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell voted against it. Bauer said it will take effect sometime in October or November. Site plans still will be considered public record.

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