The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

June 17, 2013

No recommendation: Hours-long MAPC discussion on Stonebridge Village nets tie vote

ENID, Okla. — There will be no recommendation from Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.

Despite nearly three hours of exasperated vocal opposition, a vote on the proposed Stonebridge Village housing development sputtered to a finale Monday night, without a majority of city planners on either side of the issue.

The project still needs approval from Enid City Commission at the next available meeting on July 2, though.

About 20 residents of high-end homes in the Rolling Oaks, Quailwood and surrounding neighborhoods spoke in opposition to Gene Anderson’s planned multi-zoned project, which was on the MAPC agenda.

Much of the opposition centered on “residential density.” Anderson’s inclusion of an apartment complex north of Chestnut along Cleveland, plus single-family homes that would abut less-dense houses on Quailwood, would mean an average of six units per acre across the entire 61-acre Planned Unit Development.

“My fear is that if the roads are not constructed first, the overflow of traffic is going to be so that my kids aren’t going to be able to play outside,” said Leslie McCool. “In medicine, it’s real easy. You do everything you can to protect that patient. I hope you’ll do the exact same thing to do everything you can to protect these kids in that area.”

Diana Allen said allowing another apartment complex in the area could impact the level of crime.

“We allowed Hunters Hill to build apartments there. And there’s not a day that goes by that the police aren’t there,” she said. “It’s already there. It’s in our neighborhood.”

Patrick Meyers spoke on behalf of Anderson, who could not attend the meeting because of an ailment. Meyers said the apartments would be high-quality with high ceilings, quality countertops and gated access. An early rendering of how the complex might look showed a three-floor building.

“We firmly believe this is a high-quality project that’s in demand,” he said.

Anderson also is pledging $250,000 toward the $1 million it would cost to improve the intersection of Cleveland and Chestnut. The city and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will pick up the rest of the tab. The roads feeding into the intersection also will be widened to four lanes, with a fifth turning lane on each.

Stonebridge Village, if approved, would include four separate sections: 130 single-family homes; 30 units devoted to senior living-style housing, which could be in the form of duplexes or garden homes; up to 210 apartment units; and a park setting that will include a body of water and walking trail.

Another contentious point was the allegation that Anderson’s development group previously promised to remove the apartment complex from his plan in place of a larger commercial district at Cleveland and Chestnut. Meyers said Anderson agreed to not increase the density of the Planned Unit Development project, which could have been misinterpreted as a promise to eliminate apartments.

“We never misled anybody. We never intended to,” he said. “You really couldn’t develop a higher-quality project”

Rolling Oaks Homeowners Association President Greg Hodgen said the city’s long-term plan has the now-vacant property for use as a stormwater detention facility. However, the city now plans on building the facility across the street in undeveloped land on the east side of Cleveland.

“When people buy homes and live in a community, they have a right to rely on things they’ve been told and things they’ve seen in city plans to happen,” Hodgen said. “There are a lot of reasons to stick with that plan.”

Aside from Meyers and city Planning Administrator Chris Bauer, only one member of the community stood to speak support of the project.

Enid Regional Development Alliance Executive Director Brent Kisling said the development would help meet the city’s housing needs. He recalled that several years ago, a similar contingent of opposition spoke against his personal project of opening a bed and breakfast in Enid.

“It upset me that no one stood up and said thank you for making that investment in our community,” he said.

MAPC member Aaron Brownlee initially moved to recommend the city commission reject the PUD.

“I think we can do better than this. I don’t think we’ve done enough due diligence on this project,” he said. “I sure wish there was a more amicable approach and it’s discouraging that we’ve all been waiting on this.”

However, the vote on his motion tied at 3-3. Joining Brownlee was Geoff Helm and Richard Wuerflein.

Cody Haney, Marvin Kusik and Jim Strate voted against Brownlee’s motion.

After a brief discussion with city staff on how to proceed, the planning commission chairman announced the plan would proceed without opinion from the panel.

Without a clear majority, it now moves to the commission without a recommendation.

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