The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 28, 2013

MAPC gives go-ahead for temporary worker housing

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Metropolitan Area Planning Commission approved an ordinance to allow temporary industrial work force housing in Enid, but not without plenty of discussion.

During Monday’s study session, several MAPC members had questions about the ordinance. Richard Wuerflein asked about the definition of temporary in the ordinance. Planning Administrator Chris Bauer said the time limit was five years, with a five-year option. He said the current oil boom is expected to last between five and 15 years.

The ordinance also would include an 8 percent fee for the housing units to offset what is lost in hotel/motel tax revenues. MAPC member Don Rose asked what the 8 percent figure is based on. He said if a company puts in a temporary housing for its workers, there really isn’t an expense to the city. Rose also questioned if enough money was involved that the ordinance really is necessary.

Rose also asked how the 8 percent would be split. The hotel/motel tax is split between the county and the city, with some funds going to Chisholm Trail Expo Center and a larger percentage to the city of Enid.

“I don’t see any great gain from it,” Rose said.

MAPC Chairman John Cromwell suggested the county may need to approve a similar ordinance so there will be something to enforce. If there is no ordinance in the county, he said, the temporary housing would be located there, rather than in the city.

The camps can only be built in I-1, I-2 and I-3 industrial zones.

Bauer said there currently is no capability to build temporary housing in city limits. He also said the ordinance contains rules for operation of the housing camps and rules for when the camps are abandoned. There is a cleanup bond of 10 percent based on site development cost. That will allow the area to be returned to its original state, although driveways may remain, he said.

MAPC members again went over the ordinance during their regular meeting, and Bauer clarified any unclear details and answered questions. There were no public comments.

Rose moved to deny the ordinance, but the motion died for lack of a second. A motion by Aaron Brownlee for the ordinance was approved, with Rose dissenting.

In other business, MAPC members:

• Approved a site plan for Chick-fil-A, 4329 W. Garriott. Bauer said there had been some problems with the plan, but they had been resolved Monday, and he recommended approval.

The proposed location is located north of Dillard’s at Oakwood Mall. Connie Sturgeon-Hart, Enid franchise owner, said she’s making the move to the new location because “we’re a drive-through society,” and sales have outgrown the current location inside the mall.

Sturgeon-Hart said plans are uncertain for the current location inside Oakwood Mall. She said Chick-fil-A’s corporate office will take over control of the mall location after she moves.

Sturgeon-Hart said a ground-breaking date and expected opening for the new restaurant are unknown.

• Approved a lot split for Cliff Seifert, at 12 Thousand Oaks.

• Made changes in speed limits for areas from Oxford and Washington headed east and Oxford to 4th headed west. MAPC recommended 35 mph be approved for the area. The recommendation will go to the city commission.