The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 8, 2013

Streamlining business, home development would be positive change for Enid

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Everyone in Garfield County knows that Enid needs more housing. And many yearn for more retail development to serve our booming community.

To that end, city hall is considering streamilining the way it considers site plans.

New Ward 6 City Commission David Vanhooser understands the value in this change, and he should know. After all, he serves on the nine-member Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.

“About the third meeting I raised my hand and said, ‘Why are you bringing these site plans to us, because you really don’t need a decision?’” Vanhooser said, recalling one of his first meetings on the planning commission.

“It’s just putting a rubber stamp on it, basically. I think the city staff is more than qualified to make those decisions. That way it speeds it up tremendously.”

Because MAPC only meets once per month, site plans in Enid can take considerable time to be approved. Officials say that’s a long wait for an unnecessary action.

The only time a site plan would go in front of the MAPC would be if it lies within a planned unit development, is tied to a specific use permit or if the site plan improves upon the city’s comprehensive plan.

We see streamlining business and home development as a positive change for the Enid City Commission to consider. Norman has adopted a similar staff-only review policy, along with Lawton.

It’s time to get with the program in the name of economic development.