City clears Lahoma Courts properties

Empty residential lots appear Thursday in Lahoma Courts where homes once stood. (Bonnie Vculek / Enid News & Eagle)

ENID, Okla. — A developer has been granted a 60-day option contract for the city-owned Lahoma Courts property at Garriott and Cleveland.

Following an executive session Tuesday, Enid City Commission members approved the contract 6-0. Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell had left the meeting prior to the vote.

Ward 6 Commissioner David Vanhooser explained Realtylink Investments LLC, of South Carolina, is a developer the city has been working with since an agreement with the former developer, Hunt Properties, fell through. As a result of the action Tuesday, the developer was given an additional 60 days to work on marketing the property.

“If he comes up with a deal, fine, if he doesn’t, he has 60 days,” Vanhooser said. “He’s just trying to work a deal on that, and we’re giving him 60 days to do it, and then after that we’ll look at other options.”

The entire property would be purchased in whole, just as Hunt Properties was going to do, Vanhooser said. The developer could parcel it out and develop it as he sees fit.

Previously, the city of Enid had been unable to acquire two of the 23 properties it had agreed to purchase and ultimately sell to Hunt Properties.

"The two remaining properties have not been purchased by the city. Realtylink is aware of that fact, and it is noted in the agreement with Realtylink. The city is currently not in negotiations with either of the two properties, but we remain open to accepting any reasonable offers from the owners or negotiating with them at their request. At the current time, we feel that one is asking a completely unreasonable amount for their property. The second is, apparently, unwilling to sell at any price," Vanhooser said. "It's our understanding that the developers feel they can simply work around the properties, which will render them worthless. It is my hope that the owners of the properties would come to the table with reasonable expectations, so that they don't get left out in the cold."

City Attorney Andrea Chism currently is negotiating with the owner of a billboard on the city-owned property, Vanhooser said.

"Negotiations are going very well. We hope to have that resolved soon," he said.

Chism has said previously the city had required a title opinion, which should have addressed the billboard and lease.

"It did not. We were told that the lease had expired. It had not," she said, adding the lease on the billboard actually will not expire until 2022.

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Miller is city reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. She can be reached at jmiller@enidnews.com.

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Involved in news reporting for about 15 years, I've been with the Enid News & Eagle since 2014, when my family moved to Enid to be on the family farm.

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