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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Opponents concerned about 2-acre rule

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  • During a March zoning and planning meeting, a text amendment allowing a planned unit development on two acres rather than the current five was discussed and approved by a 4-2 vote.
    The amendment drew discussion from both sides of the aisle, as the pros and cons were examined before a vote was called. Now, the amendment moves on to the city commission.
    In the meantime, opponents of the amendment are hopeful the commission will take a different view from the zoning and planning commission.
    Attorney Lorenzo Collins represents several homeowners and business owners who are concerned about the impact the amendment could have all over Ardmore.
    “The PUD (planned unit development) allows for mixed use for industrial, commercial and residential, and have to be along major thoroughfares on large tracts of land,” Collins said.
    Should the amendment be approved, Collins fears the impact PUDs would have on non-major thoroughfares, as numerous pieces of property throughout the city are eligible for this type of development. Mark Ellis, a homeowner and business owner, said the zoning codes have been continually changed throughout the years, and Collins spoke specifically to a situation in 2001 when the two-acre rule was enlarged to five acres. He said the city even looked at a one-acre rule and threw it out and settled on a five-acre rule after meeting with concerned groups, including the homebuilders association. Both Ellis and Collins cited different cities which have rules.
    “Lawton has a three-acre rule and Norman has a two-acre rule, but it is in a different situation with a university,” Ellis said. “Durant has a two-acre rule with restrictions.”
    Should the commission approve the two-acre rule, there would be a vetting process in which each PUD would be subjected to review and approval by the zoning and planning commission as well as the city commission. But Collins and Ellis are concerned what could take place with development within the city should the door be opened to PUDs. There would be density rules and it would have to conform to underlying zoning in the area.
    “We don’t think that it would be in Ardmore’s best interest,” Ellis said. “There would have to be standards people could rely on.”
    Concern was also voiced about the impact it would have emotionally in neighborhoods where a PUD is considered. Homes are a person’s most significant possession and there would be ongoing fights each time a PUD was considered, as people could be forced to fight plans for a convenience store or industrial use.
    “Zoning fights are very emotional,” Collins said. “It puts a whole neighborhood at unrest and puts a strain on property owners.
    Page 2 of 2 - “They could put in a convenience store or houses with three stories. Going from a five-acre rule to a two-acre rule is inconsistent with the city’s code. It should be a large tract of land on a major thoroughfare.”
    Ellis also questioned the overall impact to the city with PUDs.
    “Is there a city planner,” Ellis asked. “Larger cities have a city planner. What we are in favor of is orderly development.
    “I’m not against progress. I’m in the homebuilders association and I develop land. I’ve been in all phases. We are trying to maximize profits, no matter whose land. Do you pay the price or do you try to short-cut the process?”
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