The city commission chamber was standing room only Monday night as a large crowd of Plainview-area citizens came to protest the rezoning of a soon-to-be-built subdivision off of Myall Road.
Ardmore homebuilder Lance Windel asked the commission to rezone 23.41 acres of land so that he could build 90 homes in his proposed Indian Trails subdivision instead of the 82 he could currently fit there. Windel said adding the additional homes will not only let him get the biggest bang for his buck, but the city also has infrastructure already in the area to support the subdivision.
Around 50 people who live in Ardmore city limits, and in the Plainview School District, showed up to protest the rezoning citing that doing so would overcrowd the schools, create too much traffic on Myall Road, cause taxpayers to pay for additional infrastructure in the area, and would violate their 14th Amendment rights to equal protections.
“It’s important for the city to rezone this land because the city needs more homes,” Windel said. “This is one of the few places in town where the infrastructure exists, so we need to make the most use of this land. I’m not asking you to approve a plat today, just rezone the area.”
Windel’s request was to rezone from RS-9 (single family detached) to RS-6 (single family detached/ attached). Windel said he simply wanted this rezoning to be able to build homes on slightly smaller lot sizes. The RS-9 designation requires that lots be 9,000 square feet for development while designating the land RS-6 means homebuilders can build on 6,000 square feet of land.
However, citizens were concerned he would go back on his word and build duplexes there down the line.
Mike Mordy spoke on behalf of the concerned citizens and argued that approving the rezoning of the area would go against the city’s comprehensive plan.
“These folks are not here in opposition of building homes in Ardmore,” Mordy said. “They’re here against the rezoning… it’s against your comprehensive plan and it’s spot zoning. The city’s own development plan acknowledges that the Plainview School district is at capacity, and that infill housing is needed, not fringe residential development.”
While the city’s comprehensive plan does address the need for infill housing, building a subdivision on Myall Road does not constitute fringe development because it is not pushing the city limits of Ardmore outward, Ardmore Development Services Director Jessica Scott said. She also explained that in order to constitute spot zoning, the zoning would have to be changed from residential to commercial or industrial.
“Valley Ranch Road is a sprawling area,” Scott said. “Myall Road is not sprawling development.”
City Manager J.D. Spohn added that Ardmore has plans to begin improvements to Myall Road.
“We’ve asked for a phase plan to improve Myall,” Spohn said. “We have plans to widen it.”
The Plainview residents were also concerned that Windel would go back on his word and change his plans for the subdivision. With rezoning, they feared he would build duplexes in the area. However, according to the deed to the land that Windel owns, he cannot build duplexes or apartments on the land because of a deed restriction put in place by the previous owner. In order to build a duplex on that land he would also need a conditional use permit from the city, something that would have to be approved at a later meeting.
CEO of the Ardmore Development Authority Mita Bates also wrote a letter on Windel’s behalf, attesting to the need for additional housing in Ardmore. Bates gave figures from the 2015 Housing Needs Assessment, prepared for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. These statistics anticipate that Carter County will need a total of 405 housing units for ownership, and 202 rental units over the next five years. Additionally, the city of Ardmore would require 186 new homes for ownership, and 122 rental units over the same period of time.
During a meeting of Ardmore’s Planning Commission earlier this month, the planning board voted 4-2 to deny Wendel’s application for rezoning. But, Ardmore’s city commission members have the final say on matters of rezoning, and the commission voted unanimously to approve the request to rezone the area.
The Indian Trails subdivision will be rolled out in three phases at a rate of 30 homes per phase. The price of the homes Windel will build are in the $140,000- $230,000 range.
Commission members also voted to bring several city ordinances up to date and clarify their language. The ordinances include: amending the language around the term “disturbing the peace,” retitling the “narcotic drugs” section of an ordinance to be “Drugs, paraphernalia, and inhalants,” and updating an ordinance surrounding the proper use of vehicle equipment to have sections for various offenses.
The commission also accepted a bid from Overland Corporation for the 2017 street improvement project, which will encompass 30 street projects around the city, in the amount of $2.47 million.