Decision time set for Pearl District code expansion
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Thursday, February 21, 2013
2/21/13 at 5:20 AM
The fate of the form-based zoning code within the Pearl District may soon be determined.
The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission agreed Wednesday to meet March 6 to consider five options for moving forward with use of the code within the district.
The options range from not expanding its use within the district to modifying the zoning code itself.
The form-based zoning code was initially applied to only 125 parcels covering about 60 acres of the district between Fifth Place and 11th Street west of Peoria Avenue.
Commissioners last year rejected a proposal to expand its use to the entire district and then came up with a proposal of their own to consider applying it to a smaller area of the district.
As part of that process, Planning Commission staff members - working with the city Planning Department - conducted three workshops to educate affected property owners about the code and get their feedback.
Carolyn Back, the code's administrator, told commissioners Wednesday that the workshops were attended by both supporters and detractors of the code.
She also provided commissioners with the top 10 concerns expressed at the workshops, including restrictions on the expansion of existing structures and the requirements that buildings be built up to the street and be at least two stories high.
Commissioner Bill Leighty urged his fellow commissioners to move forward with the latest expansion proposal.
"This is really a philosophical struggle, in my view, between people who have a death grip on the past and people who want to see progressive changes in our community," he said.
Commissioner Dwain Midget said it is important that all voices be heard and that whatever is adopted should take into account the property owners who have been in the district for years.
"We shouldn't put ourselves in a position where we are either running these businesses out of business or stymieing in any way any opportunity for growth," he said.
The form-based code is new to the city, focusing on structures' form and placement on a piece of property.
It is intended to create urban, walkable neighborhoods.
Expanded use of the code within the Pearl District has been opposed by some business owners who say it limits their ability to expand and sets unrealistic and impractical construction requirements.
Planning commissioners will consider five options for how to proceed with a proposal to expand the form-based zoning code within the Pearl District.
A meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. March 6 in City Council Chambers of City Hall, Second Street and Cincinnati Avenue. Commissioners are not expected to take public comments.
Here are the options:
1: Approve proposal to expand use of the code and rezone the property accordingly
2: Same as No. 1, plus amend code itself
3: Re-examine proposal to expand use of code and code itself before taking any other action
4: Re-examine form-based code prior to considering expansion proposal
5: Take no further action
Original Print Headline: Decision time set for Pearl District code
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313