Tulsa planning panel to re-examine form-based zoning code affecting Pearl District
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Thursday, March 07, 2013
3/07/13 at 4:00 AM
Just two years after recommending approval of the form-based zoning code, the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission on Wednesday voted 9-1 to re-examine it before expanding its use.
"I feel like we are just keeping it on the agenda out of respect to try to pass it to see if it has merit," said Commission Chairman Joshua Walker. "To me, it's unadoptable."
The code was first applied to 125 parcels of land covering about 60 acres of the district between Fifth Place and 11th Street west of Peoria Avenue.
Commissioners rejected a proposal - called a regulating plan - on Sept. 5 that would have expanded the code's use to about two-thirds of the district. They cited concerns on how the plan would affect auto-centric businesses and manufacturers.
Commissioners then went to work to come up with a scaled-back expansion plan, which was the topic of Wednesday's discussion.
That proposal called for the new boundary to run east-west along the Sixth Street corridor from Peoria Avenue to Utica Avenue and north-south from the corner of Peoria Avenue to Sixth Street north to Interstate 244.
The proposal also included properties north and east of the area in which the form-based code already applies.
About a dozen Pearl District business owners - many members of the Pearl District Business and Property Owners Association - spoke in opposition to expanding use of the code Wednesday and strongly urged commissioners to re-evaluate it.
The code, they argued, is too prescriptive, placing requirements on where a building can be placed and how high it must be while at the same time limiting expansion options.
"We support form-based code, but not this one," said business owner Brooke Hamilton
Commissioner Bill Leighty, who cast the lone dissenting vote, accused his fellow commissioners of listening to only one side.
"You take these big industrial land users, but they don't represent the big majority of the people who live and work in the Pearl District, I don't think," Leighty said.
The City Council approved the form-based code in April 2011. Until then, the city zoned property based solely on its use - commercial property in one area, housing in another, for example.
The form-based code puts less emphasis on a property's use and more on its design and placement on a lot. Mixed-use developments are welcomed under the code; cars are not.
In general, the code encourages the development of dense, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods such as those found in urban communities.
Original Print Headline: Panel to revisit the Pearl District zone
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313