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Neighbors fight Brookside development

Supporters and opponents of a Brookside townhouse development squared off at a planning commission meeting Wednesday.

On one side are residents who want to preserve the look of their neighborhood. On the other are people who like the different look and think it will make a good buffer between the neighborhood and the businesses on Peoria.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says the lots in question are in a gray area. Historically, they've been residential, but according to a more recent master plan, it recommends business development.

John Moody, attorney for the developer: "And these properties clearly fall within the business development area and that's significant." Significant because, even though the town homes are residential.

The design of the town homes is more in keeping with a business, in other words, a short setback from the street and taller structures. In fact, the two sides fall squarely into two camps. Those who like the more urban look with the parking in the back and those who would rather see a more traditional building with a peaked roof and large front yards.

Opponent Guy de Verges: "when you're looking down our block, 35th Place, you see houses setback, setback, setback and then we're going to have this tremendous monolithic structure that is going to have zero setback, and it's going to change the look of our street."

But architects say there is actually 10 feet of landscaped area between the street and the town homes and that the shape and elevation of the townhouses has a lot of variety. Architect for the developer Randy Westbrook: "so we're not talking about a monolithic design. We've got to stop saying monolithic, monolithic is a big box, this is a cubic design with elements moving in and out."

Another gray area, the Brookside plan says to preserve the look of the neighborhood, but to encourage mixed-use, pedestrian friendly developments with parking in the back. Some think the proposed town homes provide a good transitional zone. Karen Keith with Tulsa's mayor's office: "I'm actually thrilled that there's going to be residential development on the business side of the line, as a homeowner, we in the past had to fight to keep the lot next door residential."

Wednesday afternoon, the Tulsa Planning Commission unanimously approved the project. It now goes on to the Tulsa City Council.
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