Downtown Tulsa Developers Have Heated Discussion Over Zoning Code
TULSA, Oklahoma - There was a heated discussion Wednesday among the people responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars being invested in downtown Tulsa.
The topic was a new zoning option for downtown that some feel, if put in place, it could turn away future investors.
One item in the new zoning code would be to allow property owners in the central business district an option to set guidelines on exactly how they want things to look in their given area.
Wednesday, in the city hall boardroom, sat some of the biggest investors in downtown Tulsa. Together they own millions of square feet of property, and most are developing hundreds of thousands more.
Mayo Hotel owner, John Snyder, said, "We are against any more regulations and don’t want the overlay downtown."
Not only does Snyder own the Mayo Hotel, he’s currently in the process of renovating the old YMCA building just a few blocks away.
He and his business partners are against allowing property owners to set guidelines on the look of a specific area. They said the status quo works.
"And a lot of it is because they own property and they can do what they want with it. I think if you put regulations on that it would deter people wanting to invest and buy property in downtown Tulsa,” Shelby Snyder said.
But to Susan Miller with INCOG, this is just an option to have in the toolbox if one given area wanted to band together and have the same color brick or all neon signs.
Business owner and city councilman Blake Ewing is all for it, saying it would actually streamline things if certain property owners wanted to do it.
"A room full of people, half full of them have spoken out against it, can’t tell me why, except that we like downtown how it is," he said.
In the end, the group voted that downtown should not have the overlay option in the new zoning code. Mayor Dewey Bartlett called it unnecessary and restrictive.
"That in itself will, in my view, chill the desire of the investment community to do all these great things that we’re seeing in Tulsa right now. It’s working extremely well," he said.
The zoning code update for the entire city of Tulsa will be voted on in the next few months.
Though some disagreed on the one option, one thing the investors and developers could agree on was that they all want what is best for downtown.