City Council's Plan Could Strip Some Of OKC's Historical Preservation Commission's Power
The OKC City Council is pushing forward with a controversial plan that strips the city's Historical Preservation Commission of some of its power.
The reason is the potential of losing "a property rights" battle in court.
The debate was sparked over First Christian Church at Shartel Avenue and NW 33 Street.
The dwindling congregation fought attempts at City Council meetings by the Historical Preservation Commission to turn the egg-shaped church into a landmark.
First Christian thought it would be tougher to sell the property with the historical distinction.
Councilmen David Greenwell and Mark Stonecipher proposed the Historical Preservation Commission can't begin the historical designation process if the property owners object.
The proposal was passed by a vote of 5 to 3 and will be sent to the planning commission for its review.
“The person not only has a right to the title of the property they have acquired, they have a right to enjoy the property without restriction,” Greenwell said this week.
“I’m just trying to avoid liability for this city,” said Stonecipher.
Others argued the proposal means there will be less old buildings saved.
The Historical Preservation Committee Chairman Allan Brown told News 9 he thinks the proposal is a "good compromise" and does not significantly affect the landmark process.