Neighborhoods Want Changes To Tulsa Zoning

Wednesday, February 11th 2009, 7:09 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Several Tulsa neighborhoods have joined forces to defend their homes against unwelcome development. It comes after several cases of new construction that weren't anything like what the neighbors understood it would be.

A group of neighborhood leaders, from each council district, have created the Tulsa Neighborhood Network. They believe, only by joining forces, can they change how Tulsa handles zoning.

It was an apartment complex, Sonoma Grange, that brought the previously disconnected neighborhoods together.

The complex made it through zoning and planning, and now looms over a neighborhood, higher and closer than anyone realized it could be.

"People in the third story, second, even the first, can look out their window and see in my den anytime, day or night," said Bill Nash, neighbor.

"The sun used to come up early and wake me up, but now it doesn't come up until about 8:00 when it comes over the house there," said Joe Wilson, neighbor.

The new complex is just the latest problem.

The neighbors of another new development didn't feel they were properly informed. It's an apartment building for clients of the Mental Health Association.

"I want other citizens to know this could happen to you," said Bill Christiansen, Tulsa City Council.

City Councilor Bill Christiansen wants a new planning commission that answers to the Tulsa mayor and council. Now it's a regional body under INCOG.

"It's a good example of how citizens haven't had fair representation," said Christiansen.

Christiansen doesn't think these folks are being unreasonable in wanting dramatic changes in how they're informed about what's happening.

"Not at all, I think they deserve the best possible information they can get," said Christiansen.

The new neighborhood network wants to help change the process so everyone knows what's happening.

"There is very little communication until after the fact of something having been done and it creates difficulties and the neighbors have to pay the price," said Carol O'Brien, neighbor.

The Tulsa Neighborhood Network hopes to become the grassroots voice for revamping zoning, making it work better for citizens, while encouraging new development.

E-mail Tulsa Neighborhood Network