Judge Delays Decision In Bixby-Tulsa Stormwater Fight

Tuesday, December 30th 2008, 2:56 pm
By: News On 6


TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa County district court judge granted a request from the city of Tulsa on Tuesday to delay a hearing on a drainage dispute it's having with the city of Bixby.

At issue is the construction of a shopping center, called Southtown Market, on the northeast corner of 101st Street and Memorial, which will include a Target Supercenter and other shops.

The city of Tulsa requested the delay, saying it hadn't had enough time to assemble its expert witnesses.

The two cities have been at odds over the development's stormwater runoff since last February.

The dividing line between Tulsa and Bixby is 101st Street, with Tulsa on the north, and upstream, side of the road.

Bixby contends the city of Tulsa has not required a proper stormwater management plan from the developer, a company called 1995 Land Company LLC, which is owned by John Bumgarner.

Bixby filed suit against Tulsa last week, asking the judge to grant a temporary injunction to stop construction until the developer presents a plan to prevent excess runoff moving down slope into Bixby.

Related story: 12/29/2008  Bixby Taking Tulsa To Court

Bixby City Manager Micky Webb told the News On 6 that Bixby taxpayers have spent $35 million over the last twelve years to control rainwater.

He says that's too much money to let any neighbor be careless with runoff, especially one that is located upstream.

In Tuesday's hearing, a city of Tulsa official told the judge the developer is following a runoff plan that was approved by the city of Tulsa in 1999, even though the city of Tulsa granted an earth change permit, which allowed the dirt work to begin, within the last couple of months.

District Judge Tom Thornbrugh listened to arguments from attorneys for both sides then left the courtroom after asking both sides to spend about 15 minutes to try to come to some kind of agreement on their own.

After an hour's discussion, first in separate groups representing each side and then together as one group, the attorneys then conferred with the judge in his chambers for a few minutes.

The judge then re-entered the courtroom and continued the hearing until January 27th, with some stipulations: both sides are to agree to a maximum amount of allowable stormwater runoff from the development to be in effect for the next month.

His order allows construction crews to continue prepping the site as long as the runoff does not violate the agreement being hammered out after Tuesday's hearing.

The judge also granted a request from a group of about 370 property owners to join the lawsuit on the side of Bixby.

He also removed the man who is developing the site, John Bumgarner, from the suit, but not Bumgarner's development company, 1995 Land Company LLC.