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Thread: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

  1. #1

    Default Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future


  2. #2

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    Blair always hits the nail on the head, but especially so with this column. I am glad someone is talking about the difference in this city between the planning objectives that exist and what we actually do. We don't need more planning objectives, we already have them. We don't need this process honestly, and we don't need to bring more consultants to OKC, we don't need more panels, we don't need to hire more firms to evaluate Core to Shore, and we don't need to bring in someone else to make recommendations on the convention center.

    All of this amounts to political forces wanting to keep bringing in these people and continue to do so until they finally get the recommendation they want. This is such a typical bureaucratic move, where we don't like the results, so we're going to go through a huge process of streamlining and rewriting what is already a very cut and dry process. It's like when a government worker makes a simple mistake on processing a form or pulling a level or whatever they do, and then his/her supervisor sends him/her to a week-long training class just to go through the motions.

    What we need to do is enforce the ordinances we have, commit to the walkability recommendations that have already been made, put the ULI recommendations regarding development and the convention center into effect, and for a change start building a city that resembles any of this well-intended plans. That's what we need to do, period. What we need to be asking for is a commitment to implement the development guidelines we have now. Is there ANYONE willing to stand up for those?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    Nick, have you read the current 2000 OKCPlan? Do you know how applicable it is?

    After you've read the 2000 Plan, tell me what policies you find and how enforceable they are in the current form. How about the existing zoning code. Have you read that? Once you do, tell me how the City could develop, and whether that accurately aligns with how the current plan wants it to, and with how things are going. Also, keep in mind that the plan is for the entire 621 square miles, not just downtown.

    I don't quite understand how you agree with Blair hitting the nail on its head, and then saying we don't need this process. Isn't that contradictory?

  4. Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    As the reporter who covered the 2000 Plan (I'm not sure who is covering it now), I can tell you that the 2000 process had ... problems. Jack Money and I found numerous examples of wealthy corporations, developers and homebuilders using their influence to stop proposed changes (instead of trying to argue their case based on the city's needs, etc.). Back then this city had a council that some would describe as being much more .. how shall we say it? Maleable?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    Let me preface this post with this comment: I have said several times on here that I don't consider myself close to an expert on the city ordinances, I just follow it way more than most people. I think anything cafeboeuf says about the matter is obviously worth a lot more than what I would have to say on the matter..and cafeboeuf, if anything I say is off base, feel free to correct me as always.

    Quote Originally Posted by cafeboeuf View Post
    Nick, have you read the current 2000 OKCPlan? Do you know how applicable it is?

    After you've read the 2000 Plan, tell me what policies you find and how enforceable they are in the current form. How about the existing zoning code. Have you read that? Once you do, tell me how the City could develop, and whether that accurately aligns with how the current plan wants it to, and with how things are going. Also, keep in mind that the plan is for the entire 621 square miles, not just downtown.

    I don't quite understand how you agree with Blair hitting the nail on its head, and then saying we don't need this process. Isn't that contradictory?
    I have read and am familiar with some of the plan and the city code..

    I know that in downtown the city code requires a certain percentage of the facade be within 10 feet of the street ROW, that EIFS is not allowed, demolition is discouraged, Bricktown has more stringent facade requirements, projects are required to go to special design boards, etc etc. In the suburbs it's the complete opposite, with a certain number of parking spaces required, setbacks required, etc. Certain areas of the outer reaches of the 600+ sq mi's are also environmentally protected supposedly, discouraging development..mainly in the far NE area of town by Jones and far SE area of town around Lake Draper.

    But it just takes one drive down Sooner Rd to tell that far SE OKC is a hotbed of huge neighborhoods popping up.

    I have also read my share of downtown studies, and seen very few of their recommendations implemented, in particular the Strategic Action Plan from 2005 I believe (something like that, off the top of my head), and listened to EVERY consultant that has come and spoke here with the exception of Mayor Development Roundtable speakers that I didn't think were worth $80 or whatever.

    Let me just say that in my above ranting and raving I had hoped it would come across that I was emphasizing the need for ACTION and not just trying to dis the planning processes. The point though is just that without enforcement, these plans have limited appeal for me, and I just don't see a whole lot changing right now in terms of enforcing what we have now. I would like to see planning recommendations carry more weight toward the approval of projects as well, or at the very least, see some city officials recognize the need for more consistent enforcement.

    I have however seen TWO (and only two) good examples of the city ordinances actually being enforced, both of which surprised me. BUD did an awesome job of standing up to McDonald's. I also saw the BoA recently do an awesome job of standing up to a property owner that wanted to add a 60 ft tall billboard, 10 ft taller than city ordinance allows. Was extremely impressed with Jim Allen who would shoot straight from the beginning, standing up to the lawyer even after he brought up that there were already 6 or 7 55-61 ft tall billboards, one of which for their main competitor. Allen referred to wanting to make a stand, not willing to go above 50, how he was a part of trying to get that ordinance in place from the beginning and what a struggle it was, and worried about the precedent that passing anything over 50 would set.

    We need more of THAT. Kudos to Allen and Wanzer for at least in this instance upholding the city ordinances and planning recommendations.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    Just as a side note, I hate billboards...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    I just want to see electronic billboards gotten rid of. And apparently we now have Tulsa's city council taking trips to OKC to determine whether electronic billboards are good or bad..great.

    I liked it better when we had city officials from Lexington, Louisville, and Indianapolis checking out Bricktown for themselves...and supposedly 65+ other cities attempting to mirror our MAPS program.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    I just want to see electronic billboards gotten rid of. And apparently we now have Tulsa's city council taking trips to OKC to determine whether electronic billboards are good or bad..great.

    I liked it better when we had city officials from Lexington, Louisville, and Indianapolis checking out Bricktown for themselves...and supposedly 65+ other cities attempting to mirror our MAPS program.
    I don't see electronic billboards as either better or worse than normal billboards. They are all basically clutter and distractions but not a major problem as long as they meet requirements and the requirements are enforced.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    I don't have a problem with billboards. Actually, I kinda like them.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyWestOKC View Post
    I don't have a problem with billboards. Actually, I kinda like them.
    Well, I like strip clubs too, but that doesn't mean I support them being in my city LOL.

    One thing that I do NOT like, however, is your new avatar, Skywest.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    Well, I like strip clubs too, but that doesn't mean I support them being in my city LOL.

    One thing that I do NOT like, however, is your new avatar, Skywest.
    So where would you like your strip clubs to be, Spartan? LOL

    Agreed about Skywest's avatar. It is disgusting.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    Moore.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    Moore.
    Sounds like a good place for strip clubs to me.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    I meant I like billboards in the sense that to an outsider, they just add something else to look at. Whenever I travel to other cities I like looking at their businesses, billboards, etc. to see new things. Maybe I'm just weird.

    About the avatar...sorry, hook 'em horns! I got tired of BK, I might find a new avatar this week sometime to ease the pain for you guys though!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Commentary by Blair Humphreys: The city and the future

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    I also saw the BoA recently do an awesome job of standing up to a property owner that wanted to add a 60 ft tall billboard, 10 ft taller than city ordinance allows. Was extremely impressed with Jim Allen who would shoot straight from the beginning, standing up to the lawyer even after he brought up that there were already 6 or 7 55-61 ft tall billboards, one of which for their main competitor. Allen referred to wanting to make a stand, not willing to go above 50, how he was a part of trying to get that ordinance in place from the beginning and what a struggle it was, and worried about the precedent that passing anything over 50 would set.

    We need more of THAT. Kudos to Allen and Wanzer for at least in this instance upholding the city ordinances and planning recommendations.
    I am familiar with this case, and in fairness to the facts, I think that the variance should have been granted. The city code would allow a 700 sq ft sign at 50 ft tall. The applicant was seeking a much smaller sq ftage than the code would allow (400 sq ft) at 60 ft tall. To me, a 400 sq ft sign at 60 ft is better looking than 700 sq ft at 50. But that is just an opinion.

    I do agree with you that we have ordinances that are not enforced, and that is a problem. The real problem lies in the fact that chapter 59 is an absolute disaster. When the city got a consultant hired the consultant who came in and then redrafted the zoning code, it became a disaster. Everything is spread out all over the place and is extremely hard to navigate. I think that chapter 59 needs to be reworked!

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