Council committee agenda: EDC, appointments, noise nuisance, 15th & Utica zoning


Tuesday's Tulsa City Council committee agenda is full of interesting topics: Economic development oversight, appointments to authorities, boards, and commissions; a change to the noise nuisance law; a change to the zoning code regarding modular housing; and a rezoning at 15th & Utica. If you have time, this would be an interesting day to see what's going on at City Hall.

Two items that address recent controversies will be considered in the Legislative and Public Safety Committee meeting at 1:30 p.m. (All committee meetings take place in the conference room on the 2nd floor of City Hall.)

First, the committee will consider an "Ordinance amending Title 5, Chapter 4 of the Tulsa Revised Ordinances providing for the establishment, membership, duties, contracts and meetings of the Economic Development Commission." (Here in PDF format is the proposal as it came before the Council last Thursday.) This amendment has been thoroughly debated and negotiated by members of the Economic Development Commission to craft a compromise that will provide for greater oversight into the spending of the economic development funds provided by the hotel / motel tax and will make the EDC the body responsible for developing an economic development strategy specifically for the City of Tulsa. You can bet that the Chamber Pots will be out in force, and while there won't be a chance to speak, I'm sure the councilors would appreciate seeing some friendly faces in the audience. While the Tulsa Metro Chamber isn't going to be cut off from economic development funds (despite their dismal performance and questionable strategy), their performance will be subject to scrutiny and they may just be one of several organizations with which the EDC contracts to carry out its strategy. The economic development fund will clearly belong to the EDC and will no longer be treated as the Chamber's personal property. More about this proposal in another entry.

Next, the committee will take up Councilor Jack Henderson's proposal to set a time limit for filling vacancies on authorities, boards, and commissions (ABCs). Currently, an ABC appointee continues to serve after the expiration of his term until a replacement is appointed. For example, Norma Turnbo's term on the Board of Adjustment -- an important board that grants variances and special exceptions from zoning laws -- expired in May 2003, but she continues to serve, despite widespread sentiment that she needs to be replaced. We also have the strange situation that two members of the TMUA were reappointed by the Mayor, the Council rejected their reappointments, and yet both (Jim Cameron and Lou Reynolds) continue to serve on the TMUA. Here is the proposed ordinance (PDF), as it appeared on last week's Council agenda.

Under the Charter, the ordinance cannot render the positions vacant when a term expires, so instead it declares that it is the Mayor's duty to appoint a replacement within 60 days of the expiration or vacancy of a term, or within 30 days of the failure of a motion to confirm or the passage of a motion to deny an appointment. The teeth are in sections C and D:

C. Failure to comply with a provision of this section shall be demed neglect to diligently and faithfully perform the duties of the officer of Mayor.

D. Failure to comply with a provision of this section within ten (10) days of being made aware of a failure to comply with a provision of this section shall be deemed willful neglect of duty and willful maladministration.

Willful neglect and willful maladministration are causes for removal of a municipal officer under 22 O. S. 1181 -- the procedure for acting on those charges is laid out in the following sections.

Earlier in the day, in the Urban and Economic Development Committee meeting at 10:00 am, the committee will deal with an amendment to the noise ordinance -- "clarifying what noises constitute a public nuisance" -- a zoning code amendment dealing with modular homes, and an amendment pertaining to spacing requirements for "adult entertainment establishments". The committee will also deal with the rezoning of the southeast corner of 15th & Utica, the former location of H. L. Moss Co., which I understand is slated to become an Arvest Bank branch.

Here's a link (PDF) to the proposed amendment to the nuisance code. The summary says that the "amendment is offered to insure that Title 24 Tulsa Revised Ordinances, 103.F will not be construed as too vague or overbroad, in light of a recent federal district court decision." The summary also says, "This provision of the Nuisance Code is commonly used by Neighborhood Inspections to address disturbing noises emanating from bars or night clubs and into residential neighborhoods." This issue is very important to residents of Brookside in dealing with clubs that are unreasonable in their use of amplified outdoor music. It's been found that the Nuisance Code, enforced by Neighborhood Inspections, is more effective in stopping noise than the "disturbing the peace" ordinance, which requires the involvement of the police. While there was an attempt to remove noises from the nuisance code a few years ago, this appears to be an attempt to strengthen the provision, which is good news.

The ordinance regarding modular housing is a modification to the zoning code to differentiate between manufactured homes which are designed and transported in modular fashion and then permanently attached to a foundation, and manufactured homes which are intended to be mobile. You can see the minutes from the TMAPC's deliberations here (PDF -- starting on page 15).

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 11, 2004 11:47 PM.

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