Making the Neighborhood Market a neighborhood market


This afternoon, I plan to appear and speak at a City of Tulsa Board of Adjustment hearing. Wal-Mart is working with John Nidiffer, owner of Mayo Meadow Shopping Center to build one of their Neighborhood Markets on the site of the vintage 1955 John Duncan Forsyth center. The zoning permission is in place -- Wal-Mart isn't seeking to expand commercial development into the residential area, and anyway, restrictive covenants would prevent that from occurring.

The only issue remaining is a variance that would allow leaving an opening in the screening fence (required when commercial development abuts a residential zone), so that it will still be possible to go from the residential area to the shopping center without having to go out onto one of the arterials.

I plan to speak in support of the variance. It's conventional wisdom that homeowners want complete separation between residential and commercial areas. I disagree. I think that for a neighborhood to be fully a neighborhood, it has to have more than houses. Mayo Meadow Shopping Center has been part of the Mayo Meadow neighborhood for 50 years, and I don't want to see that change, especially now that we will once again have a supermarket within walking distance. I like the idea of running an errand without getting into the car, and that I could send my kids, when they're a bit older, down to the store for a gallon of milk. A month or so ago, I went before the City Council on a related issue (vacating the stub of 21st Place that connects to the center parking lot) and Mr. Nidiffer, Paul Zachary of the City's Public Works Department, and I worked it out so that there would remain two entrances to the center from the neighborhood -- one on Winston and one on Vandalia.

Our neighborhood may soon be able to pass the "popsicle test," but only if the neighborhood street connections to the new center remain open.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 24, 2005 1:21 AM.

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