How not to do infill

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In last week's Urban Tulsa Weekly, I wrote about the Brookside Infill Plan and how it's being used to guide zoning decisions to ensure that new development enhances and reinforces the character of that urban, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. The Brookside Infill Plan is only advisory, unfortunately, but there is a consensus on the planning commission and council to abide by it when considering zoning issues in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, Brookside is, thus far, unusual in having a plan that defines neighborhood compatibility in such detail. There are many commercial strips around Midtown's historic neighborhoods that are vulnerable to incompatible redevelopment. One potential threat is on the Board of Adjustment agenda for next Tuesday.

The True Value hardware store at 17th and Harvard has closed. It was an old-fashioned neighborhood hardware store. Like most of the other buildings in that neighborhood commercial district, the store's front door and display windows come right up to the sidewalk, with parking to the side. The shopping area serves Florence Park to the west and Sunrise Terrace to the east, both neighborhoods built in the '20s and '30s.

The BoA is being asked to grant a special exception to redevelop the site as a car wash. The BoA must take neighborhood compatibility into account when considering a special exception. Going from a business that has only two auto entrances interrupting the sidewalk to a business that has at least twice as many driveways and more frequent auto traffic will change the block from pedestrian-friendly to an obstacle course for pedestrians and will undermine rather than enhance the character of this neighborhood shopping area.

Tulsa doesn't have many of these pedestrian-friendly commercial districts, and we need to protect the few that remain. Ultimately, we need zoning provisions that define where these districts still exist and that set guidelines for new development. For now, we need to ask the Board of Adjustment, next Tuesday at 1:00 in the Council room at City Hall, to deny this special exception.


susan said:

A car wash at the old True Value Harvard location? That would be dreadful! It would be great to replace it with a fantastic restaurant. Rib Crib is on Harvard. Why not bring in something like Pei Wei restaurant. It is a very popular restaurant on 6lst and Yale and this area could use a restaurant like this. A car wash takes away from the historical Florence Park that is so close to the True Value location. This location is really not that far from the University of Tulsa and a really good restaurant on Harvard at this location would be well received. Pei Wei is something college kids love, 30's, 40's, 50's and this area is full of all of that age group.

Please don't let them put in a car wash. Car wash businesses should be built by the new downtown arena ...since cars will need a car wash if people take it upon themselves to actually drive that far to go to an ice hockey or any other sports team event, etc. that is going on when the new arena will be built.

susan said:

What does Councilor Tom Baker think of the dumb idea of the car wash on Harvard? Does he happen to have some people that gave to his campaign that are pushing that too?

David S. Author Profile Page said:

Not sure if this issue can be raised or not. Noise, how many times have you heard the booming/thumping music coming from someone cleaning or drying their vehicle in a car wash? I would hope that could be taken into consideration for the homeowners nearby.

susan said:

Florence Park is a historical neighborhood. Homes on college near 21st street were custom built. Homes are worth more than you think. About 150,000 - $200,000 range as many have updated kitchens, etc. Some have the old "servant's quarters" which have another bathroom
and even more space behind the homes. It's a gold mine that deserves more on Harvard when the True Value store will be torn down. I am for a wonderful restaurant as it is close to Univ. of Tulsa students and faculty that also live in this district along with many attorneys and doctors and people that have the money to go to a great restaurant on Harvard if they take my suggestion (example ) Pei Wei, Hideway (the location on 15th is a pain to park there), let's hear some other suggestions.

susan said:

I grew up near Philbrook. We used to SAFELY ride our bikes to Brookside. We knew many neighbors on the way to and from our bike rides to Brookside. Others walked on the sidewalks around Brookside. Let's go down memory lane. There was a bank you could deposit your money in. You could get delicious ice cream cones at the ice cream store for a fraction of what Braums charges now. There is still Southminster and there was a grocery store on Peoria. There was a donut shop on Peoria. Anthony's was there for clothes. There was the Brook Theater with movies that were appropriate for kids,teens, and adults to watch. There was a lot to do. There was a soda shop where you could sit on bar stools and order a cherry coke or a great limeade and order food with a smile from the one behind the counter and your friends all lined up on the other seats. You could go buy a wonderful book at Lewis Myers bookshelf(bookstore) and go and see Lewis Myers there sitting in his small store so personable he was just the same on Lewis Myers Bookshelf (remember him on t.v. reading a section from a book)? I always remember Lewis Myer with a big grin on his face. A bookstore might also be nice to replace any other shops such as the old REEVES store as Borders on 21st has done terrific! There were old fashion great hamburger places, examples such as Clauds, Webbers, just all in walking distance. No need to drive a car because you could easily walk wherever you needed to go if you lived close by. With the wonderful Riverparks, biking, walking has continued to be popular. Brookside is great. Brookside used to be a lot more kid and family friendly. Having a car wash to replace the True Value store is a big mistake and the city council would have no vision if they approved such an idea.

susan said:

Michael, on Harvard across from the elementary school near the True Value there used to be a grocery store. People living in that district used to have the luxury of just walking to a church, laundry (still there and used a lot) grocery store, etc. Florence Park is a historical neighborhood just like Mapleridge is a historical neighborhood. I grew up with a full size (dry) basement too where you could invite your friends over to skate and one of the big homes where one of my friends lived had a basement so big they had a pool table in one room, a soda fountain/shop where we could make our own ice cream sodas/malts in another room, and a meeting room in another room.

Anon said:

Everyone has failed to mention the Elementary school across the street from the old Ace hardware.

It's a school zone. There's also a church immediately to the north. Bet they'll love Sunday service with boom boxes.

A car wash at that location seems entirely inappropriate.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 5, 2005 8:41 PM.

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